On 7-11 November 2023, 16 student-scholars under the PhD in Education program of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Education (FEd) participated in the 12th Scholars Leadership Camp conducted by the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) at Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City. As an event under The Filipino Patriot Scholars Project of the DOST-SEI, the leadership camp aimed to reinforce patriotism and leadership among scholars under the Capacity Building Program in Science and Mathematics Education (CBPSME).
During the event, FEd Dean, Assistant Professor Charisse T. Reyes, delivered a message in her capacity as Project Director of the CBPSME-UPOU. She emphasized that the values of patriotism and nationalism come from a deep appreciation of the land one lives in, by acknowledging and showing respect to the nation, the people, and the Indigenous Peoples who first owned the land that nurtured them. As a proud and grateful recipient of the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program during her undergraduate years, Dean Reyes also affirmed how the scholarship programs of DOST-SEI have changed the lives of its scholars for the better. Because of this opportunity, she was able to graduate and teach thousands of students who eventually became professionals and leaders in their own fields. As a “teacher of teachers” in her current role as FEd Dean, she envisions “an inclusive and equitable educational system that is able to accommodate all learners including and most especially, Indigenous Peoples communities.” With this, Dean Reyes encouraged all scholars to continue on to become great leaders: “Trust in your own potential, you will all become leaders in your own right. I am sure of that. You will definitely make significant changes in your communities and in this nation, so don’t give up.”
For the student-scholars, the leadership camp was a fulfilling experience that enabled them to learn from several experts and connect with their fellow scholars. Ms. Dawn T. Crisologo shared that the event exceeded her expectations. In her words, “[i]t was an excellent opportunity to renew my purpose as a DOST Scholar and my commitment to be an agent of positive change for the nation.” Because of this, they gained further insights and skills on how to be effective leaders who will promote inclusivity and patriotism in their respective fields. From the event, Ms. Jacqui Lou B. Valenzuela realized that “leadership knows no gender, boundary, and age.” To add to this, Ms. Rica P. Abunda learned the importance of embodying “the core values of a Filipino Patriot Scholar–professional excellence, servant leadership, and social responsibility” in her role as a mentor for new teachers and teacher for her students. As Mr. Francis M. Jimenez stated, “[s]cholars are not just for academic endeavors, scholars must also be leader[s].”
Now, everyone is determined to contribute to the realization of the leadership camp’s theme by applying all of their learnings in their own academic, professional, and personal endeavors. For instance, Ms. Crisologo will ensure that her “research topic is oriented towards the pursuit of the common good and communicated properly (mailapit sa bayan).” Meanwhile, Ms. Corina N. Samin, current chairperson of her university’s science department, affirmed to improve her leadership skills first then “conduct a parallel leadership camp among the science teachers” in their university. On a personal level, Mr. Franklin Galoyo shared that he will “actively participate in workshops, trainings and sharing my insights while encouraging others to voice their perspectives. Through collaborative efforts and open dialogue, I aim to cultivate an environment that nurtures and develops strong leadership skills among all participants, aligning with the overarching theme of the Leadership Boot Camp.”
Furthermore, as students of UPOU, they plan to share what they have learned with others. In Ms. Bhazel Anne R. Pelicano’s academic journey, she learned much “about the theories of learning, how learning happens within and without the classroom.” Aside from this, with all that they have experienced and learned with the distance mode of learning, which is one of the reasons why students such as Ms. Juana Suzy Amor G. Lobaton decided to pursue education at UPOU, they are set to impart all of their knowledge and skills into their professions as educators and enact positive change starting from their own communities.
From this entire learning experience, they hope to inspire their fellow student-scholars to always do their best, even after the end of their program. In the words of Ms. Johanna Thea B. Lupo: “Being where we are is a privilege, and we should strive to be the greatest versions of ourselves for everyone around us as well. Laban lang.” Furthermore, Ms. Lailani E. Pabilario also shared: “Remember, the journey of learning is a continuous one. Embrace the process, enjoy the challenges, and never stop learning. Together, we can make a difference in the world.”
Written by Krista Marie L. Fama ♦ Edited by Ms. Rhonna Marie R. Vereña, Asst. Prof. Ana Katrina T. Marcial and Asst. Prof. Charisse T. Reyes ♦ Cross-posted from UPOU FED Website