Race to a Degree

September 2, 2020

Asmita Ghimire, a graduate student in the Department of English, Linguistics, and Writing Studies (ELWS), stood at the front of the room and presented a research project she had been working on for nine months. Elizabethada Wright, an ELWS faculty member and co-author of the paper, sat with the rest of the crowd in the packed Minneapolis conference room. Ghimire’s project focused on the racial bias non-native English speakers receive, particularly those in the United States.

When Ghimire finished, one person in particular asked her some hard-hitting questions. Ghimire admits she was a little nervous as she presented her research but she felt more confident as she answered all of the questions. Another conversation immediately after her talk gave Ghimire even more confidence. She was approached by a faculty member from the UM-Twin Cities, who invited Ghimire to apply for an open staff position. The person said, “We need people like you.”

Later, at the featured presentation, Ghimire and Wright were surprised to see the keynote speaker was the same person who asked Ghimire all of the “hard hitting” questions. She was Meredith McQuaid, the associate vice president and dean of international programs at the UM-Twin Cities. Wright said, “McQuaid started talking about the amazing papers and singled out Ghimire for the brilliance of her work.”