Srijana Shrestha

Assistant professor of psychology
  • Bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in psychology, Rutgers University; doctorate in clinical psychology and women’s studies, Pennsylvania State University
  • Former tenure-track professor of psychology at the University of St. Thomas

Why I became an educator: “Being an educator allows me the privilege to be a lifelong learner and share the path and the excitement of discovering the wealth of knowledge that came before us and what awaits us with students. In this partnership, I get opportunities to contribute to the intellectual growth of students and directly or indirectly shape the evolution of their whole person. Therefore, I value the opportunity to develop and foster close and fruitful mentoring relationships with students.”

What led me to my field: “I completed my high school education in Kathmandu, Nepal. I was introduced to psychology during the first year of a newly established program in social work. The field of psychology was not viewed as a viable profession when I migrated to the U.S. as an international student to study psychology. After graduation, I took a year off to work as a research assistant in a lab and as a part-time assistant to an activity director in a local nursing home. I helped with organizing various programs and games to keep the residents physically and mentally engaged. I immediately fell in love with the seniors at the nursing home and found my passion of working to improve the care of older adults. My affinity for working with seniors was also probably due to my upbringing in an extended family in which my grandmother was one of the primary caregivers to my siblings and me.”

My current research focus: “It is my dream to establish a research program in Nepal. My plan is to integrate my interests in elder care and mental health service from a cultural perspective. I want to examine existing mental health care systems, including elder care, and contribute to the development of a trained workforce equipped to address the unique mental health needs of seniors.”

Why I chose Wheaton: “Wheaton’s commitment to create a conducive environment open to dialogues around differences was a major draw for me. I was also attracted to service learning, study abroad programs and student engagement in faculty research.”

What I want every student to learn: “I want every student to learn that their voices matter. What is unique to college life is that it allows pathways for students to experiment, debate, challenge and reflect on who they are and what they can be. I wish for students to take every opportunity to engage in dialogues across diverse communities that are essential for this growth.”

My photo shoot item: “I brought jewelry made in Nepal and a handmade cloth purse that I use to store my jewelry collection. The jewelry reminds me of my homeland and an interest I cultivated as a teenager.”

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