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First Generation Student Spotlight: Salina Maharjan

Senior social work student looks forward to giving back to the Grand Junction community in her career

When Salina Maharjan was seven years old, her family was offered a rare opportunity to move to the United States from Nepal. Maharjan and her parents came straight to Grand Junction and made it home. “Growing up, I saw my parents really struggle financially and I knew I needed to further my education to help,” Maharjan said. “They attended university in Nepal but since it is a small third world country the credentials wouldn’t mean great jobs here or there. So, they had to really make their own way for us. It really inspires me to work hard in school so I can help them not have to work so hard.” Maharjan’s parents currently serve Colorado Mesa University’s facilities department as custodians and are incredibly proud of their favorite Maverick’s success.  

Through the RISE program at Grand Junction High School and its partnership with CMU, Maharjan earned a full-ride scholarship opportunity. RISE was created to help under-represented students prepare for college by teaching basic study skills and promoting higher-level thinking habits for students.  

“This community has given my family a lot of support and social work is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community and help people,” Maharjan said. “I am really enjoying the classes I am taking. They are very eye-opening. The Ethical Issues class last semester really broadened my views on social problems we face here. I learned that Mesa County has a very high suicide rate, higher than the state. Bringing awareness and resources to this issue is something I really want to focus on — especially with local students.” 

Maharjan is a senior this year and has found her mavily in her academic courses, TRIO and Social Work Club. She also has a work study job with athletics, selling tickets and helping guests at games. She especially loves to watch football and basketball.   

“I am so thankful for CMU and for the people that made this opportunity possible,” Maharjan said. “It makes me feel very grateful to know that people in the community are out there rooting for me to graduate and donating money for scholarships so I can finish college.” 

She looks forward to starting her career as a caseworker with DHS and returning to earn a master’s degree as soon as possible so she can continue her career as a social worker in the medical field. 


Written by Hannah Odneal