CALS student wins prestigious award from UF International Center at the 22nd annual Outstanding International Student Awards Ceremony

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Erangi Heenkenda, a College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) master’s student, received the University of Florida International Center’s Scarborough-Maud Fraser Award at the 22nd annual awards ceremony held on Nov. 15. The center recognizes international students with exemplary academic records and a wide range of achievements each year.

The Scarborough-Maud Fraser award is sponsored by the Scarborough Insurance Company in honor of Maud Fraser, who provided outstanding service to international students at UF for 13 years before retirement. These international awards are part of UF’s priority to expand international perspectives in the classroom, as well as in research and service.

“International students comprise a significant percentage (about 36 percent) of CALS’ graduate student population,” said CALS Associate Dean Allen Wysocki. “These awards provide one small way CALS recognizes the contributions of our international graduate students. We are immensely proud of them and their achievements.”

Heenkenda came to UF from Sri Lanka on a Fulbright Scholarship to study fisheries and aquatic sciences. In Sri Lanka, she received the Ruhuna University Vice Chancellor’s Gold Medal for best student in academics, sports and other extracurriculars, and the Ruhuna University Dean’s Award in her field of study. In 2013, she was selected to represent Sri Lanka at the 18th World Youth and Student Festival in Ecuador.

Among her many accomplishments, Heenkenda has been selected to serve as a Fulbright advisor to new Fulbright international students in the U.S. She has made numerous presentations on her research across the nation, most recently to attendees of the Our Ocean Conference hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, D.C.  In 2015, Heenkenda was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Academic Achievement from the UF International Center for her academic success.

“Erangi is a mature, talented, honest and hard-working student,” said one of Heenkenda’s mentors and UF/IFAS assistant professor, Huiping Yang. “She adapted to the U.S. culture and environment quickly, and she immediately began volunteering in the UF and Gainesville communities by giving ‘fish talks’ to school children, judging 4-H demonstrations and illustrated talks, and providing demonstrations to Florida Youth Institute attendees.”

The following CALS international students were also recognized for their scholarship and achievements at the awards ceremony:

  • Fernanda Ferreira – Ph.D. student in Animal Sciences
  • Katsutoshi Mizuta – Ph.D. student in Soil and Water Science
  • Ruiqi Li – Ph.D. student in Food Science
  • Dev Paudel – Ph.D. student in the Agronomy
  • Ramesh Paudyal – Ph.D. student in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation
  • Thales Pupo West – Ph.D. student in Interdisciplinary Ecology

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The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) administers the degree programs of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). The mission of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is to deliver unsurpassed educational programs that prepare students to address the world’s critical challenges related to agriculture, food systems, human wellbeing, natural resources and sustainable communities. Visit the CALS website at cals.ufl.edu, and follow CALS on social media platforms at @ufcals.

By: Dana Edwards,                                                                                                                             www.cals.ufl.edu

352-392-1963

dana.edwards@ufl.edu

Source: Allen Wysocki, 352-392-1963, wysocki@ufl.edu