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Finding one’s path as a young Nepali American: A conversation with Sami Subedi (video)

Sami Subedi (Image: Kyle Gamble)

Sami Subedi (Image: Kyle Gamble)
Sami Subedi (Image: Kyle Gamble)

"You never forget where you come from," Sami Subedi says.

Subedi immigrated to the United States from Nepal as a refugee when she was 8 years old with her mother, father and two brothers.

Her family arrived with $300. Since then, she and her two brothers have all gone on to college. Her brothers have graduated; Subedi is currently a senior at Millersville University.

Her upbringing in Nepal and the stories her family told her inspired her to major in biology and minor in chemistry in hopes of becoming a physician's assistant.

When she was born, she and her mother, like many families in Nepal, had limited access to medical treatment. In the future, she wants to play a role in providing state-of-the-art care to others.

Subedi has started two nonprofit organizations, RIDGE and BRIGHT. RIDGE (Refugees and Immigrants Devoted to Growth and Excellence) aims to help migrant students, while BRIGHT (Bhutanese Refugees Inspiring, Growth, Humanity, and Traditions) is a nonprofit for Bhutanese Nepali immigrants. It informs community members about their heritage and traditions and brings together refugees for mutual support.

She is part of Church World Service Lancaster's New Neighbors Speakers Bureau and an alumna of the Refugee Youth Journalism Project, a collaboration of One United Lancaster, Church World Service and the Act for Humanity Foundation. For the latter, Subedi has been researching mental health stigma among Nepali immigrants and interviewing people of all ages from her community.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

"I think it’s a really cool thing that there is AAPI Month," Subedi said, "... but at the same time there are so many things going on here nowadays that makes you start to wonder: Is there a reason for that day when all these things are going on as well? What is being done to protect these people? I don’t think I see a lot of that right now."