Divinians stood at CI student congress, setting new heights of academic excellence

Standing on the shoulders of the giants, Divinians presented their completed research studies at the annual Creative Investigation Student Congress of the University of the Philippines High School Cebu in Lahug, Cebu City last June 8-9, 2023.

Four abstracts were submitted and all were accepted for parallel paper presentation and one of these abstracts was accepted for both paper and poster presentations. The participants of Liceo del Verbo Divino, Inc. (LVD) were Julianne Marie O. Calceta, Kenneth Angelo A. Koh, Aj Jorich E. Guadayo, Daphne A. Rañoa, and Von Jethro O. Simborio who presented their study online, and Abby Kaye C. Ortega and Francine Jean Gabisay have presented their study on-site.

The two-day congress brings together high school student-researchers across the region to present their completed research studies under two tracks: STEM, and ABM and HUMSS for the first and second day, respectively. It commenced with the welcome message of Atty. Leo B. Malagar, the campus chancellor, whose message highlighted this year’s theme, “Post-Pandemic Trends in Research.” He pointed out the main objective of the congress which is to serve as a platform of intellectual exchange as the congress offers the chance to explore opportunities and challenges of the post-pandemic world. The ideas and innovations that the student-researchers to be presented are steps towards the collective effort to address challenges that lie ahead and to create a future that is resilient, sustainable, and inclusive. He also borrowed the words from an unknown author, “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of the giants.” His talk ended by reminding the researchers to visualize their research project as a piece in the grand mosaic of knowledge and discovery. Without every piece, a picture is incomplete; thus, each contribution must be valued no matter how small each insight rather filling it in the post-pandemic world armed with wisdom, empathy, and courage.

Moreover, Dr. Catherine M. Rodel, the High School Principal, provided the overview of the activity and mentioned that there are 60 paper presentations covering a wide range of topics related to post-pandemic trends in research to be presented across six plenary sessions, 17 parallel presentations, and two poster presentations. At the same time, there were exhibits and a gallery tour that she hoped the attendees can enjoy. She acknowledged the participants of the congress and stressed that the congress is not only the production of knowledge but also the production of creative visual arts.

The first-day keynote speaker was Dr. Brisneve Edullantes, a faculty of the College of Science of UP Cebu who discussed his presentation titled, “Environmental Change Biology: A Rewarding Frontier for Future Scientists.” He started his talk by dissecting the title of his presentation, answering questions like what environmental biology is and its importance. It was collectively defined as an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on understanding biological responses to predicting global environmental change. He also emphasized the objective of his talk which is to encourage the participants to pursue a career in STEM research. Charting the future currents as evident in his field of specialization highlighted the seven lessons and insights in his journey as a scientist such as the importance of curiosity and continuous learning, the power of collaboration, and keeping sight of the bigger picture. The two plenary sessions of the research papers titled, “Determining the Compressive Strength of Anapog Hollow Block” and “Plastic Diet: Bioaccumulation of Microplastics in Fishes from Pasil Fish Market” marked the morning session.

In the afternoon, two groups from the school’s representative presented their research studies titled, “Vermicast Versus Fermented Plant Juice: Effectivity as Organic Fertilizer on Plant Growth of Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)” by Ortega et al. and “Effectiveness of Sugarcane Bagasse as Alternative Component in Producing Cardboard” by Calceta et al. Their studies were categorized into Parallel Session 3: Environmental Chemistry and Parallel Session 5: Waste and Environmental Sustainability, respectively.

The second day of the congress started with the keynote address of Dr. Maria Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco, faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Her talk focused on her research journey as adventure and serendipity which she associated with a few quotes about research and described her life of how she began in the field of research and become fully immersed as a faculty researcher. She stressed the quote of her favorite social psychologist named Kurt Lewin who said, “No research without action, no action without research.” It reminds her of the social utility of our work as researchers. The value of the kind of research every researcher does starts with action in society. After her talk, there were three plenary sessions on the studies titled, “Public Utility Buses’ Service Quality and the Student Commuters’ Satisfaction: A Correlational Study” by Elmido et al., “Impact of COVID-19 on Urban Poor Women by Laus et al., and “Transgenerational Violence: A Study on Verbal Abuse Among Filipino Siblings” by Cañeda et al., respectively.

Parallel sessions for studies ABM and HUMSS were held in the afternoon. The two remaining groups from the school’s representative have presented their research studies titled, “Self-Perception of Grade 12 ABM Students in a Private Educational Institution in Tacloban City Toward Their College Readiness” by Guadayo et al. and “Association Between Active Commuting to School and Academic Performance of Grade 7 Student Commuters in Private Catholic Educational Institution” by Simborio et al. Both of their studies were classified in Parallel Session 13: Education and delivered their presentation virtually. The two-day congress concluded with a synthesis from the insights and experiences of randomly selected attendees.

Likewise, the school’s participants have also shared their key takeaways from what they gained from attending the said congress. Aj Jorich E. Guadayo, one of the school’s participants in the ABM and HUMSS track, stressed how honored he is to be invited as a presenter for their research study. He expressed, “I had the opportunity to showcase the research paper that our research group had written for the past school year as a result of our hard work and the knowledge we gained as student-researchers. I presented our paper virtually and was appreciated by my fellow student-researchers in Cebu as I got to entertain questions from them which proves that the research studies conducted by the students in our school could spark the interest and ignite the mind of other researchers in the region.”

The opportunity they had as presenters contributed to boosting their confidence and self-esteem was affirmed by Abby Kaye C. Ortega who is also one of the school’s participants in the STEM track. “I was able to gain information and knowledge from the other presenters and attendees. It was a great place to exchange ideas, feedback, suggestions, and share interests,” she uttered. The participants were also given the chance to listen to professionals and fellow student-researchers as they share their interests, knowledge, and wisdom they gained as they conduct their respective research studies. It furthered their perspective on how enlightening research can be even in a post-pandemic setting and how these can contribute to the existing body of knowledge today.

The presenters opted to present their studies in either on-site or online mode as there is some of them had a conflict with their schedule for college admission. They were assisted by Mr. Ronnie O. Daganasol, their research teacher and their participation merited a positive response from the school administration who supported this learning engagement of the students to further their research experience.