2 Filipino student scientists bag grand prizes in Intel ISEF

MANILA, Philippines – Two young Filipino budding scientists, both incoming college freshmen this June and products of public schools, bagged grand prizes in the prestigious Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) held in Los Angeles, California in the US earlier this month.

Miguel Arnold Reyes of Philippine Science High School-Main Campus and Angeli Joyce Yap Dy of Capiz National High School, both 16, were among the list of award recipients announced at the end of the ISEF competitions, with their science research projects emerging as one of the best in a field of 1,500 other entries from their foreign counterparts.

Reyes received a Second Place Grand Award in the field of Materials and Bioengineering and $1,500 for his investigation of naturally occurring elements as substitutes for commercial film plastics.

Dy, on the other hand, received a Fourth Place Grand Award in Biochemistry and $500 for her investigation of milkfish serum as a cheaper alternative supplement for the culture of human lung and colon carcinomas cells instead of the expensive but commonly used medium, fetal bovine serum.

The two winners both expressed happiness over their win, saying it encouraged them to pursue science and research in the future even as they pursue higher education this June.

Dy, who will be entering the Central Philippines University in Iloilo City this June as a BS in Accountancy freshman, said that the recognition of her research project will push her to finish the other necessary confirmatory efficacy and shelf life tests on milkfish serum, and will definitely file a patent on her discovery.

“I’ll finish all the tests and then file a patent,” said Dy who is pursuing Accountancy in college in her bid to help in the family business, the JGM Finance Corp. in Capiz, owned by her parents Joseph Cheng Dy and Mary Joy Yap-Dy.

Dy said that her parents had been very supportive of her research project and has paid for her regular trips to Manila to conduct tests at the UP Institue of Biology where she is being mentored by Dr. Anacleto Argayosa and Dr. Sonia Jacinto.

Dy is no stranger to the ISEF since her first research project in 2009 as a junior, also on cancer research, won her the chance to join the Philippine delegation to the annual science research event, then held in Reno, Nevada.

Reyes, who is entering UP Diliman as a Computer Engineering freshman, said that his second place grand award will be another reason for him to push on with a plan to change his course to Physics by next year.

Reyes’ research on composites for the production of commercial plastic film has already won him a trip to Taiwan earlier this year to be the country’s representative in the Taiwan International Science Fair where he also won a “second place award” and a small cash prize. Last year, he also went to Nigeria as the country’s representative in the International Junior Science Olympiad, where he won a silver medal. -Rainier Allan Ronda, philstar.com

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