From Nepal to New York: A Teaching Journey

Sharmila Shakya (Photo via Nepalaya News)

Nepal native Sharmila Shakya has been teaching in colleges in New York for a while now. She is among the few Nepalese in the city who have taken up teaching as a career, making her a unique member of the community.

She currently works at Hostos Community College, LaGuardia Community College and Pace University.

While in Nepal, she completed her master’s degree in chemistry at Tribhuvan University, the country’s oldest university, in 1995. After that, her teaching career began with students at the high school and college levels.

Her career in Nepal was in full swing.

“Everyone loved my teaching skills so I was in high demand,” she said. “I continued in the profession.”

It was in 2002 when her then friend and now husband, Rabin Bajracharya, who was in the U.S., inspired her to study in the country to expand her horizons.

She came to pursue another master’s degree, this time at Emporia State University in Kansas. As she was studying there, she received a scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. degree at Brooklyn College in New York City. Without wasting any time, she grabbed the opportunity.

“I always wanted to pursue a Ph.D. degree,” she said.

She could not complete the degree though as she got married to Bajracharya in 2004 and had a son the following year.

“Luckily, seeing my teaching history, Brooklyn College offered me a part-time teaching position at the undergraduate level the day I joined them,” she said. “This gave me a sense of relief.”

She also started teaching undergrad at Hostos Community College in 2006. She left Brooklyn College and joined LaGuardia Community College in 2013. She now also teaches at Pace University.

“I am really glad that I could pursue my teaching career here,” said Shakya. “It was possible because I came out of my comfort zone.”

She still has one dream to fulfill though.

“I need to finish my Ph.D. degree,” she said.

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