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Pinoys shine in world’s biggest science fair
« on: June 05, 2007, 01:18:50 PM »
By Natassia Laforteza
Manila Standard Today

Filipinos are not only known for our athletic prowess, but also for our academic achievements all over the world. In the recently concluded Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which ran from May 14 to 19, 2007 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Philippine delegation brought home two Fourth Grand Awards, one Team Projects Fourth Grand Award and a special award.

Bringing honor to the Philippines in the world’s biggest science fair were Melvyn Carl Barroa, 16, of Capiz National High School, Roxas City, who won Fourth Award in Microbiology for his project, Fish Mucus: Its Potential Anti-microbial Effects on Human Pathogens and Possible Role in Innate Immunity, a study that explored his findings of a potential antibiotic produced from a natural defense mechanism of a fish.

Hester Naba Umayam, 15 of Philippine Science High School-Cagayan Valley, garnered Fourth Award in Behavioral and Social Sciences for her research, Ethnomathematics in the Geometric Patterns in Wovern Fabrics of the Indegenous Kalingas of the Philippines. Ethnomathematics is a new branch of mathematics that deals with the cultural aspects of ethnic groups and Umayam’s study gave her a better understanding of the patterns of Kalinga-woven fabrics and its socio-cultural implications in general .

The team of Ivy Razel Ventura, Janine Cindy Santiago, and Mara Elain Villaverde, all 16 years old, of Philippine Science High School-Main Campus, won the Fourth Award in Team Projects for their study, Screening Isolation, and the Characterization of Fluorescent Proteins from Nudibranchs, where they explored the potential of Nudibranchs or sea slugs as useful in tumor research.

Luiji John Karlo Suarez, 17, of Dona Hortencia Salas Benedicto National High School, La Carlota City, won a $1,000-scholarship award from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovator Alliance for his research, The Potential of Marine Bioluminiscent Bacteria as Anti-bacterial Agents Against Two Major Rice Diseases Caused by Xanthomonas Oryzae pv. Oryzae and Xantohomonas Oryzae pv. Oryzicola. Suarez introduced a new way of controlling bacteria infection in plants to help farmers in the production of infection-free rice.

All of the winners agreed that they felt happy and honored to bring recognition to the Philippines in the field of science and research. They all hoped that in their winning, they would be able to garner moral and financial support for their and other young scientists’ projects and researchs. Suarez mentioned that lack of financial resources is the biggest hurdle to any scientific research or project.

Before participating in the Intel fair, the six winners bested around 7,000 Filipino high school students who have shown noteworthy potential in science, especially in the field of investigative endeavors, in the Intel Philippine Science Fair. Students join this fair to showcase their knowledge and skill in the field of science and research, and to vie for one of the limited slots in a team that will represent the Philippines in the Intel fair, the world’s largest pre-college science competition, which brings together 1,400 young scientists from 45 countries to compete for over $4 million in awards and scholarships.

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