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National Scientists and Academicians inspire CDO high schoolers at the DOST-NAST ScienTeach Symposium. 

About 150 CDO Grade 11 and Grade 12 highschoolers had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of interacting with National Scientist Lourdes J. Cruz and several academicians from the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST PHL) during the SCIENTEACH: Symposium for the Youth on May 07, 2024 at Mallberry Suites Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City with the support of the Department of Education Region 10 and hosted by the Department of Science and Technology Region 10.

SCIENTEACH is a forum where our country’s National Scientists, Academicians, and NAST awardees share their experiences with the youth. This activity is done in selected places all over the country.

The symposium aims explicitly to promote science and technology, bring our local scientists closer to the youth, and inspire young learners to pursue a career in science.

Present during the symposium as speakers were National Scientist Lourdes J. Cruz, Academician Jose Maria P. Balmaceda, Academician Gil S. Jacinto, Academician Aura C. Matias, Academician Maribel G. Nonato, and Academician Elmer P. Dadios. 

In his opening message, the President of NAST PHL and chair of the Health Sciences Division, Academician Jaime C. Montoya, said, “I sincerely wish that this symposium will be a great avenue to share knowledge, experience, and for you to feel the excitement in pursuing science.”   

The lucky high schoolers were from eleven high schools in the city, namely Gusa Regional Science High School – X Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School. Bugo National High School, Cagayan de Oro National High School, Agusan National High School, Bulua National High School, Mambuaya National High School, Carmen National High School, Lumbia National High School, Pedro “Oloy” N. Roa National High School, and Kauswagan National High School. 

Dr. Federico P. Martin, Assistant Regional Director of Department of Education 10 (DepEd 10), representing Regional Director Dr. Arturo B. Bayocot, CESO III, said in his message, “This is good, what DOST has done for our learners. It would certainly be memorable for these learners as an encouragement to become scientists. What we need today are workers in the field of science.”  

During the symposium’s morning session, DOST – 10 Regional Director Engr. Romela N. Ratilla shared with the students the DOST programs for students that they can avail of while pursuing their careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Among them are the scholarship opportunities, including DOST undergraduate scholarships, the RA 7687, and Merit Scholarships that they can apply for and take the qualifying exam in their 12th grade of Senior High School. They can also apply for the Junior Level Science Scholarship (JLSS) in their 2nd-year college, provided they are regular incoming 3rd year. 

Currently, Northern Mindanao has a total of 1,452 ongoing undergraduate scholars who are studying in various universities and colleges in the region.  

National Scientist Dr Lourdes J. Cruz’s message is that chemistry is fun.  She shared her experiences in studying conotoxins from the venom of Conus marine snails that can act as biological probes in analyzing the activities of our brains. 

Academician Jose Maria P. Balmaceda talked about the applications of  theoretical mathematics in his exciting talk “Curious Curves: The Joys of Math.” Students were educated and entertained by his catchy phrases, such as “Okay lang na hindi straight,” while he shared his joy in studying the curves we can find in nature and their applications. 

Academician Gil Jacinto shared how he became an oceanographer while completing a degree in chemistry.  He encouraged the students to take up marine science and become oceanographers, as there are only five of them in the Philippines, and our country is archipelagic, with 70% water.  Researchers can do many things in  ocean research, marine diversity, and climate change. 

Students who plan to pursue an engineering degree were also inspired by Academician Aura C. Matias when she shared her profession as an Industrial Engineer. She highlighted that an Industrial Engineer is vital and works constantly behind every industry. 

Academician Maribel G. Nonato, like NS Cruz and Acad. Jacinto shared her work in chemistry with the students, particularly in natural products. She shared with the high schoolers her research on the Phytochemistry and Biological Activities of Philippine-grown species of the Genus Pandanus and its metabolites as potential for medicinal applications. 

Lastly, Academician Elmer P. Dadios, a pioneer in robotics, actively shared with the listeners his works on Robotics at De La Salle University and how amusing it is to study Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. He highlighted that most of their work is a product of having fun developing robots.

“During the event, I was mesmerized, amazed, and inspired by the National Scientist Lourdes J. Cruz when I asked her, ‘What is the first step of becoming a National Scientist?’ She told me, ‘You should not fear trying,’” said Sam David Anthony C. Casino, a Grade 11 Lumbia National High School student. 

Students actively participated and enjoyed the activity.  The students asked intelligent questions even during lunch time, took pictures with the scientists, and requested autographs.

SCIENTEACH is an activity organized by NAST PHL  to inspire and encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). NAST is an attached agency of DOST that has an advisory function to the President of the Philippines. National Scientists and Academicians all over the country are organized into  six divisions.  NAST’s current Executive Director is Dr Luningning Samarita-Domingo, and the NAST PHL President is Academician Jaime C. Montoya.

In his closing message, Academician Jose Maria P. Balmaceda informed the students that more SCIENTEACH events will happen in the future. (Joshua Robin/DOST 10) 

#ScienceForThePeople

#OneDOST4U

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