Story posted April 23, 2012
Ayubowan! I am sure you are all welcoming the spring that came a month early this year. Thanks to those who responded to our call, we are able to start a new feature, “the alumni of the month,” since last October. This is a great way to inspire the prospective students as well as to share your news with your peers. We are hoping that many of you volunteer to be “the alumni of the month.” As I mentioned in my last fall letter, we are still in the process of putting the ISLE Program on the US study abroad map.
The news from our ISLE Center is that some of our staff retired or are in the process of retiring. After 30 years, Sumanasena has retired this last December. I am sure you all will agree with me how it is difficult to replace Sumanasena as he set such high standards. Overlapping his retirement, we have worked with a couple of drivers, Gamini Weeraratne and Sanjeewa Munasinghe. We are hoping one of these will be working with the Program on a long term basis. Since Sumanasena has been with the program for the last 30 years, there will not be any alum/nae not knowing him. To his credit, Sumanasena also kept in touch with many of you. You will be mistaken if you think that Sumanasena has slowed down much. He is running his own business, wants to be in close touch with the program and wants to help the program in whatever way he can. In fact, he is still “yamu yamu Sumanasena.” I was in Sri Lanka in January when we celebrated his retirement. Below you can see some shots of this celebration. Next in the order of retired staff is Gabriel Anthony who tended to the garden and kept the surroundings clean. Gabriel, who worked for us for 27 years, was anxious to retire and happy to bow out of his duties this last March. Mr. Mahinda Bandara, a recently retired university employee is replacing him. The third employee who will be retiring at the end of June is Rosemary. The Program is thankful for her service this past decade and half in keeping the accounts and the Center in order! A Kandy resident, Mr. Wijeratne Hewapathirana will be helping us with Center’s management from July.
We are happy to announce that we have just admitted twelve smart students, three males and nine females, for the fall 2012 program. Professor Jason Carbine, who is one of our alumni and who went back to Sri Lanka as a program assistant in the 1990s, is returning as a faculty director for this program. We are in the process of recruiting students for spring 2013 program. The Faculty Director for this program is Professor Cricket Keating, who is another ISLE alumni. She also went back as a program assistant. This will tell you how our alumni remain a strength and resource for the ISLE Program. Here is the list of some alumni who have made it to graduate schools in the recent years:
Sarah Lord – Harvard Divinity School
Alex McKinley – Harvard Divinity School
Will Cole – Harvard Divinity School
Charlie Carstens – Harvard PhD candidate
Phil Friedrich – UPenn PhD candidate
Tristan Gleason – University of Oregon PhD candidate
Sarah Wright Sussman – Harvard PhD candidate
Megan Miller – London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, MPH
Kristien Huber – starting Harvard Dental School fall 2012
Jennifer Wenz – starting Harvard Divinity School fall 2012
Paul Hastings – Columbia University, MA
Karly Sarita Ford - NYU, PhD candidate
Christopher Morris – Just finished his MD at SUNY Downstate and will begin his residency in Internal Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston in June.
As you know the main purpose of the newsletter is to create a venue for our alumni to share news with each other. As mentioned in the beginning, we have started to capture news by presenting profiles of those who volunteered to be the alumni of the month. The links given below will take you directly to their profiles. In addition to these profiles, we are also posting opportunities for fellowships and jobs related to south Asia. We would like to hear whether you find these useful to you.
Whether or not you participate in these monthly profiles, we would like to hear updates from you. Do keep in touch with the news of your good work!
April 2012 – Sarah Calhoun, ISLE ‘99
Sarah, a Carleton College alumnus, is based in New Haven, CT.
March 2012 – Patrick Lavender, ISLE '06
Patrick graduated from Bates College and currently lives in New York City.
February 2012 – Katie Seward, ISLE '06
After attending Bates College, Katie lived abroad for a few years before touching down in her current location, Seattle.
January 2012 – Bryanna Benedetti, ISLE '09
A Whittier College alumnus, Bryanna is now finishing her Junior Fulbright in Kandy.
December 2011 – Maggie Meyers, ISLE '04
Maggie now lives in Seattle, after attending Bowdoin College.
November 2011 – Elizabeth (Meyers) Christoforetti, ISLE '98
A Bowdoin College graduate, Elizabeth now lives in Boston with her husband and son.
October 2011 – Paul Hastings, ISLE '03
Paul attended Bowdoin College and now makes his home in New York City.
Sumanasena reads over a letter from Prof. John Holt, thanking him for his three decades of service, as Tilak looks on.
Maya and Violet help present Sumanasena with a gift acknowledging his tenure and dedication from the ISLE Program.