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Born the oldest of 4 boys to Bhutanese parents, Rudra Timsina’s story is marked with resilience, dedication, and endurance. As a young toddler, Rudra and his parents were one of over 100,000 Bhutanese to flee their generationally-owned home in Bhutan and start over in a refugee camp in Nepal during the 1990’s.

The family would first begin settling into their new “home” by building it. Made of mostly bamboo and within the fenced-in confines of the camp, Rudra and his family of 6 would now call this hut home. Though his grandmother would cry when shown pictures of their beautiful, three-story home they left behind, their new home would provide safety, which was invaluable.

Daily life within the camp for Rudra, and later his younger 3 brothers, would largely center around education. This was common not just for his family, but for most families and school-age children. The school was 6 days/week and taught by fellow refugees with high education. A lover of academia, Rudra completed grade 10, the highest grade taught camp-side, earning his School Leaving Certificate. Yet, his passion for further education would lead him to finish a 2-year science and math program outside of the camp.

Pathway to America

During his studies, Rudra’s extended family would first be resettled by the UNHCR to Concord, NH. Rudra’s extended family would chronicle their journey, and after thoughtful consideration, Rudra and his immediate family would make the life-altering decision to also pursue third country resettlement. Although leaving a country that has been your home for 17 years is extremely difficult, Rudra pursued it with high hopes of obtaining higher education and opportunities for citizenship, since neither of those would be possible in Nepal under the guise of “refugee”.

After completing copious amounts of paperwork, vetting, and cultural orientations, Rudra’s family was finally resettled in 2008 to Concord, N.H. From minor cultural adjustments like the sticker price of bottled water to major transitions like how to earn living wages and attend college, Rudra’s family would find the resettlement agency, community volunteers, and fellow Bhutanese as key supports for a healthy integration into life in America.

Life Adjusted

Fast forward 10 years and with a hybrid of community college and university studies, along with balancing full-time work, Rudra would earn his bachelor and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering. Rudra learned to navigate the educational system not just with the bare minimums, but taking fast to every opportunity that would maximize his knowledge and ability to give back to the country he so values being a citizen in.

While earning his degrees, Rudra would complete and present extensive research both domestically and internationally on phased array antenna system.. His passion and knowledge led him to file a provisional patent for a feeding system for a phased array antenna. Such antenna receives and transmits signal in the desired direction without mechanically steering an antenna.

Presently, as an engineer for C2 Systems in Auburn, N.H., Rudra is continuing his work with radio frequency engineering. He’s not just grateful for the employment or ability to use his education, but for the taxes taken out of his paycheck that makes him feel proud to contribute to American society.

That is just one of few contributions you’ll discover about Rudra. He is also on the Board of Directors with Building Community and volunteers with the agency in many ways. The pathway to life adjusted for this Bhutanese engineer is marked with great sacrifice and great contribution. Both teach and add so much to our country and culture.

(This story is contributed by Casey Barrette, a volunteer at Building Community in New Hampshire.) 

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