FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) student Arosha M. Perera, who will be completing a Bachelor of General Studies with a minor in Psychology this May, has been named the Indiana Council for Continuing Education (ICCE) 2012 Student of the Year.
The Sri Lankan native and mother of two young daughters was cited for the statewide recognition on the basis of her academic achievement and ability to overcome personal challenges to reach her educational goal. She received the award in Indianapolis at a luncheon earlier this month accompanied by Continuing Studies staff, her husband and children, and friends from the Sri Lankan community in Fort Wayne.
The criteria for the award include:
1. Campus status as a nontraditional, adult student.
2. Academic achievement of a minimum of a “B” average
3. Volunteer or other service to campus and/or community
4. Personal characteristics which have helped the nominee overcome challenges to attend and/or complete an educational objective.
5. Graduation or near graduation during the spring semester of the award year.
Deb Conklin, executive director of IPFW’s Division of Continuing Studies, wrote in her nominating letter that Perera “…boarded a plane two years ago and headed for America to enroll in a good university, learn as much as she could about the American education system and teaching methods, and return to Sri Lanka to incorporate her newfound knowledge in the elementary school where she was employed. She was granted a leave of absence after two grueling interviews with the American Embassy on the condition she returned to her home country after studying at IPFW.”
Julie Creek, director of the Center for Women and Returning Adults, met Perera in fall 2011 when she was seeking scholarship information. Creek writes that her office couldn’t help her obtain a scholarship as she isn’t a U.S. citizen, but they were able to offer her a part-time job. Creek noted, “What has impressed me most about Arosha is that she has excelled academically, professionally, and personally while embracing a new language and vastly different culture. She is one of the most intellectually curious people I have ever met, embracing American cultural diversity with joy and verve. She has met each new challenge with practical and clear-eyed resolve, always focused on her goal.”
Michel A. Drouin, associate professor of psychology, taught Perera in her upper-level Social and Personality Development course in spring semester 2012. She writes, “Arosha overcame many challenges to succeed in my course. Much of the course was focused on the reading and interpretation of primary source empirical literature, which is dense, even for advanced students who are native speakers of English. Even though the material was dense and challenging, Arosha always approached it with eagerness and determination to learn the material. Instead of just memorizing, Arosha wanted to understand and know. Again, this sets her apart from many of the students I have taught.”
For more information on the award or Perera, contact Sandy McMurtrie, academic advisor, Division of Continuing Studies, at 260-481-6818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.