Chamnan Suon, from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a freshman at Beloit College studying Economics. On campus, she is involved with the International Student Association and Phi Beta Kappa. Along with focusing on business and microeconomics, Chamnan studies French and piano. Before joining SHE-CAN and arriving in the U.S., Chamnan was very active with community based projects and volunteer work – such as TEDx, FUSAAC, and the Cambodian Red Cross. She also participated in an environmental program called 25,000 Riels and Environment, which dealt with environmental and hygienic issues affecting local people around Oudong Mountain. In 2013, she was awarded a full scholarship to attend Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC), where she spent three-years studying economics. During high school, Chamnan received an award for her outstanding work in physics and took first place in the Casio Mathematics Competition in 2012.
Chamnan hopes to use her education to alleviate poverty in Cambodia and to create pathways towards quality education for all Cambodian children. Growing up, Chamnan almost lost her own ability to go to school because her family could not afford to pay her university fees. This made her realize that education is not often a priority for families living in extreme poverty because they are fighting to avoid starvation. So that is why she wants to focus both on improving access to education and helping families start small businesses so that they have enough economic stability that they avoid pulling their children out of school.