Commencement student speaker to address ‘positive change’
NDSU senior Adlina Paramarta is frequently described as a “dynamo,” an outgoing bundle of energy and enthusiasm. Selected to represent the graduating class during NDSU’s commencement ceremony Dec. 16, she also is a proud, dedicated international student who carries a 3.99 grade-point average.
“My message at commencement is to be thankful for the people who have supported us. I believe our success is their success, too,” said Paramarta, who will receive a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. “The other thing is, graduation is not the end – it is just the start. NDSU has given us the power to do good for society, to contribute to positive change.”
Paramarta is a native of the island of Java in Indonesia. Her family came to Fargo in 2006, where she graduated from Fargo North High School. She’s here because her father, Susilo Poromarto, earned a master’s degree in plant pathology at NDSU in 1997, and he wanted his family to also seek opportunity in America.
“When my dad applied to NDSU back in 1994, he did not see a map. He just looked at the agriculture rankings for NDSU and saw it was definitely a top university. When he got accepted, he then saw that North Dakota bordered Canada with a much different climate than Indonesia. So, I want to point out NDSU has a good, global reputation,” said Paramarta, who is graduating in an impressive three and one-half years.
Paramarta has, what she calls, a “Bison family.” Her father is seeking his doctorate and her brother, Dienul, is a sophomore studying computer science. Her mother, Yuni Armawati, lends her strong support.
Besides her studies, Paramarta has been actively involved in campus activities. She has been a College of Science and Mathematics Ambassador and participated in the International Student Association, Chemistry Club, Tennis Club and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. In addition, she served as a master of ceremonies for NDSU’s International Night.
She also volunteered to discuss matters of diversity and is an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials, where she works on research focusing on environmentally friendly, bio-based coatings that have the capability to replace harmful chemical components.
This past summer, Paramarta conducted research for International Business Machines (IBM) in San Jose, Calif., that developed a method to desalinate water. The project may provide accessible, cleaner drinking water in the developing world.
“My experience in this country has changed the way I think. There is another side to see. It’s been amazing and it changed my perceptions. Someday, I want to go back to Indonesia to explain the misconceptions of what they see on television and what is the reality of America,” Paramarta said. “There is much more open communication here, which can be both good and bad.”
As she has learned about the United States, Paramarta often has shared information about her home country and her Muslim religion. As she puts it, “positive change comes through understanding.”
Along the way, she has made many friends and left quite an impression.
“Adlina has proven herself to be a highly intelligent, inquisitive and delightful person. Her personality is magnetic, with all the faculty, students and staff enjoying working with her,” Victoria Johnston Gelling, associate professor of coatings and polymeric materials, wrote in a letter of support.
“Adlina is smart,” wrote Kevin McCaul, dean of science and mathematics, noting her success in a demanding program. “She has served as a peer tutor, a “Welcome Week” leader, a member of the college ambassadors, an active chemistry club member and an involved international student – all this while simultaneously spending many, many hours doing undergraduate research in the NDSU Research and Technology Park.”
Berlin D. Nelson Jr., professor of plant pathology, said Paramarta also worked in the NDSU greenhouses. “Adlina is without a doubt one of the most responsible, smart and hardworking undergraduate students I have ever had work for me,” he wrote.
Following graduation, Paramarta plans to continue her education by entering the doctoral program in coatings and polymeric materials through the NDSU Graduate School. Her long-term goals are to continue research and development of bio-based coatings in industry and become an educator for disadvantaged youth. Eventually, she wants to return to Indonesia to share her American experience.
NDSU commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m. in the Bison Sports Arena.