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Nimesh Poudel: Undergraduate

Technology and Information Management
Degree Program: 
B.S., Technology and Information Management
Nimesh Poudel

Nimesh Poudel is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in technology and information management at the Baskin School of Engineering. During his time at UCSC, he has been involved in a number of clubs and organizations. He is the president of the UCSC chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, co-founder of the Nepali Student Association, and a member of the Baskin Engineering Student Leaders Council. He spoke to us about his experience at UCSC, and the benefits of engaging in extracurricular leadership experiences.

What drew you to UC Santa Cruz and the Baskin School of Engineering?

I was really drawn to the engineering school. I’ve had friends that have been here before me, and they told me super cool things about engineering.When UC Santa Cruz accepted me I realized that it would be the best fit for me… and I am really glad that I ended up deciding on it. 

What is the Baskin Engineering Student Leaders Council, and what is it like being a member?

The Baskin Engineering Student Leaders Council, also known as BE-SLC, is a committee of all the heads of the student organizations in the Baskin School of Engineering. This past year, I was elected the president of the Association for Computing Machinery, or ACM, which puts on a lot of really cool events. A couple times a quarter we meet up with other student leaders in BE-SLC. When he is available, we also meet with the Dean of Engineering, Alex Wolf, who is an awesome person. We exchange information between organizations, like events that we are doing, or we discuss things that are topical in the Baskin School of Engineering. Sometimes the Dean will have things he wants to talk to us about, or sometimes an organization will have something they want to bring up to the rest of the council and get their feedback and input on. I think it has a lot of potential to be a very strong force and a very solid voice for students on this campus. 

You are also the co-founder of the Nepali Student Association on campus. What was it like starting a student group at UCSC?

I myself am Nepalese- I lived there until I was seven and we moved to Davis. In Davis there was a big Nepali community, but coming here to UC Santa Cruz I couldn't easily find many Nepalese, and I attributed that to a lack of a solid community or a base. So, because UC Santa Cruz is known for its cultural organizations and other student organizations that do a lot of great work in Santa Cruz, around my second year I decided that it would be great if I started a Nepali organization. I told my friend who I met here, who is also Nepalese, “Hey, we should start a Nepali student organization, that would be super cool, and we should try doing it next year," but I forgot about it. Our third year she kind of just took the reins on it, but because I have experience doing organizational stuff for ACM and for BE-SLC, I was able to provide logisitical support. We are hoping that moving forward into the next year, now that we are on our feet and have all of our groundwork laid, we can actually start doing consistent meetings and have people show up. Even if they aren’t Nepalese, I think to foster a greater sense of community in Santa Cruz would be something amazing.  

What would be your advice to other students who want to start something on campus? 

I think the coolest thing about university, at least for me, is that I was never really into leadership before college. I was actually terrified of it. Moving into Santa Cruz my first year I didn’t really do much- I was a member of clubs, but I never went to the meetings. Then when I started my second year I was like, ok, I need to do something other than just my classes... so I started going to club meetings for ACM, and eventually I became their fundraising officer, and eventually I became their VP, and now I am their president. So if I have any advice that I would give to incoming students about starting something, I would say just start going to a club meeting. Find a community or an organization that you enjoy, that you are passionate about, and just start being a presence. I think that a lot of people feel like they have to be consistent, they have to go to meetings all the time to be a board member or a committee member, but you really don’t. You just have to go, make your voice heard, make your presence known, and eventually you will gain confidence. I think that is the real foundation for starting something on campus. 

What is the most surprising or interesting thing you have learned while at UCSC? 

That is hard. I’ve learned a lot of really, really, really cool things… I think the most interesting thing I have learned here is that college is the complete opposite of what I expected. I used to think that college was just about classes, and whenever people would tell me that you really change in college, you really learn more about yourself, I thought that was just a cliché thing that people say, but I’ve come to realize that it really is a transformative experience. You learn a lot about yourself as well as learning about school. I think that a lot of people just focus on their academic aspect, and don’t really focus on other things, but I think college is an excellent way to explore everything, not just academics.