The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) honored 12 aspiring scientists who will represent the Philippines in in the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

Finalists of DepEd’s 2019 National Science and Technology Fair, the students were sent off last Friday, May 10 to the annual event. The Intel ISEF will be happening from May 12 to 17 in Phoenix, Arizona in the United States. It is the world’s largest pre-college science competition that gathers top young scientific minds from across the globe to showcase their researches on the international stage. The delegation is sponsored by the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), the family foundation of the leaders and founders of JG Summit Holdings, Inc.

In recognition of their excellence, GBF vested the students with the first Gokongwei Brothers Young Scientist Award. The foundation also announced that they will be granting scholarships to the winners to help them pursue a degree in Science, Technology, Mathematics, or Engineering at their dream universities in the future.

“It is our privilege to be a part of the journey of these amazing researchers. Learning about their story and their aspirations, it is inspiring to know that their youth is not a stumbling block, but actually an enabler to really do what they want to do for their communities. They are a testament to the Filipino youth’s exceptional ingenuity and potential in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM),” said Grace Colet, Gokongwei Brothers Foundation executive director.

Meet the awardees
Among the best six projects heading to Intel ISEF 2019 are two Life Science researches, which explored the use of natural ingredients that could treat human and plant diseases. Taguig Science High School’s John Eric Aggarao, Kathleen Chloie Antonio, and Anna Beatriz Suavengco studied the possible organic solution to brown eye spot disease attacking Kapeng Barako plants. Meanwhile, Maria Isabel Layson of Iloilo National High School presented the antidiabetic properties of aratiles and how it can help produce dietary supplements.

In the Physical Science category, Quezon National High School’s Nathaniel Reyes demonstrated how cornstalk biochar composite can treat algae infestation in lakes and fish ponds. The team of Neil David Cayanan, Shaira Gozun, and E’van Relle Tongol of Angeles City Science High School was also a game-changer with their proposed eco-friendly alternative to acoustic panels.

The Robotics and Intelligent Machines category also saw student-researchers rise to the challenge of developing technology that are beneficial to the communities. Pangasinan National High School’s Maryjoise Karla Buan invented a device that can detect illegal logging activities in forest areas. On the team division, Alpha Acain, Lester Sabadao, and Lia Denise Tan of Cagayan National High School designed a prototype that can assist farmers in drying and storing their rice harvests.

“Just like their passion to develop innovations that could really impact their communities, GBF is committed to support this next generation of talented Filipino scientists to help build their country and make a mark for the Philippines,” said Colet.

With advancing STEM as its core thrust, GBF is guided by its mission of building the future through education. For the past 25 years, GBF has built quality learning facilities, granted scholarships to deserving youth, supported academic institutions through endowments and donations, and created synergies geared toward promoting STEM and uplifting the Filipino.

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