BPI-DOST 2014 Science Awardees, namely, Alexander John Cruz from University of the Philippines Diliman, grand winner (middle); Jessa mari Makabenta from University of the Philippine Los Baños, 1st runner up (second from left); and Kevin Colina from University of San Carlos in Cebu City, second runner up (fourth from left) are flanked by DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services Prof. Fortunato de la Peña (leftmost) and BPI Foundation, Inc. President Cezar Consing (rightmost). The BPI-DOST grand prize winner and runners up received cash prizes of P50,000; P30,000; and P10,000, respectively plus plaque, and a graduate scholarship for the grand winner. The BPI-DOST Science Awards, now on its 25th year, is a joint undertaking of the BPI Foundation, Inc. and the DOST through the Science Education Institute. (Photo by Maria Judith L. Sablan, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII)
Three college students from all over the country received the prestigious BPI-DOST Science Awards last March 6, 2014 at the Mind Museum, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
Alexander John Cruz, a BS Chemical Engineering student from University of the Philippines Diliman, bagged the grand prize for his project “Design and Field Testing of a Plasma-Enhanced Optical Fiber Reactor for Hydrogen Production via Visible Light-Driven Photocatalytic Water-Splitting.” His study demonstrated the production of hydrogen as water passes through a reactor that uses light as separator. The technology has potential use for power generation or as source of renewable energy, something highly useful as the country struggles with limited power supply. As grand winner, Cruz received P50,000 cash prize from BPI Foundation and a graduate scholarship grant from DOST’s Science Education Institute.
Meanwhile, Jessa Marie Makabenta, a BS Chemistry student from the University of the Philippines Los Baños, was awarded a cash prize of P30,000 as first runner-up for her project entitled “Sodium Caseinate Encapsulation of Coconut-Oil Extracted Astaxanthin from Shrimp Wastes for Enhanced Stability, Bioavailability and Bioactivity and Controlled Release.” Her study looked into improvement of the properties of astaxanthin, a chemical derived from shrimp wastes, which offers benefits in nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, and aquaculture industries.
Second runner-up was Kevin Colina, a BS Computer Science student from University of San Carlos in Cebu City, for his project entitled “Electronic-Storybook Creator with Cebuano Natural Language Processing-Based Animation for Kindergarten Educators.” The storybook, developed as a response to the newly instituted K+12 Basic Education Program, was designed to help educators in using the mother tongue to motivate students to learn while enjoying. Colina received a cash prize of P10,000.
Some 29 students from ten universities made it to the short list and received a cash prize of P25,000 each. Out of the 29, seven finalists were selected, and, finally, three winners bagged the plum after presenting their science projects before a panel of judges during the morning of the awarding.
In his message, DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services Prof. Fortunato de la Peña emphasized the need to continue beefing the S&T manpower of the Philippines. He congratulated the winners and finalists and encouraged them to continue their interest in science and technology to help the country.
“By recognizing our young researchers’ innovative works, we hope to encourage many others to follow their path and pursue research,” he said.
He likewise thanked BPI Foundation for its support and partnership in building the S&T manpower of the country for the past 25 years.
The BPI-DOST Science Awards was also graced by Roselle Ambubuyog, the first Filipino blind student who graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Mathematics from Ateneo de Manila University and also a past BPI-DOST Science Award winner. Ambubuyog’s speech, which detailed her various struggles and triumphs in pursuing a degree, further motivated the awardees and guests alike.
“Given the right tool, nobody is handicapped,” Ambubuyog said.
The BPI-DOST Science Awards, which is in its 25th year, aims to encourage students as budding scientists and researchers to explore higher levels in fields of mathematics, physics, engineering, chemistry, biology, and computer science.
Building the S&T manpower of the country is one of goals of DOST to help the country’s economy. This is achieved through implementation of programs such as scholarships and other science projects in partnership with other private companies such as the BPI Foundation, Inc.