Our student of the week will receive a $50 voucher from Boston Books. If you want to nominate a student or friend, email us at
IT might be a bit presumptuous to say that Chea Pumsakheyna is the best high school mathematician studying today in Cambodia, but you would be hard-pressed to find another 17-year-old with his credentials. He scored top marks in the math section of this year’s national exams, as well as in a 2009 exam organised by Japan’s Zoukin Organization aimed at gauging the abilities of Cambodian youth.
Chea Pumsakheyna’s ranking as this year’s top mathematician in his age group (he won a similar award as a 9th grader in 2007), has garnered him an award, school supplies and money from the Ministry of
Education, Youth and Sports. His excellence in this field of study has also paid off in the form of trips to meet other young scholars around the world.
While students who are much older than Chea Pumsakheyna are still hoping to gain opportunities to study abroad, he has already secured a trip to Singapore, which his parents have asked him to put on hold until he graduates from high school.
He won the Singapore trip through an exam that he sat in 2008, and is currently joining the International Math Olympiad in Astana, Kazakhstan.
When he isn’t studying or crunching numbers, Chea Pumsakheyna volunteers with the National Association of Cambodian Scouts and the Cambodian Red Cross. A few months ago the Smart Business Group invited him to represent Chea Sim Santhormok High School in its entrepreneur training programme.
The youngest of three children of Krouch Sovanna, his mother who is an official in the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, and his father Chea Vantha, who works for the NGO Voluntary Services Overseas, Chea Pumsakheyna said that he has committed himself entirely to his studies and is proud of his accomplishments.
Besides developing his own knowledge and abilities, Chea Pumsakheyna also likes cooperate with other students and help his friends when they don’t understand the lesson or are having difficulty solving a problem.
“I really try hard to do exercises by myself and research documents related to my courses,” he said. “If I didn’t understand something I wouldn’t hesitate to ask the teacher.”
In the future Chea Pumsakheyna hopes to become a successful professional while aiding the development of the country.
“I have two main goals; first I want to be an engineer and second I want to be a professor of math to contribute to the education of the next generation,” he said.
“All students should try hard to study to become a good student and a good citizen who can contribute positively to their society.”