Student from Nepal Finds Her Niche at ESF
Jyotika ‘Nicci’ Shah plans career in water quality
Posted April 2017
Jyotika "Nicci" Shah came to ESF as a first-year student from her home 7,400 miles away in Kathmandu, Nepal. But, despite the distance and differences in cultures, she said she never really felt out of place; instead, she felt like she was part of a family.
Before she arrived on campus, ESF's strong science programs and affordability had swayed Shah to travel to the United States for the first time and pursue a degree in environmental science. Shah had not visited the campus before arriving in Syracuse for her freshman year. Everything she knew about the college she had learned online, reading reviews and browsing through photos.
"(ESF) was smaller than I expected it to be," Shah said, "But that wasn't a bad thing - I appreciate how close everything is."
When she was admitted to ESF, Shah emailed the school to inquire about scholarship funding, describing herself as a hard worker who was deeply interested in the environment. She later received an ESF National Scholarship that has served as a dependable source of support, she said. "I thought 'Wow, someone is actually listening to me,'" she said. "I really appreciated that."
Shah, now a senior, said she adjusted well to life in the U.S. and at ESF. Her brother and father both attended college in the U.S. and while she was growing up in Nepal, she and her family watched American television shows, including "Friends" and "Seinfeld," which gave her an idea of what to expect in this country.
Throughout her time at ESF, Shah said she has made friends from various cultures. She said she notices a difference in topics of conversation and group dynamics between her friends from home and her friends in the U.S., but she appreciates the cultural differences. During her first year the Baobab Society, a campus organization dedicated to promoting a culturally conscious community, helped her feel welcome to the community.
Shah also works for the ESF Annual Fund - a job she has held since her junior year. There, she calls alumni to solicit donations for the college. It was weird to ask for money at first, she said, but she grew to enjoy having conversations with alumni. She enjoyed chatting with them and hearing about their accomplishments.
During Spring Break, Shah participated in the ESF alternative spring break program that involved volunteering with A Tiny Home for Good, an organization that provides safe housing for those facing homelessness. She and other ESF students helped renovate and build houses in the Syracuse area, and they weren't fazed by the storm that dumped two feet of snow on Syracuse.
"Despite the snow and being tired, everybody really wanted to do this," Shah said. "The only complaint was that one day there was a snow day, and we couldn't volunteer."
To balance schoolwork with activities and friendships, Shah said she works until she feels like she needs to take a break and see her friends, but acknowledged that she is still working on her time management skills. It also helps to be surrounded by other motivated students.
"Everybody is here with a similar motive of doing something good," she said. "I appreciate people who are motivated by doing something positive."
Shah hopes to have a career that pertains to water quality assessment and treatment - something she developed an interest in while at ESF - but she plans to attend graduate school first. Now in her final semester at ESF, Shah said she has come to appreciate the school even more than at the beginning of her college career. She feels that the courses she has taken supplement one another, she said.
"It is all coming together and it makes sense," Shah said. "You definitely learn what you need to know and in a way that you can apply it anywhere."
- By Taylor Watson SU '19
ESF Students Make their Mark
- ESF, Ichor Therapeutics Team Up to Combat Age-related Illness ESF graduate students to assist with research
- Society of American Foresters Plays Key Role in Student’s ESF ExperienceRecent grad Alexa Denhoff encourages students to join professional society
- ESF Student Wins at COINS Grand ChallengeAward recognizes innovation in construction management
- ESF Students Return from Puerto Rico Students joined with SUNY, NYS, non-profits organizations to help rebuild Puerto Rico
- Mortarboards Fly and Students Become AlumniClass of 2018 celebrates achievements
- Chemistry Student Wins AwardJordan Pitt recognized by the American Chemical Society
- 14 ESF Students Set for Volunteer Work in Puerto RicoCollege joins SUNY, NY effort to support recovery efforts
- ESF Announces Commencement Weekend ActivitiesNumerous events celebrate students’ achievements
- Chemistry Graduate Student Wins AwardYuting Zhu honored by American Chemical Society
- Hello, Mr. President — About the Environment…ESF students pen Earth Day ‘elevator speeches’ for Donald Trump
- Two ESF Students Honored with Chancellor's AwardJet Lewis and Ben Taylor receive prestigious awards
- 3 ESF Students among Winners at SU RvD iPrize CompetitionFarm to Flame, Food for Community move on to state competition
- Smile! You’re On Canid CameraESF researcher seeks citizen scientists to help ID photos from trail cameras
