Intel Philippines Science Fair (IPSF)
Still discovering scientifically-driven young minds
Discovering how a fish scale could be a shield against gamma radiation or how mathematics can define culture through its woven products is a feat used to be reserved for true scientists and mathematicians. Now, even high school students could be credited for discoveries and scientific breakthroughs.
For most, science and math are just mumbo jumbos of numbers and scientific terms one couldn’t even discern. For students aspiring to be microbiologists, scientists, engineers or mathematicians someday, this is where their dream start, and doing researches like these is like a treat to their scientifically-driven minds.
This is what Intel Philippines and the Department of Education (DepEd) are after. Young minds at work and showing off their work to the world through the annual Intel Philippines Science Fair (IPSF), now on its 10th year.
With the theme "Power @ 10" the fair celebrates the significant milestones of the IPSF during the past decade. This year’s fair also reflects the effective collaboration between Intel and DepEd with private sectors for the common cause of uplifting the quality of science education and research in the high school level.
"The spirit of the science fair is really recognizing good work," says Intel Philippines Education Manager Yvonne Garcia-Flores.
In addition, according to Flores it was their intention from the beginning for the science fair to propagate research activities. Since they started 10 years ago, it has grown spontaneously to a full-blown extra-curricular affair for high school students.
This year, the national finals of the IPSF was held at the Tagaytay National Convention Center in Tagaytay city. Before they enter the national finals the students have to undergo a rigorous and competitive process. First, the school chooses their entry to the division level, then regional level and to national level. And the next step, which all the students are aiming for, is the chance to represent the country in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).
Every year, the fair experiences at least a 20 percent increase in the entries but aside from the number of entries, improvements in the researches were also noted by the judges. This is a clear indication that students and the schools alike are more enthusiastic in joining the fair.
"Yearly the judges see good projects come out, they see a variety of topics that they’re getting into but I think there’s a lot to be done," Flores says.
EMERGING YOUNG SCIENTISTS
Every year, the fair produces winners that did not only impress local judges but the international judges as well. The Philippines delegates have been consistent in bringing home awards and honor to the country. Will the next batch continue this tradition?
IPSF 2007 has chosen the new batch of young scientists that will represent the country in the international fair. Again, young Filipino students will present their new ideas and discoveries to the world will hopefully be recognized and chosen as the best among others.
The new batch of winners is no different from the previous ones, in terms of their enthusiasm to win in the Intel ISEF and make the country proud; they are putting their young minds on top of the heap.
One of the winners of the Life Sciences category, individual division, Luiji John Karlo Suarez of Doña Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School is a proud and happy student because of the rare opportunity he just received. As an aspiring microbiologist, he gets all the inspiration he needs from his ambition.
"I always wanted to become a microbiologist because of my enthusiasm and deep appreciation of minute yet beautiful things," he says.
His winning project: "Marine Bioluminescent Bacteria Isolates of the Vibrio spp. As a Narrow Spectrum Antibacterial Agent Against Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. orzyicola" A project that could eventually protect rice from its major bacterial diseases.
Another individual division winner, Hester Mana Umayam of Philippine Science High School, Cagayan Valley campus, obtained one of the spots in the Physical/Applied Science category of the competition. This young mathematician impressed the judges with her "Ethnomathematics Application on the Different Derived Patterns from Chosen Kalinga Woven Fabrics" project.
"I want to come up with a study involving mathematics in an engaging way. I also wanted to have a better understanding on the culture of Kalinga," she explains.
This young math-wiz, she wants to have a deeper and better understanding of the culture of Kalinga, especially the socio-economic status of its people through the patterns of the woven fabrics.
"I feel so high that my research is so interesting to other people and it is one of the best," she adds.
As a consistent finalist and winner, Philippine Science High School once again proved to be one of the best in the country. Winning the team division in the Physical/Applied Science category, Ivy Razel Ventura, Mara Elaine Villaverde and Janine Cyndy Santiago are additions to the school’s long roster of winners.
According to them, their new discovery will put the Philippines in the map in the biochemical and medical research fields. Their "Screening, Isolation and Characterization of Fluorescent Proteins from Nudibranchs" project would eventually provide local researchers accessibility and affordable fluorescent proteins for research projects.
The other winners include Anthony Mark Jay Rivas of Bayugan National Comprehensive High School for his project entitled: "Novel Shield Against Gamma Radiation from Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) Scales: The Next Generation Radiation" for the Physical/Applied Science, individual division,; Melvin Carlo Barroa of Capiz National High School for his project: "Fish Mucus: Its Potential Antimicorbal Effect on Human Pathogens and Possible Role in Innate Immunity" for the Life Sciences, Individual division; and Jane Suede, Charlotte Joyce Gamelong and Virna Joy Cabanero of Doña Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School for their project: "Attraction and Paratization Response of the Parasitoid, Trichogramma japonicum Ashmead to Oregano, Origanum vulgare extract" for the Life Sciences, team division.
The winning students will vie for honor at the Intel ISEF which will be held in Albuquerque in New Mexico, USA this May 13 to 19.
"We’ll do this as long as we can, from where we are now. I don’t see an end to the tunnel because we see the fundamental benefits of encouraging science research, and as long as Intel Corp, want to do this, we’ll still do this in the Philippines, it’s a commitment to education," Intel Philippines Corporate Affairs Manager Arlita Narag says.