Darren Cheah, mentee in the 2019 Energy-Minerals Program in WA (Curtin University)

Darren was born and raised in tropical heat of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but moved to the frigid winters of the American Midwest at the age of 20 to further his studies. He graduated in 2014 from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences, where his studies focused on environmental geochemistry and geobiology. During his time there, he received partial scholarship awards from the Department of Earth Sciences, and carried out his thesis research on the effects of environmental sulphur on local wild rice crops. He then moved to South Bend, Indiana, where he pursued a Master’s Degree in Earth Sciences on a full scholarship from the University of Notre Dame. Here his research interests shifted toward organic and isotope geochemistry, looking at molecular fossils in lake sediments as proxies for ancient climates and environments. He commenced his fully-funded PhD at the Western Australian Organic & Isotope Geochemistry Centre (WA-OIGC) at Curtin University in mid-2017, where he is currently researching microbiology and geochemistry of petroleum and alumina resources for development of more sustainable extraction practices. Darren has also been an active tutor, lab demonstrator, and science communicator since his undergraduate days, with experience in teaching and curriculum development for students from pre-school to tertiary levels.

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