Donald De Alwis: Environmental Science & Technology, Class of 2020

Having spent 7 years exploring the humanities throughout middle and high school, ILS offered me a personalized opportunity to change pace and delve into my passion for environmental and human health. 

Picture of Donald Dealwis in a field of tall grass.

ILS offers students the flexibility to major in a department of their choice, while still engaging in intensive ILS classes that shrink the classroom and help foster a relationship between professor and student.  Going into college, I wanted to choose a science program would let me create a holistic schedule, and that is exactly what ILS fosters.   The program lets me participate in the honors college while still pursuing my other interests and passions. In addition to ILS, I’ve been able to join Club Climbing and the Terrapin Trail Club at UMD, while maintaining my work as a professional wedding photographer.  I have room in my schedule to take classes outside of ILS and my major, allowing me to tailor my coursework to my specific interests.

A huge benefit of being a part of the community is getting to know the ILS professors- ILS professors quickly learn the names, faces, and stories of every bright-eyed student that enters his/her classroom on the first day, and are consistently available for advice on homework, classes, even career paths.  ILS professors truly take the time to provide students with meaningful advice backed by years of experience, in addition to a very strong course curriculum in the classroom.

Picture of Donald DeAlwis backpacking in a mountainous area.

The program also encourages students to take their knowledge outside of the classroom with co-curriculars, and I’ve taken this to heart during my first year at UMD.  I began work as a medical scribe this semester, and have become vested in Engineers without Borders on campus.   In the future, I plan on becoming a certified EMT in PG County and will use this to continue exploring the medical field.