Chirath Karunathilake

Scholarship Status: Awarded 3rd Place
Scholarship Awarded: Achievement Award
University: California State University Long Beach
Date of Graduation: May 2015


I have always wanted to be an Engineer since I was young, where I would take things apart and try to figure out how they are built. I was constantly trying to satisfy these curiosities of why and how things are built, which led me to choosing Civil Engineering. This profession is an inspiring and sensational field where I plan to use the knowledge and skill to help communities build and come up with practical solutions for problems that may be faced by them. I want to make a positive difference like my grandfather, who was also a Civil Engineer who helped build a Hydro-Electric Dam in my home country, which paved the way for agriculture, and electricity in that area.Thus I have strived for academic excellence and participated in extracurricular activities including volunteer activities, always wishing to make the most of what I experience. As a Peer Advisor at the College of Engineering, I get the opportunity to help other students who are interested in engineering. My hours at work let me communicate much better as an engineer and help the future engineering students understand what engineering entails and help guide them to a better academic success in engineering. I always try to reach in to the passion of doing engineering with the students I advice, as that is one thing that i believe in that helps become a better engineer and succeed in the field through the hard classes and demanding workload. Education has being an important aspect of my life. With a 20-hour work week accompanied with challenging engineering courses, I have been able to maintain a GPA of 3.695. I am an active member and officer of ASCE and I have being very dedicated to the ASCE chapter for more than one and a half years. I started being involved with ASCE when I volunteered my time for the Concrete Canoe Project. Along the year I was introduced to techniques of concrete design and project management. This inspired me to be a concrete canoe captain this year where I can teach new members as I was, and do my best to make a concrete canoe that will represent my schools pride. As a Civil Engineering student, I volunteer my time to give high school students Tours of the Civil Engineering labs and a small demonstration how we make the concrete canoe. I also help the bi-annual Society of Women Engineers Beach Day program by hosting the Slump Test Workshop behalf of ASCE. I was inspired to become and engineer because of such activities which I participated in high school thus giving a chance to show students in high school what STEM majors entail is very rewarding. Being part of ASCE has helped me experience different specializations of engineering.The tours and presentations hosted by OC ASCE YMF and ASCE LA section has helped me finally figure out that I want to specialize in, which is Transportation Engineering. With the knowledge in this field I plan to help the infrastructure and environment I live in. Thus my goal is to work for a city where I can help the community. I hope my passion will lead me to be an aspiring engineer where my contribution will help cities and areas better. All of these experiences have helped shape me, and I believe all the challenges I have faced will make me a better Civil Engineer. With the help of this scholarship it will lessen my burden of my educational expenses and help me reach my goals with less debt. And once my goals are realized I can give back something meaningful to the society.


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