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Here are Filipinas breaking barriers in STEM – and you can be one of them! | Philstar.com
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Here are Filipinas breaking barriers in STEM – and you can be one of them!

May Dedicatoria - Philstar.com
Here are Filipinas breaking barriers in STEM â and you can be one of them!
In many scientific and societal challenges, such as healthcare, environment and sustainable development, women can provide diverse perspectives.
Composite photo by Rico Alonzo / Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — When little girls are asked about what they want to be when they grow up, many of them proudly say they want to be a nurse, doctor, veterinarian and, more recently, engineer and IT programmer.

At present, women continue to be underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)—despite the Philippines being one of the most gender-friendly countries in Asia, with many women holding leadership positions even in the government.

According to Evident, only two out of seven engineering students in the Philippines are female. Moreover, the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Gender Gap Report, created in collaboration with LinkedIn, indicates that the retention of women in STEM work continues to drop significantly.

The sadder news is that women make up only 29.2% of all STEM workforce.

In many scientific and societal challenges, such as healthcare, environment and sustainable development, women can provide diverse perspectives. More than having a balanced representation with males, empowering women in STEM further enhances the country’s global competitiveness and economic growth.

As we aspire to see more Filipino women in STEM over the next decade or two, here are some snippets about inspiring Filipinas who are breaking barriers in STEM. They are among the visible role models Generation Alpha can look up to, as they envision themselves in similar future roles.

Mari Anjeli Crisanto

Motherhood may have postponed Mari Anjeli Crisanto’s doctoral studies, but it has also been her inspiration to continue solving computer science problems, knowing that technology and innovation play a big role in advancing education. This was also why she pursued STEM, finishing her undergraduate in Computer Science (magna cum laude) from University of the Philippines Los Baños in only 3.5 years, instead of the usual four. Crisanto obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (with merit) from the University of Liverpool and holds the title of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies at the UP Open University.

Kristel Gayle Abriol

The recipient of Zonta International District 17 Women in STEM Scholarship Award, Kristel Gayle Abriol is soon graduating from Ateneo de Manila University with her bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics, major in Mathematical Finance.

“Beyond all the technical and mathematical knowledge that my STEM education has taught me, it instilled in me grit and resilience to ‘still try’ to excel despite hurdles,” shares the young scholar.

She is passionate about profitable trading strategies in the Philippine Stock Market, and she aims to pursue a master’s degree then become an actuary, financial analyst or data scientist in the future.

Maria Therese Sandra Cacas

From drawing and designing houses as a child, engineer Maria Therese Sandra Cacas is now the head of the Infrastructure Group (Campus Development and Maintenance Office) at the University of the Philippines Open University, where she plays a vital role in monitoring infrastructure projects and the university’s facilities. Her dad is also a civil engineer, but she wished to be an architect like her mom when she was young. In a twist of events, she graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering at UP Los Baños in 2011.

Dr. Doralyn Dalisay

“My experience in STEM goes beyond just a job. It's a heartfelt commitment to creating a positive impact on people's lives, especially my fellow Filipinos for better health outcomes,” shared Dr. Doralyn Dalisay, an award-winning natural products chemist, pharmacist and microbiologist. She has three US patents for molecules having antibacterial and anticancer properties, and cited 3,670 times for her research articles. At present, she leads University of San Agustin – Iloilo's Center for Chemical Biology and Biotechnology, and continues her research program on natural drug discovery and development and biotechnology, being funded by various agencies such as the USAID-STRIDE Program.

Dr. Merdelyn Caasi-Lit

Even before college, she has been very fascinated in life processes. With her high grades in science, she eventually chose to study entomology. Like the beautiful birdwing butterly, Troides rhadamantus, Caasi-Lit spread her wings and became a renowned entomologist and plant scientist whose contributions to agricultural science have been invaluable. She has received more than 20 awards, the most recent of which is the prestigious Eduardo A. Quisumbing Medal – NSTW Outstanding R&D Award for Basic Research in 2023.

Dr. Vachel Gay Paller

A dedicated educator and scientist, Dr. Vachel Gay Paller is one of the most prolific researchers and faculty members of UP Los Baños’ Institure of Biological Sciences, having published around 70 publications. A significant part of her publications and scientific conference presentations is mentoring researchers and students, thus she shares many of her scholarly outputs as co-authors of her mentees—a selfless act to future-proof her university. Her studies aim to provide science-based support to zoonotic disease risk mitigation, food safety, climate change adaptation, and sustainable development planning in rural communities.

Dr. Rosario Ruby Roan-Cristobal

Scientific research should not be kept in peer-reviewed journals and should be made accessible and understandable by the public, and this is where science communication experts, such as Dr. Rosario Ruby Roan-Cristobal, come in. The executive producer and program anchor of Radyo Henyo started with an undergraduate in Biology in UP Diliman and pursued her post-graduate degrees in communication. She was also an Australia Award Fellow in STEM Education at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane in 2014.

From scholars to scientists, engineers and educators, these women have made their mark in various STEM disciplines, inspiring the young generation and contributing to the body of knowledge and innovation.

–With DOST National Research Council of the Philippines and Science & Technology Information Institute

 


Editor’s Note: This #BrandSpace story is produced by the Advertising Content Team that is independent from our Editorial Newsroom.


 

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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

INTERNATIONAL WOMENS MONTH

WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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