Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

UM Strikes First

Sumedhe Karunarathne

When looking for a graduate school Sumedhe Karunarathne applied to nine universities. The University of Mississippi was the first university to send him an offer, so he accepted. He never missed a single lecture and he enthusiastically taught undergraduates, while maintaining a perfect GPA. His academic dedication has led him to a Ph.D. in Physics.


Karunarathne studies and develops models of the initial break down pulses and stepped leader propagation of lightning. His group is the first to find the location of initial break down pulses in a storm.


Karunarathne maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his graduate career while serving as an instructor. He was awarded the 2011 Graduate Instructor Excellence in Teaching award. He is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and was chosen as Class Marshal for 2013.

Future Plans:

Karunarathne will continue down the path of education by experimenting with discovery teaching. He will continually learn more in hopes of improving the world around him.

What Does Earning A Ph.D. Mean: