MIT to help breed Filipino scientists

Francis Plaza

In the name of science and technology, MIT in Cambridge and the Philippine Science High School in Palo, Leyte found each other.

Through Project Philippines 2012, the two schools are hoping to inspire students to develop scientific traits, like having an inquiring mind and problem-solving skills, through leadership training. If they can steer young people toward a career in science and engineering, that would be the best outcome, but that is not necessary.

“Inquiry, problem solving, and most importantly a ‘can do’ attitude…these are powerful assets people in general must develop and exercise in order to build a strong and powerful nation,” PP 2012 said in its mission statement. “By instilling these traits and skills to the youth, we can achieve the next generation of thinkers, innovators, and entrepreneurs, ready to tackle the problems of the Philippines and create effective solutions.”

PP 2012 believes the Philippines has an “impressive” economic growth of 7.3 percent, and yet it cannot hold back the rise in population and the spread of poverty.   The program identifies institutions in the Philippines which MIT can partner with in molding future scientists and engineers with the skills to “lead and to initiate positive change in their community and beyond.”

One of PP 2012’s project leaders is Francis Plaza, an electrical engineering and computer science student at MIT. “I have always wanted to be part of something that makes an impact to the community,” he said. A graduate of PSHS in Leyte, he has been involved with PP 2012 for three years now.

He said, “I think my involvement as a project leader will be a way for me to give back to the very institution that honed my skills and talents that I utilize today.”

He would like to get people to know the Philippines and Filipino culture “in a much closer context.” After all, he said, learning a new culture helps everyone achieve a more open mind to better understand cultural and social similarities and differences.

Visit their website to learn more and to make a donation.

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