Written by Keziah Suzaine W. Francisco
Every year, a deluge of students apply for the scholarship offered by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Recently, the Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) announced 2,196 passers under the Junior Level Science Scholarship (JLSS) Program.
In the region, DOST XI has recorded 247 JLSS applicants, but only 72 were qualified. The number has significantly increased since there were only 57 qualifiers out of the 218 examinees in 2015.
The journey of every DOST scholar does not stop at taking the scholarship exams. They have to maintain their grades and upon graduation, they are required to render service to the country for a period equivalent to the number of years they enjoyed the scholarship.
In 2016, DOST XI has produced 11 scholars who graduated with honors out of the 54 scholar graduates. One of those is Ms. Kim Dianne Ligue, who graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of the Philippines Mindanao
A graduate of BS Applied Mathematics, Ligue narrated that she didn’t know any of the scholarships offered by DOST.
Some of her classmates were already DOST scholars. She really wanted to be one. Upon knowing that the agency will have another scholarship exam, she immediately grabbed the opportunity.
“I prepared for the DOST exam more than the UPCAT,” Ligue said.
Consequently, she passed the exam and started to enjoy the scholarship in her sophomore year.
Crunching numbers was a piece of cake for her. She didn’t have a hard time maintaining her grades as she was passionate about mathematics.
“Choose the course you want to do for the rest of your life,” said Ligue, reiterating that if you are passionate about the course you are taking, it wouldn’t be too difficult for you to do anything.
When asked what it takes to be a successful DOST scholar, Ligue only has this to say:
“Being a successful DOST Scholar, you do not have to graduate Magna Cum Laude. The fact na scholar ka karon, successful ka na.”
She said that because of her scholarship, she has helped her parents in many ways.
Meanwhile, Engr. Kevin Cabante, a DOST scholar graduate who placed fourth in the 2016 Electrical Engineering Board Exam, mentioned in an interview in September that being a DOST scholar was challenging.
“[It was] both challenging and happy, kay kailangan mag maintain ug grades kay lahi ang prestige as a DOST scholar,” said Cabante.
If he could give an advice to all the DOST scholars, he said, “Aim high. If you fail, [still] aim high.”
This year’s qualifiers of the JLSS exams had an orientation and contract signing at the University of Southeastern Philippines-Obrero campus. There were also orientations conducted for the scholars in Davao del Norte, Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, and Compostela Valley Province.
The DOST hopes that the scholars will eventually pursue science and technology careers not just to increase the numbers of scientists and engineers, but also to strengthen the country’s capabilities in S&T through their knowledge and expertise.