UP NISMED Partners with Austrian Embassy, ILO, DepEd, and WITECH for the Women in STEAM Webinar Series

In celebration of the 2022 UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the Austrian Embassy in Manila, in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Department of Education (DepEd), the University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP NISMED), and the Youth for Women in Technology Incorporated, organized the Science Diplomacy Workshop: Women in STEAM Careers Webinar series. The four-day webinar series, with the theme Celebrating Women and Girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Culture, and Mathematics, was launched on 28 February 2022. Esteemed guests graced the event to celebrate women and girls’ empowerment. Her Excellency Ambassador Bita Rasoulian, Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines, delivered the welcome remarks, while messages of support were given by Mr. Khalid Hassan, Ad Interim Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Philippines, Ms. Akiko Sakamoto, Senior Skills Specialist of the ILO, and by Dr. Sheryl Lyn C. Monterola, UP NISMED Director. In her keynote message, Secretary Leonor Magtolis- Briones stated that DepEd continues to advocate and to advance women empowerment as women should take an active and coequal role for the world to become a better place for everyone. Her speech highlighted that STEAM is an educational approach to learning that not only serves as an access point in guiding students’ inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking but also fosters learners’ interest in STEAM courses by promoting individual capabilities of expression, innovation, and aesthetic perception. Towards the end of her message, she expressed her great joy that more and more women are taking on careers in the hard sciences, a field perceived to be dominated by males.

Secretary Leonor Magtolis- Briones of the Department of Education delivers her keynote message.

To further encourage girls to take on careers in STEAM, Ms. Linartes M. Viloria, National Project Coordinator, Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme, ILO, shared their initiatives on promoting career development and leadership for women and girls in STEM by increasing access to training and employment opportunities, as well as designing online job readiness trainings with TESDA.

Ms. Linartes M. Viloria, National Project Coordinator, Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme, International Labour Organization, shares a slide featuring the women and girls reached by their training programs.

Finally, two inspiring women in Science and Technology shared their heartwarming journey, from their struggles to their success in this career, which surely gave young girls a glimpse of what it is like to be in a STEAM career along with the important skills they need to be successful and productive women in science. The two panelists were Dr. Maria Antonia N. Tanchuling, Professor and Director, Institute of Civil Engineering, UP Diliman, and Dr. Chona Camille VinceCruz-Abeledo, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, De La Salle University. Both of them shared their passion for research. Dr. Tanchuling’s research interest is in solid waste management, plastic waste management, water, and sanitation. She is currently finishing up a two-year project with the Department of Science and Technology called Integrated Waste Analysis, Survey and Technological Options (IWASTO). Part of the project is the rehabilitation of Manila Bay where the major pollutants include solid wastes thrown out to rivers and esteros. They started off by characterizing the waste management practices and other environmental and social influences in the community. From there, they established waste utilization technologies developed by the Department of Science and Technology which will address the solid waste management and, hopefully, get the buy-in and support of the nearby communities.

Dr. Maria Antonia N. Tanchuling expounds on her research on solid waste management.

Dr. VinceCruz-Abeledo’s research interests, on the other hand, are in the field of genetic engineering and the taxonomy, systematics, and population genetics structure of mangrove crabs. She led a team that focused on developing low cost technologies to help in species identification and improve growth of crabs. One of the outputs of her team is the Crabifier, a mobile app that identifies juvenile mango crabs, which won the 2015 Outstanding Research and Development award of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development. In addition, Dr. VinceCruz-Abeledo and her team have made efforts to help address plastic pollution problems by using citizen science techniques. She recently started a YouTube channel where she talks about the science behind everyday living and her fascination with the environment and ecology.

Dr. Chona Camille VinceCruz-Abeledo shares the STEAM skills she needed to become a publishing scientist and a project leader.

Three more webinars will be held on the following dates: March 8 (The Art of Science and Math Teaching), March 18 (The Wonderful World of Science and the Arts), and March 29 (STEM Women Leaders in a Post-Pandemic World). These webinars will be livestreamed on the UP NISMED Facebook page.