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Dawance Chea (B.S. 2011) is in the thick of his second year of medical school at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, Penn. Chea’s path to medical school began with the encouragement and mentorship he received as an undergraduate in the USU Biological Engineering program.

While at USU, Chea worked on algae research with Department Head Dr. Ron Sims, whom he credits as a mentor. “Nothing can really prepare you for medical school,” Chea said, “but the people I was surrounded by at Utah State helped me realize what I really wanted to do with my life.”

Chea began his studies at The Commonwealth Medical College in 2013. He is interested in completing a dual residency program in either Emergency Medicine and Internal Medicine or Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine. Upon completion of one of these programs, he would be proficient in both acute care and chronic care. After his expected graduation from medical school in 2017, Chea will continue his training as a resident.

According to Chea, his goal for his medical career is to improve healthcare delivery to underserved populations, especially immigrant populations. In October of 2013, Chea earned his Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from Columbia University, where his research focused on nutrition education for African immigrants.
Chea and his family are immigrants and have firsthand experience with the common struggles of immigrants. “We had to kind of start over, with economic hardships and such,” he said, describing his family’s immigration from France to Logan, Utah. “I’m an immigrant, and I know what immigrants face.”

“Utah State has been kind of a home away from home because of the biological engineering department and their support,” Chea said.