It was a long day… actually, it was a long week. I was looking for my last ride home. As I was about to choose my destination as “HOME,” meaning I only pick up rides along the way to my house, I got a ping on my app for a pick up. I could only hope that my ride, SUBU, would be heading the same direction as me.
Approaching the area where Subu was supposed to be, I noticed that smack in the middle of the divided highway under the Boston subway tracks was a young woman with a poster board waiting for me. She smiled and waved as I pulled up. The good news is that she was definitely headed in the direction I was hoping for.
As Subu got settled in, I had to ask about the poster board she was carrying. She mentioned that she was one of the winners of the Mass State Science & Engineering Show where she presented on “Optical monitoring of muscle hemodynamics in humans after exercise”. If you are like me, you are probably thinking, WHAT? Yes, as impressed as I already was with her, I was totally clueless on the subject matter for which she won. Subu told me that she was at a tech company in Cambridge, meeting with potential judges for next year’s science fair. As one of the winners of the State science fair, Subu was invited in to help in the process of finding new judges for future fairs. As a high school senior I figured she had her eyes set on going to MIT; I asked, but the answer I got was surprising as she told me she only wanted to attend HARVARD! In fact, Subu has wanted to attend Harvard since she was seven years old.
A Nepal Connection
Subu moved to the US from Nepal when she was a young girl because she had some pretty hefty goals, like going to Harvard. Her family felt her goals could only become realized if they left Nepal and lived in the US. They first lived in Seattle, but relocated to the greater Boston area in order to up her chances of being accepted to Harvard one day (not necessarily the case but I liked their thinking based on where they came from).
Being from Nepal, Subu goes back to her home country from time to time to visit family. After the massive earthquake there last year, Subu returned again to help where she could. One of the things she told me that concerned her is that many Nepalese people leave their home country to get college degrees, and rarely return back to Nepal. Subu feels there is a real vacuum there. One of her missions when she visits Nepal is to go to high schools and talk with students about how important it is for educated Nepalese people to return and apply their knowledge and expertise in Nepal. Subu’s mission even caught the attention of Nepal’s president, who invited her to meet with her and discuss her work.
I am just so impressed with this high school senior and how ambitious her goals are. Her main goal is to be an engineer and make lots of money, but the money would go toward helping her family and Nepalese people where she can. Most importantly, she is one of the educated Nepalese people that plans to return to her homeland. During the ‘70s during my trek around the world I backpacked over 100 miles through many Himalayan villages in Nepal. It was a third world country in need of so much back then and it does not sound that there has been much improvement over the last 40+ years. When I was there, the Nepalese people lived so simply, were hospitable and seemed so content with their lives. Subu made me feel like those qualities have not changed, and that’s a good thing! Those of us lucky enough to be born in the US do not often realize how good we have it here, and how much we just take for granted. Enduring hard times in America, like what we are currently facing politically, makes meeting young people like Subu quite refreshing and certainly renews one’s faith in the human spirit. I have a feeling I’ll be picking up Subu again for an Uber ride… but I just have this gut feeling that next pick up will be from Harvard University! Are you working toward a mission? I hope so!