Hi! My name is Mary Gooneratne. I’m a junior studying electrical and computer engineering and computer science and I’m part of the Baldwin Scholars Class of 2021. I absolutely love this community of women and consider them to be one of the most formative aspects of my time at Duke thus far. I have learned so much about myself and the world around me just by nurturing my relationships with these incredible women.
As for me, I was born and raised in Southern California but am so very proudly the children of Sri Lankan immigrants. I attribute most of my worldview to my upbringing and my parents’ culture. I was raised with a strong relationship to Sri Lankan culture, a relationship that I hold onto dearly and keeps me grounded. My parents’ lives have challenged me to notice and reflect on the worlds that I don’t see every day.
My father was raised Catholic and my mother Buddhist, and my siblings and I attended both church and temple, offering us an opportunity to choose between the two. In retrospect, my parents’ ability to celebrate such a historically divisive difference taught me the value of approaching all differences, whether it be in beliefs or backgrounds, with a desire to understand and engage. This open-mindedness has made me a rather optimistic person, excited about parts of the world that can be otherwise frustrating.
I consider myself a deeply empathetic person, and between the drive to do something meaningful and a general excitement/curiosity about the world, I have found myself with a fiery love of technology. I don’t know enough about myself to be specific with my direction, but I know that I want to help build the technology that makes the future a better place to live in.
I love Duke and it is proving to be an amazing home. I fall more in love with my friends, communities, and classes with each day. Outside of Baldwin, I’m a Computer Science TA and peer tutor, on the executive boards for Duke Technology Scholars and Society of Women Engineers, an editor for DukEngineer magazine, and engaged in different software project teams. I love Duke for the way you can sculpt your experience and Baldwin has been a fundamental part of this experience for me. Outside of Duke, I am happiest when I am experiencing the world through running, my morning yoga practice, climbing, journaling, and baking.