Anamika Sharma Paudel ’20 is about to join the ranks of those responding to COVID-19. She’ll be working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as a care coordinator. She comes to the position armed with a passion for service to others and a resume filled with her many contributions to the Caldwell University community.
Sharma, who received her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration with a minor in Communication and Media Studies on May 17, recalls how when she arrived at Caldwell as a freshman, she wasn’t so sure of her path. In those early days, Sharma wondered who she would meet and how she would grow. In a completely new environment, the future was filled with questions. The way she describes it, she felt like she was a seed being planted. It wasn’t long before she discovered that Caldwell is a nurturing place for a seed to grow.
Soon after arriving at Caldwell, she was surrounded by kind people, wonderful professors and cool things to do. She found that those kind people were willing to welcome her into their lives beyond the campus. “I still remember sitting in a long bio lab,” Sharma says, “and a girl came up to me and asked, ‘Do you want to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family?’” That student, Stef Konboz, would become one of Sharma’s dearest friends. She represented a larger community of people at Caldwell who nurtured Sharma during her time as an undergraduate student studying healthcare administration with a minor in communication and media studies. Dr. Barbara Chesler, Caldwell’s vice president for academic affairs, celebrated Sharma’s successes with her. Grace, a member of the cafe staff, took the time to learn her name and would speak to her every day. Sister Kathleen Tuite, O.P., vice president for student life, wrote her a note of appreciation for her work. President Nancy Blattner stopped to talk to her. Blattner took the time to get to know her and connect with her as she made her way through Caldwell. These people provided Sharma the fertile ground that allowed her to flourish.
One person who made a lasting impact was Dr. Agnes Berki, an associate professor of biology in the Natural and Physical Sciences Department. Not only did Berki provide comfort while Sharma navigated a change in her major, but she also helped her secure her dream job, working at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While Sharma was an intern there, her supervisor often forgot she was not a full-time employee. Like so many other Caldwell students, she was told that her strong interpersonal skills made her look like a seasoned professional. It is no accident that so many undergraduates and graduates of the university hear something similar. Sharma credits her experiences at Caldwell with making relationship-building a natural part of her work life.
She was extremely involved with campus life, honing those strong interpersonal skills during her time at Caldwell. She worked as a resident assistant, helping students and organizing self-development programs. Serving as an orientation leader, she guided freshmen as they navigated the same challenges of adjusting to a new atmosphere that she had experienced. She also served as president of the International Student Organization. In that role, she worked with other students to organize the first Global Thanksgiving Day, celebrating the 33 countries represented on campus, an event that is now held annually. Adding to her impressive resume, Sharma served as a member of the Student Government Association, as student representative to the Board of Trustees for Academic Affairs and as a founding member of the Nepalese Student Association. The NSA hosted the consulate general of Nepal at Caldwell University on the occasion of Tihar: Festival of Lights, strengthening the relationship between the Nepalese embassy in the United States and Caldwell University. During the pandemic, the NSA has reached out to Nepalese organizations that helped approximately 80 students with groceries and medical supplies.
At the virtual honors convocation on May 7, she received departmental honors for healthcare administration. She plans to bring everything she has learned at Caldwell to her job. After an experience that has allowed her to stretch herself and grow strong, she is ready to go into the world and flourish. “I am honored to join the front lines of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have found my purpose, and I will be fulfilling it with my heart and soul.”