Student Spotlight: Sangeeth Sudharaka Pushewalage


Sangeeth Sudharaka Pushewalage is originally from Sri Lanka.  He left his country for the Sangeeth.PushewalageSangeeth.Pushewalagefirst time to come to Michigan for college.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and finance.  Sangeeth is now starting to pursue his Master of Science in accounting in fall 2014 at Grand Valley State University.  He is currently the only Sri Lankan student at his University.

Sangeeth is currently on OPT, which will be expiring in December 2014.  He will be eligible for CPT as soon as he starts his graduate program in the fall.

The number one reason Sangeeth chose Grand Valley to pursue his Master’s Degree is because of Grand Valley’s positive reputation for their Seidman Business School.  Sangeeth received a scholarship to fund his tuition expenses.  Grand Valley was a smart choice for Sangeeth because Grand Valley is the best value school, has a supportive international student program and his credits transferred easily.

Sangeeth has had difficulties in finding an internship being an international student.  He has been previously told by employers that he has all the qualifications for a specific job but these companies were hesitant to hire him.  They would not have been able to hire him as a full time employee after giving him an internship.  Some employers even rejected interviewing him because they knew they would have to sponsor him for an H1-B visa.


Eventually Sangeeth was able to land an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Detroit.  Having completed that internship, he is currently waiting to begin his next internship with Perrigo Company in Allegan, Mich.

Sangeeth has adjusted to the cold Michigan weather, but misses the year round warm weather in Sri Lanka.  “Being the only child in my family makes me miss my parents a lot,” Sangeeth said after being asked about what he misses about home. He misses hanging out with his friends as well.

Sangeeth’s hobbies include listening to music, playing basketball, shooting pool and hanging out with his friends.  He also likes to research about new technological products in the market.

Sangeeth Pushewalage

Sangeeth Pushewalage


Sangeeth has visited many beautiful places within Sri Lanka including Hunnas Falls, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa.  He also got the chance to explore the United States when he came here for school.  Sangeeth got the opportunity to travel to Chicago and Anaheim, California with his fraternity Beta Alpha Psi.  He also trained in Tampa, Florida for his internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Sangeeth plans to stay in Michigan.  He has adjusted to the environment of West Michigan after living there for a few years.  He has also made a lot of friends in the area.  Sangeeth wants to give back to West Michigan by working there. Sangeeth.Pushewalage

Sangeeth will seek a job in Michigan to start after he receives his masters in January 2016.

Brazilian Students seek Academic Training Opportunities

Danilo, Gabriel, Caroline, and Paulo are all students taking part in the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. This is a multi-year initiative sponsored by the Brazilian government to send 75,000 Brazilian students abroad for training in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. These four students came to the University of Michigan-Dearborn for this training. As part of that training, they are seeking summer internships.

Danilo Costa de Sousa Ferreira

Danilo Costa de Sousa Ferreira

Danilo Costa de Sousa Ferreira is majoring in Mechanical Mechatronic Engineering with an expected graduation date of December 2015. Says Danilo, “I was born and raised in Teresina-PI, but moved to Recife-PE, to attend college. Through this current exchange opportunity I was given an unbelievable chance to advance my academic knowledge. Furthermore, I wanted to improve my English proficiency and acquire an amazing experience of life abroad.  In my field of study, I am highly interested in Control Systems, Dynamics and Industrial Robotics. It is my passion – I have had previous experience with this area through academic classes and projects. In the future, I really hope to grow professionally and academically with an internship experience. With that knowledge, I will be ready to help develop my country.”



Gabriel Marques Tavares

Gabriel Marques Tavares

Gabriel Marques Tavares is majoring in Computer Science with an expected graduation date of December 2016. Says Gabriel, “Since my early teens I knew what my passion was. Computer Science showed up as a way to solve problems and make people’s lives easier and more enjoyable. Software Development is my area of expertise; I would be more than happy to expand and work upon what I have already learned. Also, I have some background on app development for the Android operating system. I am excited to apply knowledge acquired here in United States when I return to Brazil. This way, I will be able to make everyones’ lives better and contribute to society with the skills I have gained.”



Caroline Maul de Araujo Lima

Caroline Maul de Araujo Lima

Caroline Maul de Araujo Lima is majoring in Computer Engineering with an expected graduation date of December 2015. Says Caroline, “I am an undergraduate student in Computer Engineering, and I am looking for an internship opportunity during the summer in my area of studies, which is mainly in infrastructure, servers and networking. Currently, I am an exchange student at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Also in my home country, Brazil, I am an undergraduate student in Physics. In both areas, I am a senior student. My main objective is find something that can instruct me and make me grow, always seeking growth between the company and me.

