St. Lawrence has a multitude of opportunities for students from all backgrounds and with any academic interest. They just have to go out and find them, and then hold onto them. Rochi Cooray '15 has done just that, taking charge of her academic journey and playing the lead on campus.
Rochi, who is from Nawala, Sri Lanka, was drawn to St. Lawrence's community even before she stepped foot on campus. "As an international student, I didn't have the luxury of coming and touring St. Lawrence or any other school I applied to," she said. "What drew me to St Lawrence was the sense of community that I felt, despite the distance. I received a personalized email from a St. Lawrence student asking me about my potential academic and extracurricular interests and I didn’t receive such close personal attention from any other school. This little bit of correspondence made me feel like St Lawrence wanted me to be a part of their campus."
Once on campus, Rochi needed to figure out what academic interests she wanted to pursue. "When I arrived at St. Lawrence, I had no idea what I wanted to major in," she admits. "That's what is great about a liberal arts school - you never know what field you're going to find interesting. I took a global studies class and an economics class and ended up majoring in both."
In the summer of 2012 she was awarded a Travel Enrichment Grant based on her proposal titled "Export Production Zones in Sri Lanka: Analysis of Labor Unions and Gender Dynamics of Work." In the fall of 2012, Rochi was among the first St. Lawrence students to participate in the New York City semester, a program that immerses students in the art and business worlds of New York.
"As an economics major, the New York City semester program was perfect for me because I could gain work experience while earning credits toward my major," she says. "The program offered internships at very prestigious companies in New York, many of which were supervised by St. Lawrence alumni who are very invested in making the experience a positive one for the students."
In the spring of 2013, Rochi's efforts were recognized when she was tapped for membership into St. Lawrence's chapter of the national leadership honorary society, Omicron Delta Kappa. She followed that by spending her summer in Canton working as an admissions intern. These interns were chosen from a competitive field of candidates who completed an extensive application process, including multi-stage interviews. They interned for 10 weeks, leading tours for high school students and their families and working on administrative projects for Admissions.
Rochi's desire to learn, grow and try new things has been fueled by the seemingly endless opportunities available at St. Lawrence and she's pursued many dreams while here. In addition to her many roles on campus, she also founded Crafts for a Cause, is a member of the African Student Union and is also a member of the Laurentian Singers, who are touring Kenya during semester break in January.