2019 LSU Alumni Association International Student Scholarship Recipients
photo of winners being announced

Four students received the 2019 LSU Alumni Association International Student Scholarship on Sunday, February 24th at the LSU International Student Association’s International Fusion 2019. The scholarship award is merit-based; students must also demonstrate their involvement with global engagement and diversity, as well as, have outstanding leadership experience. One undergraduate and three graduate students were chosen to receive a cash award of $2,500 to assist in their studies. 

Many qualified candidates entered to win the scholarship, but four candidates outshone the others.

The winners this year included Elena Soto Handal (Honduras), Ronald Rodriguez (Colombia), Dependra Bhatta (Nepal) and Thenahandi Prasanthi Deepthika De Silva (Sri Lanka).

Elena Soto Handal

Photo of Elena Soto Handal


Elena Soto Handal: Ms. Soto Handal is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in
Biological Engineering from the LSU Department of Biological and Agricultural
Engineering. Her anticipated graduation date is in May 2020 and has a 3.86 GPA. Ms.
Soto Handal has been a dedicated member of VIPS (volunteers in public schools) where
she tutors second graders. On coming to LSU, Ms. Soto Handal says, “Students at LSU
are open-minded, they are not afraid of the unknown but would rather explore it and
learn more about it, so I have been able to connect with a lot of different people with
all sorts of cultures, and I don't think I could have had the same experience at any
other school”. Ms. Soto Handal is from Honduras.

Ronald Rodriguez

Photo of Hamed Al-ajmi Ronald Rodriguez: Mr. Rodriguez is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Jazz
Studies from the LSU School of Music and expects to graduate in Spring 2020. Mr.
Herrera has a 4.0 GPA and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in music
performance from Northwestern State University, where he served as vice-president
of the Northwestern State University Chapter. He has earned 3 scholarships and is a
member of multiple professional organizations. Mr. Rodriguez has been inspired by his
time studying in the US and plans to return to his hometown to pass on his experiences
and knowledge to children. “I am very grateful for all the opportunities given to me
throughout the years because now I can see the world with a new perspective.” Mr.
Rodriguez is from Colombia.

Dependra Bhatta

Photo of Saad Aziz Mr. Bhatta is currently pursuing a PhD in Agricultural Economics
and Agribusiness from the LSU Department of Agricultural Economics and
Agribusiness. His anticipated graduation date is May 2020 and he has a GPA of 3.636.
Mr. Bhatta has demonstrated leadership experience, and he is currently serving as the
President of the Agricultural Economics Graduate Student Association and previously
served as President of the International Student Association and the International
Cultural Center. Mr. Bhatta has published 4 articles in refereed journals, given 8
presentations and has been awards various academic honors. On coming to LSU, Mr.
Bhatta believes “LSU is preparing students like me for a wonderful career where we
can make a difference in our field.” Mr. Bhatta is from Nepal.

Thenahandi Prasanthi Deepthika De Silva

Photo of Thenahandi Prasanthi Deepthika De Silva


Ms. De Silva is currently pursuing a PhD in Chemistry and expects to complete the program in the summer of 2019. Ms. De Silva has a GPA of 4.0. She is currently working as a research/teaching assistant in the Department of Chemistry, College of Science. Ms. De Silva has published 5 articles in refereed journals, received 2 patents, presented 13 oral and poster presentations at various conferences and professional meetings, as well as earned numerous academic awards and honors. Ms. De Silva also co-founded the Bhakti Yoga Club to share cultural heritage with the LSU community. Ms. De Silva says, “Engaging with the diverse and dynamic LSU community has shaped me into a better human being by sharpening my core values like understanding, respecting, sharing, and caring for each other”. Ms. De Silva is from Sri Lanka.