Originally from Hong Kong, senior mathematics major Preety Gurung has lived an international lifestyle that eventually led her to Mississippi State University, where her love of math helped her find an unexpected career path. After her early years in Hong Kong, Gurung’s parents sent her to live in Nepal where they believed she would receive a better education.
From Nepal, Gurung moved to Baltimore where she spent two years at a junior college, gaining higher education and experiences she feels she would not have gotten back home. A friend of Gurung recommended the MSU engineering program to her, and after receiving multiple scholarships, she looked forward to completing her degree at a four-year university.
Her love of math originally led her down the male-dominated path of engineering, but Gurung was thrilled to learn at MSU she could pursue her love of pure math by becoming an actuary – a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk using mathematics, statistics and financial theory to study uncertain future events.
“Growing up, I have always enjoyed solving mathematical problems and I still do, but I never knew that I could be a math major and make a career,” Gurung said.
This year Gurung was awarded the J. Harry Adams Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics. Not only has she excelled in her academics, but Gurung also is involved in multiple campus organizations. In addition to being a College of Arts & Science Ambassador, Gurung is a member of the International Student Advisory Board and the cultural coordinator for Nepalese Student Association at MSU.
While she loves many things about MSU, Gurung’s favorite part about her experience here is spending time with her host mom, noting she is “thankful” the university offers international students the opportunity to connect with host families because hers has made adjusting to Starkville easier.
After Gurung works in the actuary field for a few years, she hopes to return to Nepal and help establish a program in actuary science so other people from her home country can dive deeper into their love of math.
Gurung’s advice to incoming students is to stay open to new experiences. With the friendships and experiences Gurung has gained through MSU, such as participation in the College of Arts and Sciences Ambassadors program, she feels more prepared to pursue her dreams and continues striving to make a difference.
“Always try to explore and seek for opportunities.” Gurung said. “There is so much to learn and gain here at MSU.”
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