Science & Tech

Posts related to S&T research and my volunteer work in Pinoy Scientist. :)

A data science career?


I’m happy to announce that I feel legitimately excited about my work life, having been recommended by my manager and the actuarial department head to join the newly-formed Data Science team (I swear, no compliment feels as good as that which refers to my skill or potential ヽ(*・ω・)ノ).

I’ve been acquainting myself with SQL and R programming, and some research about data science as well. Since the field is getting increasingly popular, our company must’ve been eager to jump in the bandwagon as well, haha!

As for me, I want to acquire the necessary skills to better myself as a programmer for scientific research (cleaning the astrochemistry dataset using VBA was a pain, to be honest… hoping for a better experience with R or Python!). I’ve already been branded a “big data analytics expert” by Dr. Custer, and my mentor keeps exposing me to opportunities related to that in research and business. Now that I think about it, looking back to a year ago, when I consulted with him about the master’s degree courses I should take, he suggested some related to data mining and business intelligence. @___@ Maybe he’s been nudging me to this direction all this time?

Ahhh the limitless potential for research and application! So much to learn! My brain has so much kilig rn. I feel like I’m living the dream! 😀 For the time being I will just enjoy designing and following my own training plan, and the joy of finally getting to dedicate 40 hours a week (excluding weekends) to something I am truly passionate about. ヽ(;▽;)ノ

The start of something big

The chemist collaborator messaged me this morning. WE GOT THE RESEARCH GRANT !!! 😀 😀 😀 The sleepless nights and lunch breaks I fully spent on the proposal paid off! That ends my days of being a computer slave… loljk. It’s good to be compensated for it, but I never really saw it as a chore, more like a secret hobby. It gives me so much fulfillment to work on cutting edge research projects like this and being able to collaborate with awesome scientists. ^_^ (no plans on being a professor though. I plan to dedicate myself to the actuarial industry til the foreseeable future XD).

2nd Sarihay Media Awards

The Sarihay Media Awards, organized by the Foundation for the Philippine Environment, “recognizes and showcases the country’s best reportage of environmental issues across traditional and digital media platforms in the past year.” Dr. Custer was chosen as a finalist for his Pinoy Scientist episode entry National Greening Program & the Magic of Mycorrhizae. (arguably one of the best episodes produced since it was also included in our KBP Golden Dove Awards entry) And I’m not surprised that he has been hailed the winner in the Best Radio Commentary category, for the second time now. XD

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In stark contrast with the Golden Dove Awards last April, this time Dr. Custer has a speech prepared. And it was both heartwearming and hilarious when he called on us one by one to highlight our uniqueness as a group and individual strengths: Dr. Guido as one of the Philippine representatives to the International Mathematical Olympiad (aptly called “olympics for math wizards”, haha), Dr. JD for being the “nag-iisang makatang siyentista”, and me for being a “big data analytics expert(???)”. Lol! Thanks for sharing the glory with us (but I’d rather not have the spotlight on myself next time, thanks!)

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The people behind Pinoy Scientist: Dexter (Custer’s supportive BFF), Dr. JD Agapito (Makatang Siyentista), Dr. Custer Deocaris (the main driving force and genius), Dr. Guido David (the cool math whiz in glasses), and (future Dr.) Pamela Sabado (youth representative/host-in-training)

The first media event where all four of us are present, yay! I have long dreamed of this moment. In an extremely introverted and antisocial way, I say this: I am so glad to be part of this group.

PS co-hosting experience


It was my first time to be on-air for Pinoy Scientist yesterday. Our guest scientists for the “Science, Technology and Society” episode were Dr. Sonia Jacinto of the UP Diliman Institute of Biology and Dr. Ginny Cruz, soon to be a DOST Balik Scientist.

Dr. Sonia talked about plant extracts in cancer research, while Dr. Ginny discussed chemisthesis, her work as a chemosensory neuroscientist, and the connection between Sci & Tech and society.



