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Ms. Susanna Pradhan is a senior Anthropology and Global Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Although she came to the US at a young age, she strongly identifies with her Lhotshampa (Bhutanese-Nepali) community. From an early age, Ms. Pradhan began volunteering with the Bhutanese Community Association of Charlotte, an organization her father co-founded in 2009. Over the years, she has helped organize and host community events, taught citizenship and Nepali classes, and performed at cultural events. A passionate advocate for refugees, she has also served as a speaker and panelist at various events, including World Refugee Day programs in Charlotte, NC.
Ms. Pradhan values the importance of education and advocacy. She has dedicated an ample amount of time serving diverse students, including those from immigrant and low-income backgrounds. Ms. Pradhan has worked as an English teacher in Shanghai, a summer camp counselor at CMS schools, and a volunteer tutor and translator at afterschool programs. In 2017, she also traveled to Capitol Hill and the offices of NC Senators to advocate on behalf of 1.6 million kids in the US who relied on 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
Following in the footsteps of her father, she recently helped establish the Bhutanese Youth Cooperative (BYC), where she sees her passion for community and education intersect. BYC is a novel grassroots effort that aims to foster educational and professional development via virtual career forums and mentorship programs. Ms. Pradhan also founded a Nepalese Students Association at UNC. While promoting Nepali culture and values, her school organization has been vital in expanding and strengthening the network of Nepali scholars in the Research Triangle.
Ms. Pradhan’s curiosity about her refugee identity has led her to pursue research that encompasses the past, present, and future of the Lhotshampa diaspora. She is a recipient of the Southern Oral History Program’s Plambeck Award. This grant has allowed her to record experiences of migration and displacement of Bhutanese elders residing in North Carolina by way of oral history interviews. Ms. Pradhan feels that there is a severe absence of historical and sociocultural accounts in academia. Thus, her ultimate goal is to consolidate primary and secondary resources and produce a comprehensive study of the diaspora to be used by academics as well as future generations.