‘Future leaders’: Science students from UP, SG in exchange program | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Toki-exclusive Curious Invaders —Photos by Pam Pastor
Toki-exclusive Curious Invaders —Photos by Pam Pastor.
Toki-exclusive Curious Invaders —Photos by Pam Pastor.

Students of the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS) and the Republic Polytechnic in Singapore (RP) immersed themselves in the monthlong Temasek Foundation International Specialists’ Community Action and Leadership Exchange (TFI Scale) Program, the first half of which took place in Singapore on Sept. 6 to Sept. 19, 2023, and the second half in the Philippines last March 31 to April 8.

The TFI Scale Program aims to promote cultural, cognitive, social and emotional engagements among Southeast Asian youth. In the ninth iteration of the program, students from the National Institute of Geological Sciences (UPD-CS NIGS), the Institute of Biology and the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology collaborated with students from RP’s School of Applied Sciences.

As part of the program in the Philippines, the exchange students visited Mt. Pinatubo, the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) and the Parañaque Science High School (ParSci) to explore the country’s climate, biodiversity, research and sustainability issues.

Participants perform a clean-up drive at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park. | Photo: Lillian Rodriguez
Participants perform a clean-up drive at the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park. | Photo: Lillian Rodriguez

The participants were divided into three groups: the microplastics group which examined the presence of microplastics in Manila Bay, the coliform group which investigated human and animal waste in the bay and the mangrove cleanup trash segregation group which surveyed various types of trash found in the protected mangrove area of LPPWP.

They also conducted a Youth Community Engagement Program for Grade 7 students of ParSci. The outreach program included activities meant to raise awareness about climate change, biodiversity and sustainability among ParSci students, especially since the school is located right beside one of the major tributaries of Manila Bay.

Lifelong ties

In her closing remarks, program coordinator Dr. Lillian Jennifer Rodriguez underscored the program’s importance in teaching the youth about sustainability, building lifelong ties and producing future leaders. “You are our future leaders,” she said, reminding them of their responsibility to apply the knowledge they have gained from the program.

On April 4, UPD chancellor Edgardo Carlo Vistan II signed a memorandum of understanding in the presence of RP officials, solidifying future partnerships between the two institutions. The memorandum stated that both parties will collaborate on the “exchange of students, including student internship; joint lectures, research activities, symposia and projects; exchange of academic materials, publications and information; and exchange of academic staff.”

“This program fostered a rich exchange of experiences,” said Raymond Gallego, one of the program’s participants and a student of UPD-CS NIGS. “The formalization of this partnership between UP Diliman and Republic Polytechnic definitely paves the way for more students to forge friendships, expand their knowledge and strengthen relations between our countries.”

Aside from Gallego, the CS students who completed the program were Francesca Petero, Alena Taladua, Kristina Marie Dela Cruz, Johannah Isabel Sengson, Florence Maryanna Agcaoili, Sabine Alexa Guinto, Martine Gabrielle Rosete, Josef Emil Artiaga, Sean Michael Maghirang, John Daniel Regala, John Nash Guzon and Glenn Vallespin. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

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