It turns out that the extent of my fear of public speaking happens to include broadcasting. Even Dr. Guido found that a bit ridiculous ’cause it doesn’t involve a physical audience, but… I can’t help but feel uptight about the whole thing because at the very core I am afraid of messing up. PS is a nationwide program after all (and the fact that my family would be tuning in just added to the pressure :(( ). I bypassed the liquor ban and drank a few shots of whiskey before the show but it didn’t completely dispel my nervousness.  I was so awkward and couldn’t even express myself well in Filipino. 😦 Good thing Dr. JD was very considerate and Deewai went with us to give some moral support. 😀

All that stress, and I’m going to have to experience it every other Sunday! D: Well, joining the team has always been my choice and I don’t regret it. I can’t watch the interview video without cringing at this point, but I’m glad that things will get better from here as I gradually improve (otherwise that would suck, haha). I just have to be able to prepare more for the interviews and learn to ask better questions.



PSG Updates

At last, the Pinoy Siyentista Group was able to hold a successful meeting, thanks to Dr. JD’s insistence and the tempting promise of free food (JK. but Dr.JD really made the effort to prepare a feast for us, and everything was delish). It was of utmost importance since we’ve been really uncoordinated as a group lately, unable to carry out some the projects that were planned for the election season.

I’m impressed that the meeting turned out to be more organized. Of course a lot of new projects were brought up, but this time Dr. Custer took down notes on the implementation brainstorming (I recorded the proceedings on my phone just in case). Our individual roles were given definition:

External affairs: Dr. Custer
General manager: Dr. JD
Business & promotion: Dr. Guido (though I’m pretty sure he’ll delegate some of his tasks to me)
Website: me (ugh, I can’t wait to have a “Dr.” title XD )

Concrete strategies to make the show flourish and win more mass media awards were discussed. And Dr. Custer, being an out-of-this-world thinker, proposed a few ideas exactly of that nature (secret, for the time being XD ).

It’s amusing how my academic “barkada” of 40+ year olds seem to be far more passionate about life than me, whose youth elicits a tinge of envy among them XD but their drive is, as always, amazingly inspirational. 😀


Pinoy Scientist’s first award!

It’s official, our radio show is now award-winning! * u * Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Custer and company, Pinoy Scientist bagged the title Best Science and Technology Radio Program at the prestigious 24th KBP Golden Dove Awards, along with the highly coveted shiny trophy that came with it.


That afternoon, Dr. Custer instructed the team to attend the event so Dr. JD asked me to accompany her. She literally dragged me away from Dr. Guido (who decided not to come in order to enjoy his birthday leave) to her car as it started to rain (which would’ve made for a dramatic scene had he chased after me XD ). Anyway, that incredibly long travel was worth it. I got to see Dr. Custer in the flesh once again, and he offered to make me a research assistant for a groundbreaking project in the works, which I accepted right off the bat because I want to work on something more scientific for my master’s degree (and partly because I was flattered that he sees value in me XD ).

According to Dr. Custer, the show has consistently been a finalist in the S&T program category for 3 years now. But we weren’t actually expecting to win because some of the nominees we met before the event told us that they were already informed of whether they won or not, whereas we didn’t have an idea, so we entertained the possibility that we weren’t informed because we didn’t win so we simply enjoyed the food (especially Dr. Custer, haha). I jokingly told him to craft a speech just in case. I readied my camera to capture that moment too, just in case.


So when Pinoy Scientist did get called onstage to receive the award, I was shocked that they wanted me to come with them as a representative as well. :O I was overwhelmed so I didn’t get to say a word in front of the mic. XD So was Dr. Custer, who thankfully managed to improvise something about this venture being a scientist’s adventure or something, and Dr. JD, who unfortunately forgot to say her tagline “Happiness”. The event is going to be televised so if you happen to catch it, you’ll see how awkward we were (then again, who expects scientists to do well in highly social situations? XD ).

We had a short photo session with the golden dove trophy (too bad Dr. Guido wasn’t around) and left right away to catch the last train rides, but not before crossing paths with Dr. Roque (my institute’s director and calculus professor), the driving force behind our rival S&T show. Dr. Custer and JD were super extra happy that night, inspired to improve the show for future mass media awards (note that Dr. Custer loves competitions XD ). Me, I’m just proud to be part of this award-winning venture and happy that I’ll be able to make a big contribution to the show too, really soon. 🙂