DOST-SEI scholar-graduates challenged to become the 21st Century STEM leaders 

“We are given the privilege na maging iskolar ng bayan, but it also comes with the great responsibility and obligation to flourish beyond what is given to us by the scholarship, to give back even beyond sa kung ano yung binigay sa amin. And this includes serving the nation and future generations.”   

This is one of the key takeaways of Carl Jason Guevarra, a DOST scholar and a graduating BS Psychology student from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, as he attended the 2023 NCR-based DOST-SEI Scholars’ Exit Conference – an event made in efforts to keep scholars in the loop of their scholarship obligation. 

Aiming to highlight the commitment of future leaders in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute conducted the Exit Conference on June 21, 2023 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, which brought together around 1,600 DOST scholars from NCR.  

The main rationale of the Exit Conference is to refresh the scholar-graduates of their return service agreement after graduation, challenging them to become the future Filipino STEM leaders – creating a significant and meaningful impact not only in their own communities, but in the whole country.  

Ms. Ma. Nerissa Nicolas of the DOST-SEI Scholarship Division discussed the terms and policies for the various scholarships: RA 7687, Merit, and RA 10196. Meanwhile, Ms. Charilyn Joy Layus, also from the Institute’s Scholarship Division, introduced the various DOST-SEI local and foreign graduate scholarship programs which the scholars can avail should they pursue their post graduate studies in the future. 

The Director of the Institute, Dr. Josette T. Biyo, expressed her heartfelt congratulations to the new batch of DOST-SEI scholar-graduates and encouraged them to take an active role in ensuring the progress of the nation. She hailed the scholars’ success and reminded them of their capacity to uplift the lives of Filipinos.  

Similarly, DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Sodium, in his virtual message, reminded the scholar-graduates of their commitment to serve the nation. He urged them to use their expertise to contribute to nation-building and be of service to the people. 

Introducing the institute’s TRACER (Tracking Actual Career Experience Report) study, Dr. Randolf S. Sasota, DOST-SEI Supervising Science Research Specialist, highlighted the significance of monitoring the career movement of DOST scholars and assessing the impact of the scholarship programs to individual progress and national and/or international development. 

Also gracing the event were 2009 Balik Scientist Dr. Rigoberto Advincula, University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP NISMED) Director Dr. Sheryl Lyn Monterola, and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Senior Labor & Employment Officer Mr. Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes, who all shared their inspiring journeys, invaluable insights, and motivations on how to venture successfully in S&T careers.  

The Exit Conference also became a venue for preparing the students for their job application. Dr. Carmelita Pabiton, a Registered Guidance Counselor provided the scholars with some tips on how to overcome job search anxiety. Meanwhile, Ms. Ruby Chanda Jetomo, Assistant Chief of the Department of Education (DepEd), discussed their hiring arrangements for RA 10612 and RA 7687 scholar-graduates. 

All five encouraged the scholars to use the skills and knowledge they have gained from their academic journey to help contribute to the nation’s development and emphasized their duty to serve the country well. 

The future scholar-graduates were glad to have attended the conference as they have picked up some lessons which would prove beneficial in their journeys. They echoed how the talks have answered their inquiries and enlightened them about the true essence of being an Iskolar ng Bayan para sa Agham. 

Russel Toribio, a BS Civil Engineering student and one of the attending DOST scholars from the University of the Philippines Manila, emphasized how the conference has taught them about their duty to collaborate and unite with the country’s brains of S&T.  

“Yung value ng collaboration, lalo na sa field ng Science and Technology, ay mahalaga nang hindi lamang nakakulong sa isang utak ang lahat ng ideya. Ang nagbibigay ng success at ng progress sa atin ay ang diversity of ideas na nagegenerate ng maraming utak,” Toribio said.