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Nhean Dawance Chea

Nhean Chea

Senior Dawance Chea, president of the Biological Engineering Club, was the second recipient of the BE Department Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.

The award is given to a person in the department who consistently displays enthusiasm, dedication, alacrity, a sense of humor, patience, persistence, helpfulness, a can-do-attitude and a dedication to research.

Chea worked with the BE department head and other students to organize seminars and recruit outside speakers, was always available to help new students, often assisted graduate students with personal challenges and lent a helpful and sympathetic ear.

He was also involved in undergraduate research, where he demonstrated leadership and scholarship. His team project was awarded the Grand Prize at the national Institute of Biological Engineering Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in March. He led the project team, which also included Kalie McCulloch and Spencer Wong. The used population models to assist in understanding and testing the predation of algae by daphnia organisms in the Logan City Wastewater Treatment Lagoons. The algae are useful for nutrient removal and as feedstock for producing bioproducts, including biodiesel, biomethane, bioplastic materials and biosolvents. When daphnia digest the algae, the wastewater treatment is inhibited and algae biomass is destroyed.

After graduating in May, Chea pursued his interest in global medicine by traveling to Cambodia to be a medical assistant in a clinic. There he took blood samples, inserted IV lines and comforted patients. He also volunteered at a community orphanage, where he taught three courses: English for beginners, English for intermediates and basic arithmetic. These experiences furthered his interest in global medicine and the importance of cultural competence.

Based on his performance, behavior and dedication to his fellow human beings, Dawance Chea received the 2011 Award for Outstanding Achievement.