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Mapúa professors share expertise with MHSS during its Science and Technology Lecture Series

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mapúa Institute of Technology professor Dr. Delia B. Senoro (left) and Malayan High School of Science (MHSS) principal Dr. Efren B. Mateo (right) shared their knowledge and expertise during MHSS’s Science and Technology Lecture Series.

Founded on the belief on science and technology’s capability to develop a sustainable nation and envisioned to be a global center of excellence in secondary education, Malayan High School of Science (MHSS) has continuously been espousing academic excellence in the fields of basic science, mathematics, and technology in honing the great scientists and technologists of the future.

During the celebration of its sixth founding anniversary, MHSS took high school learning to a higher level by going beyond textbooks and hearing straight from the experts with its first Science and Technology Lecture Series last January 19. The lecture series was the main highlight of MHSS’s Science, Math, and Technology Week.

For the lecture series, MHSS invited three professors from its mother school, Mapúa Institute of Technology, to give lectures on bioinformatics, technology trends, and the effects of man’s activities on the environment.

One of the lectures was designed for first year and second year students, which focused on the growing importance of computer application in the life sciences.

Professor Alvin Magpantay of Mapúa’s School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry discussed “Application of Computers in the Life Sciences.” He stated that there are so many branches of science for which society can find great use of computer science and information technology. One of these that high school students could easily understand and appreciate is bioinformatics.

“Bioinformatics is a relatively new field in biology. It is an interdisciplinary science combining biology, computer science, information technology, mathematics, and chemistry. It basically applies computer science and information technology in handling and managing data the field of biology generates,” explained Prof. Magpantay.

He believes that enough introduction to bioinformatics will greatly aid in students’ learning of species and their relation to one another.

“With access to a software and database containing gene sequences and other important data, students will be able to determine easily how closely species are related to one another. It will also be easy for them to perform gene sequence alignments. With the right tools and resources, it will be easy for students to do research works,” Prof. Magpantay said.

He further said that introduction to bioinformatics would be a recommendable inclusion in a high school’s biology curriculum, as it is a good primer for students who are interested in careers in biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, pharmaceuticals, bioinformatics, and bioengineering.

The third year and fourth year students also had relevant and even more serious lectures with the speakers.

Dr. Delia B. Senoro of Mapúa’s Sustainable Development Research Office started the morning with a discussion on “Fractious Anthropogenic Activities Lead to Global Warming and Disaster.”

“The lecture was about the adverse impacts of man’s uncontrolled or undisciplined activities on the environment and public health. I realized that high school students need sufficient knowledge on the consequences of their daily actions relative to environment degradation and worsening public health,” said Dr. Senoro.

The educator-researcher hopes that her lecture had triggered interest among Malayans to pursue tertiary education in environmental engineering. Apart from this, given the different environmental problems that currently hound mankind such as climate change, she suggests that environmental science be given importance in a high school’s curriculum. She suggests subjects on ecology/ecosystem, solid waste management, sustainable development, and responsible consumption of resources be incorporated in regular classes.

Dr. Senoro also emphasizes the role of science high schools in building a better society and addressing world issues.

“Science high schools such as MHSS play a big role in honing scientists. We need well-sculptured scientists and engineers with the heart to help the country and the world,” said Dr. Senoro.

For the finale, the students had a discussion on “Trends in ICT” with Prof. Elcid A. Serrano of Mapúa’s School of Information Technology.

“It was about the Internet and web trends based on its history and evolution. The discussion ranged from web being document-centric to Web 2.0, specifically Wikis and social networking. I also touched on Web 3.0, which is the semantic web,” explained Prof. Serrano. “It is good if students know web technology’s beginnings and wonders and even better if they understand how it affects their lives.”

Apart from learning about information technology, to Prof. Serrano, it is also important for the youth to develop good behavior toward the technology.

“High schools must educate their students the latest in IT. However, they must also teach their students responsibility and ethics in the use of the technology.”

MHSS principal Dr. Efren B. Mateo also imparted his knowledge in the challenging and often dreaded subject of mathematics.

Aiming to improve students’ learning success in math, Dr. Mateo gave a lecture titled “Rationalizing Mathemaphobia: Tactics in Problem-Solving.”

“Mathematics is abstract in nature and many students do not find interest in doing activities that involve abstraction. So during the lecture-forum, I posted the greatest challenge to the teachers: to reduce mathematical anxiety among students and lead them to be interested in mathematics,” said Dr. Mateo.

For Dr. Mateo, the Science and Technology Lecture Series and other similar activities of MHSS show its commitment to educate the youth about the current scientific and technological innovations and trends. The lecture series feature speakers who are experts in their fields to discuss specific subject matters that are not only interesting to students but also considered important sources of fundamental knowledge in different branches of science and technology. Also given preferences are topics that are relevant to the students’ lives and that delve into current issues that affect man.

“The Science and Technology Lecture Series enrich the lessons students take in their classes,” said Dr. Mateo.

For him, being a subsidiary of the premier technological school in the country greatly benefits MHSS.

“MHSS is always on the beneficial end as a subsidiary of Mapúa. Aside from being resource speakers, we ask the assistance of Mapúa professors to handle highly technical subjects. We also request assistance from the Mapúa science laboratories in the conduct of the research works of our students,” concluded Dr. Mateo.

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