In the era of innovation, biological and chemical technology, scientific and space exploration, global sustainable development, and a digital economy accelerated by the ongoing pandemic, the role of engineers in society is proving to be more essential than ever especially in the areas of infrastructure and technological development.
Filipino engineers have developed a reputation in the industry as some of the most hardworking and highly skilled workforce—a true representative of the world-class talent our nation is rightfully proud of.
Just recently, Filipino-American engineers Gregorio G. Villar III, Genevie V. Yang, and Edward Gonzales were in the global spotlight for their significant contribution in the safe landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars in February 2021.
Also in February, three Filipino engineers, namely Mark Angelo C. Purio, Izrael Zenar C. Bautista, and Marloun P. Sejera, launched the Philippines’ second cube satellite, the Maya-2 CubeSat, to the International Space Station (ISS). Maya-2 has the ability to collect data remotely through a store-and-forward mechanism that can be used for applications such as weather and infectious disease analysis through ground sensors.
Marloun P. Sejera, a Mapúa University Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) alumnus, shared in an email interview that they plan to “return to our respective institutions and carry out knowledge transfer to aspiring students in the field of science and technology.”
Carvey Ehren Maigue, a Mapúa Electrical Engineering student, also became the first ever Sustainability Winner of the James Dyson Award in 2020 for inventing the AuREUS System, which can generate electricity by absorbing the UV light and allow people to access renewable energy.
Mapúa president Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea expressed his appreciation for the ingenuity exhibited by the students and graduates of the Yuchengco-led University.
“This achievement in which our proud alumnus is part of implies that Philippine space engineering exists and is growing. The creation of Maya-2, the country’s second nanosatellite, received great local and international support, which we should see as a serious undertaking nowadays in our country that our young hopefuls should be looking out for,” Vea said of Sejera’s accomplishment.
Likewise, he praised Maigue’s achievement and breakthrough effort on sustainable power.
“Maigue’s success is one testament to Mapúa’s commitment to promote sustainable engineering. His recognition is both an inspiration and a challenge to our students to continuously think outside the box and innovate to help create sustainable communities as future builders of the nation,” the University head stated.
Vea firmly believes in the continuation of an encouraging educational environment where Filipino talents are inspired to unleash their potential and thrive.
“Mapúa University has always demonstrated the importance of a higher education institution’s participation in knowledge generation efforts that could bring out sustainable engineering developments while still championing environment protection and preservation. Our strong regard for research has resulted in countless achievements attained not only by our graduates but also by the students of our undergraduate programs,” Vea added.
According to Vea, Filipino engineering students have a lot to look forward to in terms of opportunities because their generation is powered not only by quality education but also by passion and social responsiveness.
“We hold a very promising future for our engineering students. Students nowadays are very passionate and involved in community building. They understand what society needs from them. That is why when passion and social responsiveness both come to play, our learners become unstoppable. They go beyond their comfort zones by participating in research activities. They are driven by unfortunate situations in their communities that they want to reshape, thus inspiring them to innovate and create the change that is demanded from the industry they are part of. They are handed with courses in their studies wherein they gain hands-on experiences from actual industry scenarios. They are given opportunities to be immersed in the engineering culture of foreign countries through exchange programs and international OJTs. With this type of mindset and academic upbringing, success can be guaranteed wherever our students plan to practice their professions in the future,” he remarked.
The Mapúa president thinks coming from an underprivileged background and a developing country like the Philippines serves as an eye-opener and fuel for the creative minds of the young and upcoming engineers. It is what sets Filipino engineering students apart from their counterparts overseas.
“The Filipino youth understands how it is to grow up and continuously thrive in a developing country. They have seen the world through a lens that is different from what other rich nations are exposed to. This makes them a force built out of compassion for people and with high regard for protecting and improving their communities and environment,” Vea said.
Thankfully, the industry acknowledges the global competitiveness of Filipino engineers with various practicing professionals being hired abroad and in top companies. Vea feels that despite the recognition, support should continue for the nation’s engineers.
“Filipino engineers excel in various areas of engineering. From conducting research to building the nation, we have continually produced the minds capable of attaining both. Support, at all times, is necessary and must be accessible in order for developmental growth and knowledge generation to thrive in our country,” he stated.
Even amid the pandemic, Vea, an engineer himself, thinks that there are opportunities to take hold of here and abroad.
“Now, more than ever, Filipino engineers should push for new innovations our people and planet can benefit from. Efforts should be forward-looking. Even when not faced with health or environmental adversities, they should act on their own initiative. Leaders, of equal note, should provide strong support to harness these talents and their undertakings for national development.”
The pandemic also ushered in a timely development in engineering education with the Mapúa UOx (Ubiquitous Online eXperience) programs. As shared by Vea, the launch of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-approved fully online undergraduate and graduate programs has led to a pandemic- or crisis-proof mode of teaching. It ensured the preparedness of higher education institutions like Mapúa to move forward despite the challenges. It also has its advantages.
“Having our education accessible to learners through digital means does not signify exclusivity in our program offerings. To reach more learners and giving them the opportunity to take up new heights in their academics through online programs is rather rewarding and is a great step for Philippine engineering education to increase the number of and uplift the future builders of the nation,” Vea noted.
In line with the Yuchengco Group of Companies’ thrust to future-proof Filipino lives, Mapúa University will always continue to push for digital advancement.
“Mapúa University tries to be ahead of its time. We pioneer and break barriers in knowledge generation and dissemination, with quality education that transcends geographical boundaries and understands the needs of society and the vast industries from our graduates. At Mapúa, we do not wait for the future. We create the future,” Vea concluded.
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