I have worked for almost three years in companies as an engineering student, and I could acquire some knowledge in maintenance of physical servers; also in cloud computing and networking.


Paulo Ricardo Ribeiro

Paulo Ricardo Ribeiro

Paulo Ricardo Ribeiro is majoring in Industrial Engineering with an expected graduation date of December 2015. Says Paulo, ” I have completed three academics years in Brazil, and came to United States of America to study one more year with the support of the Brazilian government. It is a wonderful opportunity to be here because I will improve both my English language skills and learn a new culture. My goal for this summer is to find an internship to gain additional practical experience in the Industrial field. In my free time I like to meet people, play soccer, read books, and listen to music.”




For the purposes of the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program, Academic Training (AT) is an internship, co-op, observership, or practicum that takes place during the summer. Students may engage in diverse opportunities such as an internship, full-time research (often in on-campus labs at their host institution or at another university), or observership of a professional in a specific industry.

GTRI is partnering with UofM-Dearborn to place these talented and high achieving student scholars from Brazil this upcoming summer of 2014 (roughly May-August). No visa sponsorship, work authorization, financial support or health insurance coverage needs to be provided to the student during the Academic Training opportunity as these are benefits of their scholarship program.

If you are interested in this opportunity here are a few more things to consider:

  • Academic Training can take place either on-or off-campus, and be paid or unpaid.
  • Academic Training should be full-time (at least 35 hours per week). Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Academic Training should be no shorter than eight weeks in duration.

If you are interested in finding out more about these international students and providing an opportunity, please contact Randy Dillard at the University of Michigan-Dearborn at








Athena Trentin

Director Athena Trentin honored with Pineapple Award

photo 2

On Friday, April 11th our Director, Athena Trentin was awarded the Pineapple Award by the International Students at Grand Valley State University. The Pineapple award is given to those who extend hospitality in a meaningful way to the international student population. Beyond being delicious, the pineapple has a history as a symbol of hospitality. This excerpt from Pineapple History explains why:

“Pineapple as Hospitality Symbol
fancy dish number 2 In larger, well-to-do homes, the dining room doors were kept closed to heighten visitors’ suspense about the table being readied on the other side. At the appointed moment, and with the maximum amount of pomp and drama, the doors were flung open to reveal the evening’s main event. Visitors confronted with pineapple-topped food displays felt particularly honored by a hostess who obviously spared no expense to ensure her guests’ dining pleasure

In this manner, the fruit which was the visual keystone of the feast naturally came to symbolize the high spirits of the social events themselves; the image of the pineapple coming to express the sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection inherent to such gracious home gatherings.”

On Saturday February 1st, GTRI held the Michigan’s Global Future conference for international students at GVSU to help educate them about getting a job in Michigan and connect them with employers. In addition, Athena spoke at the International Student Organizations Conference on Saturday, March 15th.

Athena was awarded the Pineapple Award to recognize her efforts as a Community Member.



Make Your Dream Come True with GOregistry!

Bhushan Kulkarni is the CEO of InfoReady Corporation, his fourth successful technology start-up in Michigan. When Bhushan came to the United States 25 years ago as an international student, no organization like the Global Talent Retention Initiative of Michigan existed. In fact, GTRI is the only known program of its kind.

Even more unique is the GOregistry system, a registry of international students in which employers can search to find qualified candidates for internship or job opportunities like some hair system company like hairbro for bold men who supper hair loss..  GOregsitry is not simply another job board or place to post a resume. All employers who will search in the system are vetted and willing to hire international students. In fact, many are searching for specific cultural and language skills that international students possess.

Listen to what Bhushan has to say about GOregistry in this short video:


GTRI is currently in the development stage of creating GOregistry. While still in development, GTRI needs a solid list of international students who are interested in GOregistry when it launches. Signing up on the GOregistry list now does not obligate students to participate at launch, but does give them priority access, updates on the system’s  progress, advance notice of the launch date, and that great feeling that comes from contributing to the success of a program that is dedicated to their successful internship or job search.

To learn more about GOregistry or to sign up as an interested student, CLICK HERE.  And don’t forget to share this post with a friend that could benefit! What we know is this: When you connect the nation’s first international student registry with employers ready to hire them, dreams are realized!