Meng Srean Pheakdey will be attending the University of Portland in the fall of 2023. She grew up on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. Even though her parents were not able to complete their high school education, they always supported and encouraged her for higher education. Srean wanted to make her parents proud – and set a good example for her two siblings – so she made education her priority. Srean succeeded and graduated with stellar grades and earned a 98.347 on the country’s National Examination.
While in school, Srean also made time to expand her leadership skills and volunteer experiences. One of her most challenging, but rewarding, experiences was her first Take the Lead project called “High School Supporter,” which is intended to support indigenous students in a rural area by bringing school supplies, filling in 300 books to the library, and encouraging students to pursue higher education. During her school break, she volunteered in the “National Speak Dating” program, where she helped students from the rural provinces improve their English language skills. She also volunteered at TEDxRUPP as a speaker coordinator and assisted two international and a national speaker during their speech preparation. Srean additionally volunteered as an emcee to host the event of TEDxRUPP2022 successfully. Currently she is a co-founder, reporter, activity planner, and project manager for “Beneath the Sea,” a funded project that raises awareness about marine life protected by Marine Conservation Cambodia and the critical issues happening to the sea environment.
Srean is looking forward to exploring and challenging herself in her academic journey and social life. With the education, experience, and leadership she will gain in the United States, Srean hopes to immensely improve manufacturing and inspire young women and girls in Cambodia in her chosen field, and show them that they can pursue higher education regardless of their socio-economic background or gender.