My early school years in Sri Lanka were quite challenging. I started school at a very young age and was bullied a lot. But something shifted at one of the annual school prize awards ceremonies where I watched other children receive academic awards and acknowledgement. I decided education was the superpower I would use to stand up for myself.
From that time on, I worked very hard. I became first in class, took on leadership positions at school and started performing exceptionally well in both academics & leadership. The bullies could no longer get to me – I was happy, and I was able to make my parents happy, too.
I started university when I was only 16. I wanted to go to Australia to study Computer Science, but my parents thought I was too young to go overseas alone. So, I joined the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) to study a BSc in Information Technology specialising in Software Engineering.
I was still passionate about pursuing my Australian dream. While studying I came to learn that I could join Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia through SLIIT. Because both SLIIT and Curtin University enjoy a strong relationship, I was able to study both courses at the same time and graduate with a double degree at the age of 19.
Studying at Curtin University was a fantastic experience that really awakened my spirit and gave me a solid platform from which to launch my career. The subjects were not easy – in fact, they were pretty tough but the strong camaraderie among the students and the guidance from our lecturers was a great support.
The education I received at Curtin University helped me become a person who is ready to accept challenges in life, and to really understand that these challenges make life interesting and meaningful.
After I graduated from Curtin University, I worked as a lecturer at SLIIT in the Department of Information Technology
In my years of study, I learnt that education is the passport to the future. Commitment, dedication and hard work can help us achieve the pinnacle of success we dream to achieve in life. Because dreams can be achieved if the right action is taken. It's an approach I'm now able to pass on to the next generation of leaders in my role as an academic.
I came to realise that academia is definitely my dream career which would help me live the purpose of my life - to inspire and empower others. During this period, I completed my PhD in Cyber Security (Computer Science) at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka where I later joined University of Moratuwa as a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Faculty of Engineering. This led me join the National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) as Head School of Computing & Engineering.
Now I'm proud to be Head Student Life and Engagement at the National Institute of Business Management, Academic Course Director for the School of Computing & Engineering and a Member of the Education Reforms and Policy Formulation Taskforce for the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka.
I truly believe I am in my dream career in STEM, inspiring and empowering youth whilst supporting to shape the future of education in my home country.