Shamo Thar (Xia Maotai), a doctoral candidate in international education, has received a Margaret McNamara Education Grant (MMEG), which is awarded to exceptional women from developing countries who are enrolled at universities in the U.S., Canada, and select universities in South Africa and Latin America.
MMEG has supported more than 370 women from more than 75 countries who are inspired to improve the lives of women and children around the world. Thar was born and raised in the culturally thriving Tibetan farming community of Rebgong, a well-known historic county town in eastern Tibet, western China.
In 2009, Thar founded the non-profit Pentok Institute to promote quality education for Tibetan girls in Qinghai Province, China. Until 2014, it provided high quality education programs and services for 5,800 young girls and women living in the province’s pastoral regions.
Thar was a lecturer in the Qinghai Normal University’s English Training Program, which has transformed the lives of many Tibetans who are the first university students in their families, villages and communities.
Her main research interests are college access and equity issues for ethnic Tibetans under the era of Chinese higher education “massification.”
Thar earned a master’s degree at Brandeis University in international development. She enjoys writing picture books for young children in the Tibetan language. Her published book “Tashi and Baby Yak” was featured on Qinghai TV.