Pinoy students bring home prizes from Intel ISEF 2018 in US

Ten junior and senior high school students from the Philippines won prizes in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2018 held last May 13-19 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Joscel Kent Manzanero, Keith Russel Cadores, and Eugene Rivera of Camarines Sur National High School bagged the Second Award of $1,500 in the “Energy: Physical” category for their design and development of Solar-Tracking Arduino-Rooted PV Panels.

Elaine Nicole Saquin and Randy Molejona Jr. of Iloilo National High School (INHS) won Third Award of $1,000 in the “Earth and Environmental Sciences” category for their research on Biosorption of Manganese Mine Effluents Using Crude Chitin from Shell Wastes of Philippine Bivalves.

Pete Gabriel Ledesma, also an INHS student, took home the Fourth Award of $500 in the “Materials Science” category for his study on Phytoreductive-Hydrothermal Synthesis of Polyethylene Glycol-coated Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery Applications.

Completing the Philippine delegation are: Leann Patrice Ganzon and Anne Nicole Occena of INHS who submitted their study on Garcinia binucao Fruit and Leaf: Phytochemicals-Mediated Antioxidant, Alpha-Amylase and Alpha-Glucosidase Enzyme Inhibitors; Adrian Maglasang of City of Bogo Science and Arts Academy in Cebu who conducted a research on the Propulsion Performance Evaluation of a Lego-Based Carangiform Mechanism for a Prototype Robotic Fish Unmanned Underwater Vehicle; and Roehann Mykael Zabat of Juan R. Liwag Memorial School in Nueva Ecija who analyzed the Reducing Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration and Motor Dysfunction Using Crude Ethanolic Bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) Leaf Extract on a Transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans Model of Parkinson’s Disease.

From 2012 to 2018, the Philippines has already won four Second Awards, which entitles the winning delegates the prestige of having asteroids named after them by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); two Third Awards; and 10 Fourth Awards.

Nineteen-year-old Maglasang pointed to the lack of digital equipment as a huge challenge in his study: “Ito talaga ang pinakamalaking problem ko nung ico-conduct ko yung experiment ko, actually kulang ako sa mga measurement materials na digital, so napilitan akong gumawa ng mga improvised na pang-measure ng data, medyo natatakot ka kasi baka yung data na makolekta mo marami yung errors kasi nga analogue lang yung gamit mo.”

Manzanero, the 19-year-old leader of the INHS trio, narrated how his team soldiered on: “Maraming beses po nasira muna siya bago magkaroon ng usable results. Kasi nagsimula po kami na wala talagang knowledge about robotics and nung summer lang talaga namin yan sinimulan last year. Meron lang kaming about a year para makumpleto yung research na yun and it put us under huge pressure, that’s why we learned paano po talaga mag-work as a team.

He added: “Also, na-develop din po sa amin yung how to work with stability even under pressure. Akala po kasi ng iba ang robotics parang ipro-program mo lang yan bubuuin mo lang yan tapos na. Hindi. Yung sa amin po kasi we did not use any kit, the materials were actually repurposed from scrap umbrella, gearbox sa electric fan, scrap acrylic sheets mula sa mga car repair shops just to make the frame and make everything work out, because we did not have enough funds to buy a complete kit. But we still managed because we believe na magagawa namin ‘to.”

DepEd secretary Leonor Briones cited the students who were among the 1,802 participants from 81 countries.

“The whole department extends its congratulations to Team Philippines for doing your country proud, and for showing the world that the creativity and innovativeness of Filipino K to 12 learners can beat the odds and conquer international competitors, because this is what we have been saying: critical thinking, not memorization of facts, must continuously be developed by our learners if they are to face the challenges of the 21st century,” Briones stated.

The young scientists were chosen to represent the Philippines in Intel ISEF 2018 following their successful stint in the 2018 National Science and Technology Fair (NSTF) of DepEd.

The annual competition “aims to promote science and technology consciousness among the youth and identify the most creative/innovative and the best science researchers who will represent the country in the Intel ISEF and other international competitions.”

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