Eloisa Convento, News, Communication Management Office
Three members of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) have been granted the prestigious scholarships sponsored by the US government. Dr. Lourdes V. Alvarez, MS Biology Program Chairperson, Jessica Jemimah Lopez from the Department of Psychology - Sta. Mesa Campus, and Rachel Baxal from PUP Maragondon are part of this year’s Fulbright Scholars Exchange Program.
Dr. Alvarez will be a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the University of Florida, while Lopez and Baxal are Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGrad) Grantees. Lopez will be an exchange student for the Psychology program of the University of Wyoming, while Baxal will study Accountancy from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay.
Introducing our student scholars
Jessicah Jemimah “Jam” Lopez, a third-year psychology student from the College of Social Sciences and Development (CSSD) was accepted in the highly competitive Fulbright Global UGrad Program. Despite a previous unsuccessful attempt, Lopez tried to apply again and got accepted as one of the exchange student visiting University of Wyoming this year.
“I applied for this Fulbright Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, really just to see possibilities about myself. In fact, this is my second time applying. The first time, I failed; but that didn’t discourage me from applying again. I applied again, honestly, just for fun, and fortunately, I got in!”
For Jam, the Fulbright program represents a chance to explore diverse cultures, overcome challenges, and enhance her knowledge and skills. As she prepares to embark on her first-ever journey abroad, Lopez embraces the anticipated difficulties,
“There’s going to be a lot of challenges, cultural differences, weather, and a lot more that I may not be prepared. On the brighter side, I’m expecting that I’m really going to gain enough knowledge and skills because of how diverse people are there and their facilities.”
Another student, Rachel Baxal, a third-year college student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy at PUP Maragondon Branch, also secured a scholarship under the same Global UGrad Program. She is headed to University of Wisconsin - Green Bay.
As an accountancy student, Rachel aims to learn more about financial literacy and raise awareness about financial education in the Philippines. She plans to use the knowledge gained through the Fulbright program to conduct seminars and symposiums on financial literacy and benefit her fellow PUPians and Filipinos.
“I’m looking forward to learn more about financial literacy there through the educational system in the USA. Well, I am expecting that their standard of education will contribute to my knowledge. What we don’t have here in the Philippines is something that they have there, that I can acquire to adapt to my knowledge, so that I can do seminars about financial literacy and everything that I will learn in the USA, and hopefully, it would be applicable in the lifestyle we have in the Philippines.” she shared.
Continuing learning for our faculty
Dr. Lourdes Alvarez, a devoted researcher and faculty member at PUP, was also awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to conduct innovative research at the University of Florida for the field of mycology (the study of fungi).
“I always wanted to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship before, but I didn’t have a lot of time. But when last year I found the website and then the application started, I thought, ‘How can I be accepted for a Fulbright scholarship? because I really want to get in’” Dr. Alvarez shared.
She will collaborate with Dr. Erica Goss, a renowned expert in oomycetes, organisms closely related to fungi, to investigate genetic variations in phytophthora, a pathogen causing black pod rot disease in cacao.
A global education for PUPians
These scholars have a clear vision for how their Fulbright experiences will positively impact their careers and contribute to the academic landscape of PUP.
Through the Fulbright program, Rachel aims to establish her own business in the Philippines and utilize the connections and network she builds to flourish in her entrepreneurial endeavors, ultimately reaching out to more communities and people. Meanwhile, Jam plans to gain invaluable insights from the education systems of the United States, which will inform her advocacy for inclusive and quality education upon her return.
“I would use the knowledge and experiences there kung paano ko naranasan yung pag-aaral sa ibang bansa and hopefully in the future contribute or dalhin ko yung sistema sa university ko, which is PUP,” Jam expressed.
Aligned with her deep commitment to teaching and research, Dr. Alvarez intends to utilize the knowledge and expertise gained through the Fulbright program to benefit not only her own professional growth but also the development of PUP’s scientific community.
“I need to study more, devote more time to research, do readings, and become familiar with computer software. It’s a new environment, different people, and I need to adjust,” she said.
“Yes. oo, Mula sa’yo para sa bayan. PUP ako, Tagumpay ako,” Dr. Alvarez declared, encapsulating the essence of their journey.
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