After proving their mettle at the 2019 National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF), 12 student researchers will have the honor of representing the country at the 2019 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. These NSTF winners—John Eric Aggarao, Kathleen Chloie Antonio, Anna Beatriz Suavengco, Maria Isabel Layson, Neil David Cayanan, Shaira Gozun, E'van Relle Tongol, Maryjoise Karla Buan, Alpha Acain, Lester Sabadao, Lia Denise Tan, and Nathaniel Reyes—were also the first recipients of the Young Scientist Award bestowed by the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF).
During the send-off event at the Banahaw Ballroom of the Legend Villas in Mandaluyong, GBF General Manager Lisa Y. Gokongwei Cheng spoke about the rationale behind Young Scientist Award: “The Gokongwei Brothers Foundation believes in building the future through education. Our core thrust is to advance science technology engineering and mathematics education.”
Front row, from left: Shaira Gozun, Lia Denise Tan, Alpha Acain, Maria Isabel Layson, Kathleen Chloie Antonio, Maryjoise Karla Buan, and Anna Beatriz Suavengco. Back row, from left: Neil David Cayanan, E'van Relle Tongol, Lester Sabadao, John Eric Aggarao, and Nathaniel Reyes.
“This year, we are privileged to have a set of passionate young researchers who accomplished studies and developed products in the spirit of uplifting communities around them,” she also said. “Seeing the excellence, drive and passion they exhibited in the conduct of the researches, we are proud to bestow the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation Young Scientist Award to these pioneer recipients.”
Aside from GBF officials, the event was also attended by Assistant Secretary Alma Ruby C. Torio from Department of Education, Director Jocelyn DR Andaya from the DepEd’s Bureau of Curriculum Development, Director Josette Biyo of the Department of Science and Technology–Science Education Institute.
GBF shouldered the expenses of the Philippine delegation to the 2019 ISEF as part of its partnership with DepEd for this year’s NSTF.
“ISEF has been gathering young but great scientific minds for years. We were inspired after learning that the previous Philippine teams have brought home recognition, despite being among the smallest delegations. We see that exposing our gifted young scientists to this competition can boost their confidence and understanding about global standards of scientific research,” said Gokongwei-Cheng.
“Beyond helping them set foot in ISEF, our bigger aspiration is to inspire other youth, amid hurdles, to pursue their dreams in S.T.E.M. as a way of helping themselves, their community, and the country,” said GBF’s GM.
Lia Denise Tan, E'van Relle Tongol, Maryjoise Karla Buan, Director Jocelyn DR Andaya from the DepEd’s Bureau of Curriculum Development, Gokongwei Brothers Foundation General Manager Lisa Gokongwei Cheng, Maria Isabel Layson, Nathaniel Reyes, and Kathleen Chloie Antonio answering questions from the media.
Assistant Secretary Alma Ruby C. Torio from Department of Education also had a message for the Philippine delegation. “Let me congratulate you for coming up with projects which will solve the challenges for the future, as well as projects which will improve the lives of others,” said Torio. She added that in one of her speeches to a graduating senior high school class, she told them about the inspiring life and works of JG Summit Holdings founder and chairman emeritus John Gokongwei Jr. Using the same words, she told the ISEF delegation: “Love your work and please don’t stop learning,” and concluded her message by saying, “Be worthy of being the young ambassadors and ambassadresses of DepEd and of our beloved country, the Philippines.”
GBF Executive Director Grace Colet then introduced the pioneer recipients of the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation Young Scientist Award, playing a short video to explain more about each project and the individual or team student researchers, now the Philippines’ official entries to the Intel ISEF. The first team introduced was Alpha Acain, Lester Sabadao, and Lia Denise Tan from Cagayan National High School, whose project aims to help farmers minimize risks and increase their rate of production with an automated temperature and monitoring system for drying and storing Philippine rice varieties. Next was Maria Isabel Layson of Iloilo National High School, who studied the antioxidant activity and antidiabetic properties of aratiles and its possible benefits to people with diabetes. This was followed by Taguig Science High School’s John Eric Aggarao, Kathleen Chloie Antonio, and Anna Beatriz Suavengco, whose project isolated bacteria from Kapeng Barako leaves and used these as a biocontrol agent to manage the coffee crop destroying disease.
The next individual awardee, Nathaniel Reyes of Quezon National High School, offered a solution to harmful algal blooms infesting aquaculture ponds in Quezon Province, by using charcoal made out of cornstalk, an abundant waste material in his community. Next to be conferred with the Young Scientist Award were Neil David Cayanan, Shaira Gozun, and E’van Relle Tongol of Angeles City Science High School, who used natural fibers abaca, bamboo, and water hyacinth to produce eco-friendly sound absorption materials. Last, but not the least, Maryjoise Karla Buan from Pangasinan National High School received her award for her inspiring project, an alerting device that can detect possible signs of illegal logging and kaingin (slash-and-burn farming), destructive environmental practices that continue to plague our country.
The final part of the program provided the biggest surprise of the day. Apart from the all-expenses paid trip to the United States, GBF Executive Director Colet had more good news for the Philippine delegation. “The Gokongwei Brothers Foundation shall award each of you a college S.T.E.M. scholarship,” which drew a combination of cheers and tears from the students, their parents, and their teachers.
Congratulations to the GBF Young Scientist awardees! Do us proud.
For more information on the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, please visit www.jgsummit.com.ph/gokongwei-brothers-foundation. You may also call (02) 451-8888 loc. 1118 or email Katherine.Manalo@gbf.com.ph