Isha Shrestha

Isha ShresthaBorn in Nepal, Isha Shrestha emigrated to Madison, Wisconsin, with her family in 2001. Although at first she spoke no English, she graduated from Madison West High School with near perfect grades and went on to become a Badger. In the classroom, she is a dedicated student with a triple major. In the community, Isha shares her experience as a new American to help other immigrants.

The 2011 Bascom Hill Society Scholarship recipient is a senior triple majoring in Biology, Spanish and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies. She has a 3.3 grade point average while working several jobs and volunteering on campus and in the community. Her activities range from student researcher at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center to interpreter for Madison and Dane County Public Health to tutor at a Madison elementary school.

Isha’s family emigrated to Madison from Nepal in 2001. Even though she only spoke a few words of English when she arrived, she graduated from Madison West High School with a 3.8 grade point average.

As a non-English speaking immigrant, Isha understands the challenges of learning to live, communicate and succeed in a new environment. She tutors 4th-and 5th-grade Nepali students through the Americorps Schools of Hope program and volunteers with the Nepali American Friendship Association. She has been a counselor with the PEOPLE Program and volunteered for WISPIRG’s Hunger and Homelessness Campaign.

Isha also collaborated with a colleague to co-found EDGE America Latina. This project connects students with the resources needed to research, develop and implement small-scale community development projects such as family planning committees and food security workshops in Latin America. She traveled to Uganda with the EDGE Project, where she crossed cultural and language barriers with sensitivity and enthusiasm to establish relationships with community members.

In the fall 2011 semester, Isha will study at a university in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She is doing independent research on women’s health issues and interning at a local organization called “A Mother’s Wish,” where she will help launch an HIV/AIDS education, prevention and treatment campaign. Her future plans include a career in medicine.