Sri Lankan student Rochelle rides on success in North Dakota

Tuesday, 1 January 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Scholarships for USA (Pvt) Ltd., has been inspired by another success story from the US. Three years ago Rochelle Wickramasekara, from Gateway International Rajagiriya reached Scholarships for USA (SUSA), for the best offers from US Universities and it responded instantly with a range of offers with amazing scholarships.

Rochelle’s choice was the UND and this story proves how smart her decision was. “SUSA is very satisfied that its investment in Lankan youth is paying rich dividends already. SUSA believes that our youth are second to none on a level playing field and is committed to help making global professionals by hundreds,” a spokesperson said.

In the fall of 2009 a quiet young woman arrived at the University of North Dakota (UND) from tropical Sri Lanka. The unassuming, soft-spoken young woman, Rochelle Wickramasekara has proven to exceed all expectations.  

While a student at UND, Rochelle, did extremely well academically including five semesters on President’s Honour Roll and multiple semesters on the Dean’s List.

As a result of her hard work in the classroom, Rochelle was recently inducted to the Phi Beta Kappa Honour Society, the oldest academic honour society in the US and the most distinguished academic honour society for the liberal arts and sciences.


Truly remarkable

These academic honours take on even more meaning when considering the many other involvements that Rochelle has taken on. From her first year at UND she was highly involved in the International Organisation (IO), a student organisation supporting international students at UND.  

During her sophomore year at UND, she served as the IO treasurer and then as the Vice President during her junior year. As she worked in these leadership positions, and especially in helping to put on the largest international event at UND and the city of Grand Forks, the Feast of Nations, Rochelle developed significant leadership and planning skills, skills that will last a lifetime.

Rochelle, while studying, also worked on campus in a variety of areas. Rochelle states that “The university offers many employment opportunities that helps in character building and hands-on job experience,” opportunities that may not be as readily available in other schools.

What stands out the most, however, when visiting with this remarkable young woman were her accomplishments in her area of study. Rochelle, majoring in biology, had opportunities to do research with faculty in the neuroscience department.

This research wasn’t a passing thing, nor was it just a time-filler.  Rochelle, as a result of the research opportunities she took advantage of, was able to take her research findings to two conferences in North Dakota and to the annual neuroscience conference in Washington, DC.  

In Washington, she presented the results of the research she helped facilitate and rubbed shoulders with neuroscientists from around the world; all of this as an undergraduate student.  

In her own words, “Training future scientists through undergraduate research programs, is a significant part of UND. I had many great experiences working at research labs at the medical school and at the Biology Department for almost three years.

“UND is a place where you can interact with professors in and outside of class. This helped me grow into an academically and intellectually well-rounded student.”

When asked about her experiences at UND, Rochelle commented, “My undergraduate education has moulded my character through academics and research in a way suitable to succeed graduate and professional school.”

UND has offered her possibilities to succeed as a student that will only help her to succeed far beyond her short time here as a student.