UMES Alumna Creates $1,000 Award
In honor of her late parents, Apsara Hettiarachchi donated $1,000 to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore that will be awarded to a high-achieving student in the Department of Natural Sciences during the university’s Honors Convocation on April 1.
Hettiarachchi, who is currently earning her doctorate in food science and technology from the university, says her parents, Peter and Chandra Hettiarachchi, always encouraged her to “support others,” while growing up in Sri Lanka.
“I got a lot of support from UMES, so I didn’t have to struggle,” said the Princess Anne resident, who relocated to the United States to earn her master’s degree in food and agricultural sciences from UMES more than five years ago. “Now, I want to give back to the college.”
The Peter and Chandra Hettiarachchi Outstanding Student in the Department of Natural Sciences Award will be presented during the university’s annual ceremony for undergraduate students.
In addition to keeping up with her studies, Hettiarachchi works part-time at UMES as a lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences. She teaches the course, Biology 101, to undergraduate students.
“They are very good kids,” said Hettiarachchi, who encourages her students to set goals and always strive to do their best work.
Hettiarachchi said students need a role model, who can push them to work hard despite the obstacles they may face along the way.
She said Dr. Jurgen Schwarz, director of the Food Science and Technology Ph. D program, offered words of encouragement and advice throughout her time at UMES. He helped her stay on target to earn her doctorate in May.
"My advisor has been very supportive,” she said. “I really want to thank him.”
Financial support for students is an important focus of the UMES Campaign for Academic Excellence, a seven-year effort to raise $14 million. To date some $10 million has been raised in the campaign, which runs through 2011.
For more information on the Campaign for Academic Excellence, contact the Division of Institutional Advancement at 410-651-7773 or go to www.umes.edu and click on “ways to give.”
Candice Evans, UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 651-6669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 651-7580, email@example.com