Tenzin Rigden ’15
Class of 1931 Scholarship Fund
More than anything, Tenzin Rigden ’15 says his parents motivate him to succeed. They both have emigrated twice—once from Tibet to India, then again from India to the United States. His father worked two jobs, all so the family could have a better life.
“We always struggled a lot,” Tenzin says. “My sister came to Carleton first—she graduated in 2011—and we’re the first generation to go to college in our family.”
Tenzin, who grew up in Minneapolis, remembers visiting his sister on campus. It seemed like a nice place, he thought, but the reason he decided to apply was the people and the professors.
“I like being able to rely on people and work together,” he says. He and his three roommates, who are all physics majors, spend much of their time together working in Olin Hall. “It’s the opposite of competition.”
One of the best parts about the collaboration is “Sayles o’ clock,” Tenzin says. That’s when anyone who’s working in Olin at 11:30 p.m. can take a break and head down to Sayles-Hill for food together. Learning from his roommates and other people he works with is as gratifying as learning in a classroom or lab.
Even though Tenzin enjoys the physics community, he says he enjoys the challenging work of computer science more. In fact, he and his roommates call themselves the “computer science wing” of the physics department—they’ll all likely pursue computer science as a career. Tenzin will be moving to Washington, D.C., for a network security job.
“The thing is about physics, you can do a lot with it. It teaches you how to problem solve,” he says.
But it’s not his new job or excelling in two challenging fields that Tenzin is most proud of. Instead, he feels proud of the friends he’s made and the people from different backgrounds he’s met. As it does for everyone, he says, Carleton has helped him grow.
“I feel like I’m more open to new ideas,” he says. “I’m more open to see what other people think before making my own opinions.”