This summer we are collaborating with Dr. Xiumei Pu in her Project, "Mountains and Stories: Building Community Among Asian and Pacific Islander Refugee and Immigrant Families in Salt Lake Valley," with the support of a Whiting Public Engagement Programs Seed Grant. Anchored in the theme of mountains, the project consists of a twelve-part podcast and a documentary, a storytelling-conversation cultural event (June 26, 2021), and a group hike in the Wasatch Mountains (October 23, 2021). It is our hope that these efforts will amplify the environmental voices of Asian and Pacific Islander refugee and immigrant communities, and spark more public interest in thinking about the connection between culture, identity, and the natural environment. You can listen to previous episodes here on the IMR Podcast website.
At the heart of the project is a podcast series featuring the life and work of twelve storytellers who come from a range of age groups, occupations, and ethnic and racial backgrounds. Some of them are born in the United States; many of them are born in another Asian country or Pacific Island and immigrated to the US at a young age. Their stories show fascinating complexities of immigration routes and histories, incredible cultural richness and resilience, and long-lasting contributions of the Asian and Asian Pacific Islander communities to the social life and cultural landscapes of Salt Lake Valley and the broader Utah.
Kripa Thapa recently graduated from the Master's program in geography and Geographic Information Science master's student from the University of Utah (UofU). Over the two-year run, she worked under the supervision of Dr. Summer Rupper. During my first year, she was recognized as a Graduate Fellow under the Global Change and Sustainability Center (GCSC) at the UofU. In her second year, I was engaged as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for Geography Department. Currently, she is working as a Research Assistant (RA) at the Snow and Ice Lab, UofU.
Besides these engagements over the past two years, she conducted my research titled "Assessment of mountain water supply and storage at sub-basin scale in Nepal". The study aims to elucidate the primary drivers of water vulnerability in the mountain ecosystems of Nepal and provide a framework to help combat potential water scarcity that will be of interest to policymakers and researchers in the long run.
In August, Kripa will be pursuing an internship – with the Software Products Team at ESRI, one of the world's leading GIS software companies
Jeff Nichols and Brent Olson co-direct the Institute for Mountain Research and our 2018-2019 Mountain Fellows are Katie Saad and Naomi Shapiro. Our theme song is “Home” by Pixie and the Partygrass Boys.. As Naomi likes to say, “They are awesome and you should check them out.”
The Institute for Mountain Research is located on the ancestral and traditional lands of the Ute, Goshute, and Shoshone Peoples.