On July 26, 2021, Hidilyn Diaz made history when she won the first-ever Olympic gold medal for the Philippines in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Her victory is a resounding reminder that with hard work and determination, one can, in a manner of speaking, lift an entire nation. Her story served as an inspiration and hope, that indeed, “the Filipino can”.
It is with the same faith in the ability of Filipinos to excel where they aspire to thrive that institutions such as the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), and the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST - SEI) share the goal of recognizing and empowering young emerging scientists to become future innovators and nation builders.
On July 30, 2021, GBF partnered with DOST – SEI for the family foundation to confer its Young Scientist Award to outstanding students from the winning teams of DOST’s imake.wemake: creat.innovate.collaborate innovation competition.
“The project imake.wemake aims to unleash the creativity of young Filipinos in innovation using accessible technologies to address a community issue or improve a social condition,” said Dr. Ruby Cristobal of DOST - SEI during the MOA signing. While there are prizes at stake, the division chief added that imake.wemake is more than a contest. “It is meant for children to be able to recognize their role in their respective communities,” she said.
With not more than 20% of high school graduates pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), imake.wemake is one of the ways DOST - SEI is promoting a strong culture of science among Filipino youth.
“Our mandate is to increase the number of STEM human resources in support of inclusive development in the Philippines and to strengthen science, technology, and innovation in the country,” said Dr. Josette Biyo, DOST -SEI Director. She added that through its strategic programs, the organization hopes to execute its vision of promoting “the importance of science, technology, and innovation in improving the quality of life of the majority of the Filipinos, if not of the entire country.”
This mirrors GBF’s commitment to help advance and uplift STEM education in the Philippines. “We aim to support our young scientists’ passion for applied scientific research and innovation, as well as their drive to serve their communities through a college scholarship grant for their chosen STEM courses,” said Grace Colet, Executive Director of GBF.
The GBF Young Scientists Awardees will be undergoing mentoring, training, and other immersive opportunities to enhance and elevate their STEM expertise with the help of GBF’s academic and business unit partners such as URC, Cebu Pacific, and Robinsons Land, among others.
By supporting programs like the imake.wemake competition, GBF hopes to help shape a new generation of Filipinos who, like Hidilyn, can use their skill sets for the greater good of the nation. “You can make a difference. We can make a difference,” said Grace. “Our future is building as we speak based on what we decide on and how we choose to live today.”
The imake.wemake:create.innovate.collaborate competition will be virtually held on August 25-27, 2021. The GBF Young Scientist Awardees will be announced during the awarding ceremony on August 27.