Tamashi Hettiarachchi


Tamashi Hettiarachchi is a student graduating from the Neag School of Education with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has collaborated with UConn faculty and other scientists on numerous projects to serve the community. One included co-designing and co-leading a teacher’s professional development event at UConn for eight area middle school science teachers using a curriculum she developed with others as part of the Ant U Collection at UConn.

As a result of her work as an Ant U Scholar, Tamashi has been the lead author of an article published in the National Science Teaching Association’s Science Scope middle school practitioner journal, “Army Ants and Their Guests: Learning From the Miniature Societies of Army Ants as a Model for Understanding Group Behavior and Natural Selection.” She will be the lead author in a book that she and chemistry professors at UConn plan to publish.

Alongside this work, Tamashi is interested in science’s intersection with social justice. She serves as an executive leader in Neag’s Leadership in Diversity Club, an organization for teachers of color where she provides support to students from underrepresented backgrounds interested in a career in education. Additionally, she will be co-presenting “Recognizing the Diverse Repertoires of Resources Students Bring to Sense-making” at the Leadership in Diversity conference. At home, she has led events like Black Lives Matter marches and other efforts with Black in Glastonbury—a group of activists who focus on injustices in the community.


In nominating Tamashi, Dr. Todd Campbell (Department Head and Professor in the Neag School of Education) has written, “she has stood out among her peers as an exceptionally reflective, organized, and passionate next generation teacher and leader.” Tamashi’s future includes traveling and spending time with loved ones to whom she attributes much of her success. She has written, “I would not be where I am today without my parents, Buddhika and Dushyanthi Hettiarachchi, and my sisters Ineshka and Emalsha.”