By Maria Crispina Buensuceso

Coming from different schools in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, Research Fair 2016 participants sit together for the opening program

Coming from different schools in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, Research Fair 2016 participants sit together for the opening program

The recently concluded Research Fair 2016 (RF 2016) ended on a high note, taking in nearly 700 high school participants from all over the nation – thus making this year’s Research Fair the largest one to date.

In celebration of fifteen years since its inception, RF 2016’s theme, Epitaxy: Reinforcing Youth Ingenuity into the Lattice of Science of Technology, specially called on aspiring young scientists to discover, enhance, and develop technology that would greatly address pressing local and global concerns.  

Youth Science Convention

Entitled AVALANCHE: Cascading Towards the Abyss of Scientific Knowledge, Youth Science Convention (YSC) was a two-day seminar-workshop series, featuring speakers from various fields of expertise. Its main goal was to introduce and orient participants on various industries in research and technology, to inculcate the essential contribution of research in the nation’s progress, and also to sharpen their communication skills. It was held at the National Institute of Science and Mathematics Education Development on January 21 and January 22, 2016.

The event had eight distinguished speakers, namely: Reynaldo Marquez Jr., a technology specialist from the Aseagas Corporation; John Gabriel Pelias, an instructor in the Institute of Mathematics, UP Diliman, and infamous summa cum laude graduate; Dr. Rizalinda De Leon, Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, UP Diliman; Dr. Maria Corazon De Ungria, Head of the DNA Analysis Laboratory of the National Sciences Research Institute; Judd Tablazon, a meteorologist in Project NOAH of the Department of Science and Technology; Dr. Joey Ocon, Head of the Laboratory of Electrochemical Engineering, UP Diliman; Dr. Ma. Amihan Ramolete, an associate professor from the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts, UP Diliman; and Ms. Junesse Crisostomo, a Communications instructor at UP Diliman.

National Science Conquest

National Science Conquest (NSC) is a team-based competition/quiz bee-type event for Grades 9 and 10 students. The first phase of NSC, the Theoretical Examination, held at the School of Economics on January 21, 2016, was a 50-item multiple-choice exam that assessed the participants’ grasps on basic scientific questions. Thirty-eight (38) teams then moved on to take the Situational Examination, which consisted of four problem-solving questions. Only sixteen (16) teams made it to the next round – the Practical Examination. The Practical Examination held in the Computational Science and Research Center last January 22, 2016, was a practical laboratory exam, where teams had to correctly perform various laboratory techniques, and to rationalize experimental results.

Eight (8) teams then moved on to compete at the Final Phase at the National Institute of Physics on January 23, 2016, and battled it out in a quiz bee with questions involving the multiple branches of science and technology. To ensure the validity of the answers of the Final Phase, as well as to address queries and arguments from the competitors, four distinguished judges namely: Dustin Edric Ricio from the Department of Computer Science, UP Diliman; Ralph John Ugalino from the Institute of Chemistry, UP Diliman; Miguel Antonio Fudolig from the National Institute of Physics, UP Diliman; Jeffrey Munar from the Marine Science Institute, UP Diliman; and Kayla Marie Castro from the Department of Environmental Science of the Ateneo De Manila University, were in attendance.

Philippine Science High School Main Campus Team A emerged victorious and was declared the National Science Conquerors, sealing their back-to-back victory. First and second runner-ups were Philippine Science High School Western Visayas Campus Team A, and Philippine Science High School Central Visayas Campus Team A, respectively.

Joaquin Jose S. Lopez of Philippine Science High School Main Campus was given a Best in Theoretical Examination award, and Philippine Science High School Main Campus Team A was awarded Best in Practical Examination, as well as Best in Situational Examination.

Research Competition

The Research Competition is the principal event of Research Fair 2016. The three-day scientific conference aimed to showcase the brilliant studies and innovations of high school students in the fields of Physical Science, Life Science, and Applied Science.  

This year’s Research Competition had two hundred (200) initial research entries. This number was then narrowed down to eighty nine (89) after a preliminary screening, and the research authors were able to present their posters and studies at the National Institute of Physics last January 21, 2016 to a panel of fifty (50) judges from UP Diliman, UP Manila, Ateneo De Manila University, De La Salle University, Mapua Institute of Technology, and the Department of Science and Technology. The top eight (8) entries per category moved on to the Closed-Door Defense, and were able to personally explain and defend their projects to experts in the three different categories.

The top three entries per category made the cut and presented in front of Dr. Reinabelle Reyes, internationally acclaimed astrophysicist, Dr. Edsel Maurice Salvaña, Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the National Institutes of Health, UP Manila and Philippine a 2010 Outstanding Young Scientist Awardee, Dr. Joey Ocon, a 2015 Outstanding Young Scientist Awardee, and Dr. Marco Nemesio Montaño, leading scientist and professor from the Marine Science Institute, in the Final Defense of the Research Competition.

In the Applied Sciences category, Iloilo National High School – Special Science Class was awarded Second Runner-up for their research involving bioreductants. First runner-up was awarded to Philippine Science High School – Bicol Region Campus for their development of a guyabano-based probiotic beverage, and Bansud National High School – Regional Science High School for Region IV-B (MIMAROPA) student was declared the Champion for the Applied Sciences category, for her research entitled “ Pumpler: A Special Service Tool (SST) for Fan Hub and Impeller Extraction on Automobile Cooling Pump System”.

For the Life Sciences category, Second and First Runner-up awards went to Philippine Science High School – Bicol Region Campus for their research on the microbial inhibitory activity of zinc oxide, and to Las Piñas National High School – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for their research on the biosynthesis and characterization of silver nanoparticles, respectively. Shalom Crest Wizard Academy, with their study entitled “Sunscreen Protection Factor (SPF) and Antioxidant Activities of Wild Edible Ectomycorrhizal Mushroom (Tricholoma terreum): Its Implication to Cosmetic Product Development as Antidote for Pathological Aging”, was named Champion of the Life Sciences category.

Lastly, for the Physical Sciences category, Negros Occidental High School was awarded Second Runner-up for their synthesis and characterization of sodium sulfate microparticles; Las Piñas National High School – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics was awarded First Runner-up for their study on UV-protection, water-resistant, and antibacterial properties of modified polyester; and Shalom Crest Wizard Academy was given the Champion title for their study entitled “Direct Current Voltage Generated from Phytoremediation Using Taro (Alocasia macrorrhiza) for Copper Extraction: A Breakthrough to Photomyning”.

The Grand Champion of the Research Competition was Applied Sciences champion Lenrah Mascarinas from Bansud National High School – Regional Science High School for Region IV-B (MIMAROPA) for her Pumpler innovation.

Philippine Science High School – Bicol Region Campus and Las Piñas National High School – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics were given the Best in Exhibit and Poster Presentation awards, and the Best Speaker award was also given to Las Piñas National High School – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The steering committee is headed by Franzielle Marie Conde and Jennielyn Aina de Leon. They worked hand-in-hand with Ruel Jan Anthony Moldez, Allanysse Jade Velasco, Hubert Rae Gines, Kristine Del Rosario, Genesis Lance Orejas , Justin Richmond Domingo, Amelia Jane Bellarmino, Ana Teresa Ruiz, Christine Ilustrisimo, Maria Crispina Buensuceso, Gregory Eleazar Angeles, and Marvin Veran.