Tharanga Goonetilleke plans to see her name up in lights. Well…. not quite yet, but she is well on her way by being granted a full scholarship to the renowned vocal music graduate program at The Juilliard School in New York. She was asked to apply by a Juilliard professor after he witnessed her stellar performance at the Met.
Born in Sri Lanka, Tharanga always had a passion for music, but never considered it as a career until fate led her to Converse. Dr. Douglas Weeks, Babcock Professor of Piano at Converse, was on a three-country tour of South Asia when he heard Tharanga rehearsing for a concerto competition organized by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka. “I knew at that moment that Tharanga was not just a good soprano, but an exceptional soprano,” he said. “I felt that because Converse has one of the finest voice programs in America, Tharanga would be a perfect fit.”
She is only the third person-and the only woman-from Sri Lanka to be accepted into Juilliard. “I feel truly honored and blessed that I have the opportunity to represent Converse and my little country of Sri Lanka at Julliard,” she said.
Tharanga’s family and friends are ecstatic about her acceptance into Juilliard, as are the music faculty at Converse; “Tharanga is an exceptional young lady who will make a powerful impact wherever she goes,” said Dr. Joseph Hopkins, Dean of the Petrie School of Music at Converse.
Many other Converse women have bright futures awaiting them.
Melissa Ballard has accepted a position with Milliken and Company at their Abbeville Plant as an Industrial Engineer. The Abbeville Plant is part of the Automotive Division of Milliken.
Danielle Beck will be attending the Charleston (SC) School of Law.
Carolyn Bone will be attending the University of South Carolina School of Law.
Cynthia Michelle Childers has landed a job teaching in the pre-school program in Cherokee County, SC.
Kerry Duncan will pursue her Master’s of Elementary Education at Converse.
Monica Eason received a scholarship and teaching assistantship at Ithaca College (Ithaca, NY), where she will study for a Master of Music in Oboe Performance.
Jennifer Gray has been accepted into the Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology at the University of Wyoming.
Anne Marie Harnett has accepted a teaching position with Lexington (SC) School District 2 at Wood Elementary. She has also been accepted into the graduate program at Converse.
Megan Johnson will begin teaching 2nd grade at Wood Elementary in Columbia, SC.
Danica Lance will be attending Appalachian State University in Boone, NC to pursue her Master’s in Higher Education.
Nicole Martin will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army, and is taking a delay from active duty to attend Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, MO.. After earning her Master’s of Divinity, she plans to enter active duty as a chaplain.
Brandi Mullinax plans to pursue her graduate study in the Converse MLA program.
Cortney O’Diear landed a job at Young Office in Spartanburg, SC as their new designer.
Sarah Peavler will be attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL for a Master’s of Accountancy.
Amy Stahl will be attending the Master’s program in English Literature at Florida State University, where she has been awarded tuition remission and a teaching assistantship for which she will receive $10,300 annually