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“Stay and serve.” 

It is the simplest yet most striking message that successful scholar-graduates of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) instilled among 100 ongoing scholars in a day dedicated to honor them 

In what seemed to be “a passing of the torch” activity, former science scholars who made names in their respective fields offered testimonials on their path to success in a gathering of scholars labeled “S&T Scholars, you can make it right here!” held on 17 September 2012 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. 

The activity, which was done as part of SEI’s 25th Anniversary celebration, aimed to inspire current scholars through testimonies from the scholar-graduates about their college life, coping mechanisms in studies, and their success in S&T while working in and for the country. 

Among the thriving SEI scholars who shared their experiences are Dr. Delfin Jay M. Sabido IX, Research and Development Executive at IBM, Philippines, Inc.; Engr. Jason Reggie Obos, Systems Manager at Procter and Gamble Distribution, Philippines, Inc.; Dr. Mark Pierre S. Dimamay, Scientist at St. Luke’s College of Medicine; Dr. Roland V. Sarmago, Director for Research and Extension at UP Diliman’s College of Science, and Dr. Ester B. Ogena, President of the Philippine Normal University. They talked about their careers in the fields of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Communications Engineering, Research, Basic Sciences, and Science and Mathematics Education, respectively. 

Dr. Sabido IX, who spoke first, emphasized why “S&T scholarship matters” and reported projections by international private organizations saying that the Philippines is “remarkably on the way up” thereby encouraging scholars to “make it work, here.” Engr. Obos, the youngest of the speakers, offered five keys to success circling on taking pride and responsibility as scholars of the Filipino people. 

Dr. Dimamay, meanwhile, gave bullets on how to cope with stress and finding inspiration to pursue excellence in S&T just like he did on his way to being a scientist in molecular medicine. Dr. Sarmago, on the other hand, preached the scholars to have that urge “in making things happen” referring to the natural and righteous expectation among DOST-SEI Scholars to excel in their fields. Lastly, former SEI Director Dr. Ogena reminded the students to serve in the country as the S&T environment is “clearly, on its way up”. 

Undersecretary Fortunato T. de la Peña stated that the event was a proof of DOST’s great belief in the scholars’ capacity in revolutionizing science as a solution to many national issues. 

“For the past 25 years, it has been our commitment to strengthen our S&T workforce as a response to the country’s and the world’s call for scientific solutions to emerging issues such as climate change, disaster, food security, and health, among others,” said de la Peña. “[O]ur scholar-graduates prove worthy of the support they received and most especially, the belief they gained from all of us as scholars of the people.” 

De la Peña, however, noted the increasing trend of scholar-graduates—and S&T professionals, in general—who use their training for other nations’ goals. 

“Fact remains that many of our gifted scholar-graduates see themselves better suited to practice their professions elsewhere. Though not entirely by choice, we admittedly feel somewhat saddened by this trend, considering the hope we have in their capabilities in helping build this nation,” remarked De la Peña, who later reiterated the critical need for current scholars to embrace nationalism. 

Meanwhile, SEI Director Dr. Filma Brawner expressed hope that the tribute would give the scholars something to reflect on as they move on with their academic journeys. 

“We hope that through this activity, we are able to instill [nationalism] among you,” Brawner said. “Our belief is that you are in your positions for a very important reason, and we are optimistic that you will find that out sooner rather than later.” 

Brawner said she looks forward to seeing the scholars join the S&T workforce soon and follow the foot steps of the speakers. 

“I challenge you to make that right choice. I believe, you will make that right choice,” Brawner disclosed. (30)