October 3, 2023

When Kalsang Wangmo graduated from Metropolitan State University, she achieved a major milestone:  The first Tibetan in Minnesota to receive a master’s degree in nursing. The fact her degree nearly coincides with receiving U.S. citizenship, expected later this summer, doubles her satisfaction.  For one thing, citizenship will offer her an opportunity to visit three younger siblings she helped raise in India.

“I have been looking forward to the summer of 2010 for a long time,” said Wangmo, who was selected outstanding graduate student in Metropolitan State’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The south Minneapolis resident was born in Nepal and was raised in that country and India.  The daughter of Tibetan natives, she has never visited Tibet, which is occupied by China.  Her mother died, and her father, a refugee who was granted permanent U.S. residency, is now living in India.

Asked about her biggest life accomplishment, Wangmo, a registered nurse, doesn’t hesitate:  “My education,” she said, referring to her Metropolitan State degree that enabled her to graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously.  “I took to heart what my father used to say, which is that an education is something that nobody can steal from you.”

Wangmo hopes her graduate degree sets an example for her siblings.  She served as a surrogate parent for three younger siblings (she also has an older brother) after her mother died in 1994.  She also wants to inspire some of the more than 1,000 Tibetans in Minnesota, one of the largest Tibetan communities in the United States.

For the past six years, Wangmo has worked as a charge nurse for a Saint Louis Park long-term and transitional care facility, where she has received several honors.  She graduated from Minneapolis Community and Technical College in 2003 with an associate degree in nursing science.

In the future, Wangmo expects to pursue a nurse practitioner certification and a master’s in psychology or a doctorate in nursing.

Metropolitan State University, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, provides high-quality, affordable education programs for adults seeking bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.  It is the only state university in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.