Published: May 10, 2018 By

Anit Koirala (left) with ELP director JoAnn Zelasko and two other ELP students.

Anit Koirala (left) with ELP director JoAnn Zelasko and fellow ELP students Christopher Rouw and Vanika Hans.

Congratulations to Anit Koirala, a fourth-year civil engineering major and member of the Engineering Leadership Program, on receiving the Integrity Award at the spring CU Involvement Awards!

Anit was born in a refugee camp in Nepal, and studies engineering in order to someday serve developing communities. In the meantime, he serves his family, his local communities and CU Boulder with profound generosity and ingenuity. For instance, he serves as a community navigator for Rise Colorado, an international student liaison, a Nepali interpreter and an intern at the African Community Center.

As a student in my ELP class, Anit’s work was so excellent that it was many weeks before I learned that he had only arrived in the U.S. and learned English a few years earlier. Although he lacked a privileged education as a child, he never used this as an excuse, and held himself to an even higher standard than everyone else. 

Paula Abita, academic program coordinator for the Student Academic Success Center and McNeill Academic Program says this about his role as a peer mentor:

“He was highly conscientious, committed and reliable. He served as an outstanding resource for his group of mentees. … Although Anit had a full plate, he made time to meet with his mentees, and serve as a volunteer at McNeill events for first-year students.” 

Anit’s academic integrity is reflected in his respect for inquiry and creativity across disciplines. He thrives in engineering, but also embraced literature, graphic arts and public speaking components of my class. He is deeply committed to writing poetry, often about his culture and the experiences of refugees. 

Anit also serves on a student-initiated, student-led team that has created an online hub of resources to help more undergraduates access research opportunities. The process of envisioning, designing and generating content for the site required empathy to determine students’ needs, as well as collaboration with faculty and staff to make resources and expertise accessible to students. Not only is the hub an invaluable resource, but the example set by their team’s leadership, initiative and resourcefulness is already transforming the culture of ELP.

Angela Thieman Dino is a senior instructor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and teaches for ELP and the Presidents Leadership Class.