STEM careers urgently needed post-pandemic, say former DOST-SEI scholars

Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) can be fulfilling and purposeful endeavors, according to graduate scholars of the Department of Science and Technology–Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) who are now working at the forefront of COVID-19 research in the Philippines.

Dr. Sheriah de Paz-Silava and Dr. John Carlo Malabad kicked off the 2021 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration with an online STEM Career Talk on November 22 entitled “Building A Future of Resiliency Through Health Research and Development” under the DOST-SEI’s #Push4Science initiative.

Both Scholar-Graduates are products of the University of the Philippines (UP)-Manila’s Doctor of Medicine-PhD in Molecular Medicine (MD-PhD) double degree program under the ASTHRDP, which shaped their careers in the disciplines of virology and infectious disease epidemiology.

Hindi ko na ma-imagine maging scientist [I could no longer imagine being a scientist], but DOST molded me into one,” said Dr. de Paz-Silava.

An alumna of the Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas Campus, Dr. de Paz-Silava graduated magna cum laude with a BS Biology degree from UP Diliman on a DOST Merit Scholarship. She then became an ASTHRDP scholar at the UP Manila-College of Medicine, where she obtained her MD-PhD in 2019 with support from the DOST-PCHRD.

Currently, she is an Associate Professor at the UP College of Public Health (UP-CPH) and serves as the laboratory manager of its Virology Laboratory. She is currently working with the UP Manila COVID-19 Research Initiative, and also serves as a technical reviewer in several clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines.

“It’s one thing to live, and another thing to live with purpose… It’s an opportunity to serve the Filipino nation,” said Dr. Malabad. He is now an Assistant Scientist at the DOST Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD). When the pandemic hit, he volunteered as a responder and laboratorian at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. He was among the first batch of doctor-scientists in the MD-PhD program. He was also a runner-up in the BPI-DOST Science Awards and a recipient of the DOST-SEI Career Incentive Program (CIP).

“I hope you find that joy and purpose in living not just for yourselves but for the country,” Dr. de Paz-Silava concluded. The DOST-SEI STEM Career Talk is anchored on the 2021 NSTW’s theme, “Agham at Teknolohiya: Tugon sa Hamon ng Panahon.”



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