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From Beloit to New Zealand & Cambodia: Preserving the planet, one endangered plant at a time

Seakguech Sok’21, an environmental biology major and lover of plants and flowers, is studying abroad in New Zealand and traveled to her home country of Cambodia to work on making the world a greener place, one plant at a time. Guech came to Beloit College as a SHE-CAN scholar.

Name: Seakguech Sok’ 21

Hometown: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Study Abroad Location: University of Otago, New Zealand

  • First, can you tell us a bit about the focus of your studies and what you hope to do in the future after graduating from Beloit?

I am an environmental biology major. I am very passionate about plants and native flowers and how they function in the environment. After graduating from Beloit, I want to document native flowers in Cambodia.

  • You are spending your junior year abroad in New Zealand. What made you decide to do this?

Having completed many of my degree requirements in my first and second year at Beloit, I decided to spend my junior year at the University of Otago in order to explore more deeply what I love and am passionate about. Not only am I taking botany courses, but I’ve gone on a field trip to learn about New Zealand’s native plants. It has been great to get hands-on experience with plants.

Seakguech took a hiking and camping trip with friends to Dingle Burn Track, Hāwea Conservation Pa...Seakguech took a hiking and camping trip with friends to Dingle Burn Track, Hāwea Conservation Park

  • You just completed an internship in your home country of Cambodia. What was the organization and what is its mission?

I interned at Fauna in Focus, an NGO that focuses on raising awareness about wildlife and biodiversity in Cambodia. Its mission is to improve knowledge and inspire a love of nature in Cambodia. Its nature discovery center gives people a chance to learn about the environment.

  • What kind of duties did you have as an intern?

I was a Tree Nursery Project leader. My role was to grow four endangered tree species. Eventually, they’ll be moved to protected forests.

  • What are some of the takeaways from your internship?

I learned that I can learn how to lead a project relatively quickly. It has also been gratifying to realize I can apply what I’ve learned in college to a real project.

Seakguech's last day interning at Fauna in FocusSeakguech's last day interning at Fauna in Focus

  • What advice do you have for first and second-year students at Beloit College as they make decisions about their four years of study?

My advice for first and second-year students at Beloit College is to not be afraid to explore so that they can figure out what they like and don’t like.

Yashodhara Kundra’20
February 10, 2020

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