“Education is precious.”
These are the words of Bipulanda Sraman, a Cal State San Bernardino cybersecurity senior, who had to make many sacrifices in his life in order to obtain an education, even just a basic one when he was young. And now Sraman is not only the first in his family to attend college, but is also the recipient of the 2021-22 California State University Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, the CSU’s highest recognition of success.
“Education is always a miracle achievement for me,” said Sraman, who is expected to graduate in spring 2022. “I always try to learn as much as possible and I put education as my priority.”
Sraman was named the Ron and Mitzi Barhorst Scholar for the CSU Trustees’ Award and received a $6,000 scholarship. Only one student from each of the CSU system’s 23 campuses is selected for an award, which is based on superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal accomplishments.
Sraman was born in Bangladesh into a subsistence farming family who struggled to provide him with the basic needs of food, clothing, medicine and books. At age eight, his parents, who are both illiterate, made the difficult decision of sending him to an orphanage where he would be able to receive a basic education for a better future. Sraman, who has been a Buddhist monk since he was a child, relied on donations to maintain his needs, but they were hard and unpredictable. Yet even with such a challenging beginning, he persevered.
“I am self-motivated to give my best effort to any endeavor, personally and academically,” said Sraman, who is an EOP student and part of the SAIL program. “If I am going to do it, it is worth doing well.”
“The campus has a wonderful environment and has many facilities accessible to students. I have found that all the faculty and administrative staff are kind and friendly and are always looking to support their student when they need. I feel they always care and listen to students’ needs, which feels like a home.”
– Bipulanda Sraman
With his determination, Sraman eventually traveled to California where he attended an adult school and then studied at Moreno Valley College before transferring to Cal State San Bernardino, which he describes as “one of the best universities in the state.” He is currently an information systems technology major pursuing a degree in cybersecurity with a 3.87 GPA and has been on the dean’s list since attending.
“The campus has a wonderful environment and has many facilities accessible to students,” he said. “I have found that all the faculty and administrative staff are kind and friendly and are always looking to support their student when they need. I feel they always care and listen to students’ needs, which feels like a home.”
As a Buddhist monk, Sraman holds a weekly meditation class and serves the Asian and local communities by providing spiritual guidance and volunteering his services, using his multilingual skills – Bengali, Thai, Lao and English – to provide counsel and support to anyone suffering grief or hardship.
Sraman also uses his multilingual skills to help senior citizens and non-English speaking people by accompanying them to their medical appointments, and helping them obtain their required legal documentation such as driver’s licenses and Social Security cards. He visits sick and elderly people in their homes and in the hospital, and performs religious services that include weddings, birthdays, funeral services, memorial services, and business and house warmings.
Sraman also founded The Gift of Warmth Bangladesh, a nonprofit organization that provides hundreds of blankets each year to the people of Bangladesh, particularly those in rural areas who experience cold, damp winters in homes made of bamboo and mud. According to its website, a warm blanket could be the difference between sickness and health.
In addition to the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, Sraman has also been awarded the 2021-22 Charles and Shelby Obershaw Scholarship Endowment for Business and the 2021-22 Giving Tuesday Expendable Scholarship-Jack H. Brown College of Business & Public Administration.
For all his awards, Sraman thanks his donors and “sees hope in their kindness.”
“I highly appreciate this opportunity and I will make the best possible use of this scholarship,” he said. “As I have experienced the harsh reality in life, I feel hope in your generous support and it showed me light to brightness. I highly appreciate and I am grateful for everything you have done to support needy students like me. Your kindness has motivated me and encouraged me to help others. Thank you so much for giving me the hope to make my life more fulfilling.”
After graduation, Sraman intends to pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity that will help him earn a living, and at the same time, protect people and businesses from the growing cybersecurity threat.
“I am not sure what my future will be, but I feel I will be ready for any challenges or opportunities that come along,” he said. “In the near future, I intend to pursue a master’s degree and will find a way to use my education to express my gratitude for the opportunities I have been given.”
For more information and to view all of this year’s CSU Trustees’ Award recipients, visit the CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement webpage.
To learn more about and to donate to The Gift of Warmth Bangladesh, visit its website.