- Acorns to Action Strives to Help Victims of Natural DisastersESF students focus on providing resources, knowledge to rebuild sustainably
- ESF Student Part of First-Place Team in Hult Prize CompetitionSayje Lasenberry is member of Farm to Flame Energy team
- Zachary Smith's Commencement SpeechEnvironmental studies major was chosen as student speaker
- Senior Accomplishes Goal: ‘Publish in a Journal’Environmental health major co-authors paper about discovery linked to fighting cancer
- ESF Students Participate in SEA Semester ProgramEFB majors set sail in the Atlantic Ocean
- Class of '17 Joins ESF Alumni RanksDegrees and ESF flags in hand, graduates celebrate accomplishments
- Chemistry Student Wins AwardGraduating senior Curtis Wilhelmsen recognized by environmental division of the American Chemical Society
- ESF Announces Commencement Weekend ActivitiesNumerous events celebrate students’ achievements
- ERE Major Builds Lengthy Resume at ESFTight-knit community, real-world experience made college stand out
- ESF Students Win StoryFest CompetitionTop prize is trip to Brazilian Rainforest for storytelling expedition
- Student from Nepal Finds Her Niche at ESFJyotika ‘Nicci’ Shah plans career in water quality
- ESF Education a Family Affair for Schiavone BrothersThree siblings share a major and a graduation date
- ESF Nordic Skier Competes in World University GamesConducts study on perfluorocarbons between races
- Academics, Athletics, Affordability Lure Soccer Captain to ESFHeather Carl makes her mark on campus
- Daily Adventures Mark Trip to South AmericaRosen Fellowship funds experience of a lifetime
- Student from Italy Finds Motivation at ESF"Here I am constantly pushed to do more"
- Walk on the Wild SideFellowship Funds Trip to South Africa
- USA President Focuses on Building RelationshipsBen Taylor leads 'growth year' for student government
- ESF Junior Honored as 'Unsung Hero'Shewa Shwani to receive award at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
- ‘Jet’ Lewis Builds Busy Life as ESF SophomoreCalifornia resident says diverse ideologies made ESF stand out
- Dedication to Environment Brings Student to ESF from Mexico'There is no other place like ESF,' freshman says
- Beer Eases Final Moments for Euthanized InvertebratesGraduate student seeks humane method for ending lives of research subjects
- ERE Major Tackles Wastewater Plan in IcelandFink Fellowship Supports Summer Abroad
- 44 ESF Students Spend Summer as DEC Interns‘Phenomenal’ range of work can help launch careers
- Paper Engineering Boosts Student through Semester AbroadGraduate-level classes and travel highlight trip to Germany
- ESF Alumnus Begins Peace Corps Service Caleb Rudge to spend two years in Paraguay
- Dream Becomes Reality for ESF SeniorRosen Fellowship supports summer internship in Stockholm
- Summer on the FarmFink Fellowship sends ESF junior to work on Thousand Islands farm
- SRC Fellowship Supports Student in Battle against Mosquitoes Chemical compound could help stop spread of disease
- ESF Landscape Architecture Students Receive ASLA HonorsHonor and merit certificates presented
- ESF Student Finalist for Olmsted Scholar AwardKathryn Chesebrough recognized for academic excellence
- ESF Graduate Joins Teach for America Peter LeDuc finds passion for teaching at ESF
- Advice for Graduates: Stay United, 'Enjoy Your Wisdom'Class of 2016 celebrates at Commencement
- Two ESF Students Earn SUNY Chancellor’s AwardFoley, Zubair honored for excellence
- Closed-Loop Art: Woodburner Uses Material at HandSenior donates artwork to Student Showcase Symposium
- Honors Student Works with 'Best Thing Ever': ElephantsTravel takes Yvonne Lim to Elephant Nature Park in Thailand
- ESF Ph.D. Student Selected as Junior Fellow in Korea
- The Cheer Fun of ItESF student leads SU cheer team
- Ph.D. Student Appointed to Federal Advisory PanelYang joins National Coal Council
- ‘Great Experience’ Takes Grad Student to BulgariaMLA student spends summer monitoring primitive horse population
- ESF Senior Wins Fulbright Research AwardGabriel Smith heads to Sweden to study fungi
- ESF Grad Student Awarded Rare Book School ScholarshipProgram delves into history of hand papermaking
- ESF Senior Honored at National STEM ConferenceCSTEP student Danielle Berry wins second place for poster
- Meghan JohnstoneTraveler in Australia, Nature Conservancy Intern
- Michael AmadoriAquaponics Research
- Ryan HenrySU's biggest sports fan.
- Lauren AlteioHarvard Forest Program
- Brookhaven National Laboratory InternsCourtney Buckley, Daniel Larkin, Michael Norman and Beverly Agtuca
- Brendan-Michael Galloway Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship
- Lynne BeattyMarine resources workshop participant
- Kristen AnthonyLandscape Architecture student, and SU competitive skier
- Craig LazzarEssay Contest nets ESF Senior $10,000
- Zachary KingBiotechnology Researcher
- Daniele BakerSUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence Recipient
- Greg BoydESF Senior, biodiesel expert
- Khristopher DodsonPublisher of Envi magazine
- Cara StaffordInvasive Plant Technician, Catalina Island
- Irony SadeBiotechnology Major
- April Karen BaptistePh.D. Candidate, Fulbright scholar, ESF
- Leah Dudziak & Lisa RuggeroTwo ESF Students on SU Dance Team