Nita Touch will be attending the University of Minnesota in Fall of 2023. She grew up in Phnom Penh City, Cambodia. In high school, she was supported by her mother alone who worked at the thrift store to make sure she and her younger sister got as much education as possible. Through all the hardships that she encountered, Nita has become a very persistent person, inspired by her mom. and She promised herself to reach her goal. She always ranked in the top three in her class and played the role of a class monitor in both high school and university. By getting good grades, she helped her mother save a lot of the cost for school as she got 50% scholarship from the start of high school until she graduated. She was also offered scholarships from two famous universities in Phnom Penh as well.
Despite the busy schedule from her classes and a part-time job, Nita always takes all chances to develop herself and helps others as much as she can. In high school, she created a science study club by teaching her classmate Math, Physic, and chemistry to prepare for the national exam. After spending time at the study club, their scores improved – this was one of Nita’s proudest moments. This made her realize that helping people and seeing them succeed is one of her true passions. Nita’s “Take The Lead” (SHE-CAN note: “Take The Lead” is a community service project every SHE-CAN scholar completes before coming to the U.S. for college) project was called ”Better Education” which focused on sharing the importance of education to rural kids in Prey Veng province. She raised funds to create a proper library for Beoung Krateb primary school. She was able to buy 350 kid storybooks and provide study supplies, hygiene kits, and cookies for 250 students at that school. In June 2022, Nita joined an event called Ponlue (light) as a speaker who talked about how to find and get scholarships for University. This was an education-sharing event to encourage students in Battambong province to pursue higher education and not give up on their goal. In August 2022, Nita also volunteered in an online study club called “Rean Buddies” as a biology tutor to low-income high school students from many provinces around Cambodia. Nita is also very interested in environmental problems. In late 2022, she volunteered for the Climate Heroes Project which focused on sharing environmental education to high school students in Kampot province.
Through many of her volunteer experiences in different provinces of Cambodia, she has observed how people in her country lack healthcare support, science opportunities, and environmental education. With a degree from the U.S., Nita will return home to Cambodia and improve human health, address environmental problems, and spread the importance of science and research. Nita hopes to be an inspiration for women to not be afraid to reach their dreams and to go as far as they want.