Graduate Business Student Receives Main Line Chamber of Commerce Scholarship

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

by Katie Smith '15

Anushka Baral, of Kathmandu, Nepal, has earned the Main Line Chamber of Commerce Gold Leaf Scholarship, awarded to outstanding female leaders. A graduate student in SJU’s business intelligence and analytics program, Baral received the $2,000 scholarship on Wednesday, Sept. 28, during the Main Line Chamber of Commerce Gold Leaf Luncheon. Saint Joseph’s University will match the grant, giving Baral a $4,000 award.

“I am so surprised and grateful for this generous support of my studies,” says Baral, who is in her second year of the master’s program. She served this summer as a data specialist intern for LexisNexis Risk Solutions and currently interns with QVC, where she focuses on usability testing for its online platform.

The award came at a pivotal time for Baral, whose family lost their land, crops and part of their home during recent flooding in Nepal.

“I was able to use my savings from my summer internship to fund the current semester, but needed help for the spring,” says Baral. “My family is stressed enough, managing their lives in the wake of this crisis. They didn’t need more tension from me, and budgeting took up so much of my time and energy that I felt my studies and internship work were suffering.”

Baral was nominated for the honor by SJU’s Office of International Students and Scholars. “We were very happy to nominate Anushka for the scholarship,” says Director Meryl Halpern. “She has consistently been involved in cross-cultural opportunities on campus and is an incredible example of a student leader.”

Baral volunteered to present about Nepal last year during the office’s monthly Cultural Cafe Program. She discussed the country’s politics, culture and history over a plate of Nepali dumplings. She also regularly performs traditional Nepali dances in the Perch, the University student center.

“I want to show that my country has more to offer than the recent tragedies often featured by the media,” says Baral.

After searching all over the United States for the best data science programs, Baral landed on SJU, “and I am forever thanking myself for that decision,” she adds. “It is so encouraging to know that what I am studying in the classroom is actually implemented in real-life companies. I see it in my internships every day.”

“The business intelligence and data analytics graduate program is rigorous and demanding, as it prepares professionals to use data to improve decision-making,” says Jeannine Lajeunesse, director of master of science programs. “With her hard work and achievements as a student, Anushka will be a strong asset in any workplace. We are proud that her determination has been recognized by the Main Line Chamber of Commerce.”

Baral will graduate in May 2018 and wants to pursue a career as a data scientist. She hopes earning her degree and securing employment opportunities will help meaningfully contribute to her family’s rebuilding.

“We were so happy to be able to connect Anushka, a proven student leader and community-builder, with the opportunities presented by the Main Line Chamber of Commerce to support student success,” says Monica Nixon, Ph.D., assistant provost for inclusion and diversity and chief diversity officer.

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