Megha Shakya ’25 and Aayusha Lamichhane ’25 conduct summer research on sustainable tourism

Megha Shakya ’25 and Aayusha Lamichhane ’25, both international students from Nepal, made the most of Gettysburg College’s undergraduate research opportunities over the summer break by researching sustainable tourism through the Economics Department

While Shakya and Lamichhane major in mathematical economics and minor in data science, neither had previous background in sustainable tourism. They were excited to explore a new field while working alongside their faculty advisor and mentor, Prof. Linus Nyiwul.

When describing what inspired them to pursue this research, Shakya explained, “We took an environmental studies class for the science requirement and it heightened our awareness of environmental issues. This newfound awareness became a guiding light when we were exploring summer research opportunities.” She continued, “It was Prof. Nyiwul’s work in environmental economics that really resonated with us and ultimately drew us to choose this topic. His insights connected deeply with our interests.” 

“Prof. Nyiwul was super supportive throughout all of this,” Lamichhane added. “Walking into this, we had no idea what we were doing. We had a little bit of background in research and working with data, but he helped us throughout everything. He was a great mentor for us.” 

Aayusha Lamichhane
Aayusha Lamichhane ’25 visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris during her semester abroad.

Gettysburg College offers a distinct opportunity for students to not only participate in undergraduate research, but to also co-publish with professors. After receiving a fellowship from the Economics Department in the spring, Shakya and Lamichhane spent the summer collecting and analyzing data while working on three papers to display their findings—one of which was co-published with Nyiwul, titled “Adoption of tools for sustainable tourism development: role of environmental vulnerability.”

“There are standard accounting tools on how to track sustainable tourism; however, there is variation in the countries that adopt these tools. Some countries do adopt them, and some do not. This paper looks at why this variation happens and how environmental vulnerability determines adoption of these tools,” Shakya explained.

Megha Shakya
Megha Shakya ’25 strolling alongside a river in Amsterdam during her semester abroad.

Shakya and Lamichhane reflect on their summer research as being extremely impactful. By meeting daily with Nyiwul to address roadblocks, they were able to develop problem solving and adaptability techniques, two enduring skills that Gettysburg College recognizes as most valuable by employers.

“There were days where we could not work on data at all,” Shakya said. “We would get so stuck on our research and spend hours in Prof. Nyiwul’s office to work through these problems.”

Reflecting on his partnership with the students, Nyiwul shared, “The greatest asset that helped Aayusha and Megha work through the project was their resilience. Making sense of the data was a challenge. They were well-motivated to see the project through, so getting them to learn new models and their applications was easy. They are awesome coauthors!”

Both students are extremely grateful for not only their faculty advisor, but also the Economics faculty as a whole. “The entire department is super supportive. Whenever I want to talk about something, I can go to anyone in the department and they will give me career or research advice,” Shakya emphasized.

“We have such a personal relationship with professors which is amazing. I love the department,” Lamichhane added.

As society progresses towards an eco-friendlier world, Shakya and Lamichhane aspire to further their research on sustainable tourism. They hope to delve deeper into the topic and ultimately apply their knowledge to careers in economics and policy. 

Learn more about the opportunities for undergraduate students to conduct meaningful, hands-on research at Gettysburg College.

By Brooke Askin ’25
Photos by Megha Shakya ’25 and Aayusha Lamichhane ’25
Posted: 04/23/24

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