The new rockstars are these intelligent people who make great things happen.
Ah, research. It’s one of the things we absolutely hated to do in school, whether it was for a simple essay or a full length paper. While scanning through Google tabs or reading every book in the library, we’d often think to ourselves, why couldn’t we just have been born with the knowledge of everything? Research is important, however, as the foundation for innovation, and great research projects (the ones that usually end up getting that A+) can even lead to breakthrough businesses.
Now on its 29th year, the BPI-DOST Science Awards recognizes students with excellent research projects from different colleges. This year’s theme was “Forming A Sustainable Country Through Science and Innovation” so all the projects were centered on how to fix national problems. With the contest, the BPI Foundation and the Department of Science and Technology aims to encourage students to turn their theses into reality.
Talks were given by entrepreneurs, all in their 20s, to inspire the students — Shawntel Nieto of BMB Solutions, Gia Santos of HeartSmart, and Aaron David of e-Magsasaka shared their experiences. When asked what advice they had to give to those who wanted to pursue their own start-ups, they said to Just Do It.
Seeing all these beautiful brains gathered in one place was intimidating, to say the least. These 25 students all won P10,000 each while the Top 10 won an additional P15,000. Nicole Alberto and Peter Onglao from UP Diliman, a Molecular Biology and Biotechnology major and a Chemical Engineering major respectively, both won one of the top prizes: the Best in Innovation Award, bagging P25,000 each. The Project of the Year award and another P25,000 was given to Nicole Alberto (that’s P75,000 for her, if you’re keeping track).
After the program, Nicole Alberto gave us an overview of her research , which was developing a kit that can diagnose shrimp diseases. Peter Onglao also talked about his winning research project that studied the effectiveness of chitosan-coated nanostructures to absorb carbon dioxide.
With the lack of researchers in the Philippines (200 for every million), we wondered why these two decided to pursue a career in S.T.E.M.
“I come from the Philippine Science High School so actually going to Pisay made me love science,” says Nicole. “I learned that research isn’t just trying to further the bounds of knowledge but it’s also about thinking of who you can apply your work to.”
When asked how they could encourage young people to get into the sciences, Peter says that they should start as early as possible. “They can join those math and science contests. The number of these contests is already increasing as well as their scopes. Before, they were just quiz bees, but now they have conventions and research competitions. They can start as early as possible to get into science and research. By joining these competitions, they can know more about the fields they could get into.”
The BPI-DOST Science Awards prove that the youth are taking concrete steps to help the country through their research. Who knows? Maybe in the future, you’ll see these students’ creations saving the entire world.