Can we find another evidence of life in other planets?
“Can we find another evidence of life in other planets?” posed Dr. Stofan.  She informed her young listeners the current studies being conducted by NASA.

“Women in Science,” this is the theme of Dr. Stofan’s visit to the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) at the Main Campus last August 28, 2015.  Dr. Ellen Stofan is currently the Chief Scientist of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America.  More than 150 students from different regional campuses of the PSHS System attended this rare opportunity to hear a top NASA official talk.

Pisay students were all ears as Dr. Stofan talked about planetary studies conducted by NASA.
Pisay students were all ears as Dr. Stofan talked about planetary studies conducted by NASA.

Entitled, “NASA Science: Looking Outward, Inward and Homeward,” Dr. Stofan briefly discussed the activities, past, present and future studies being conducted by NASA with the aim of looking for another habitable planet.  “Can we find another evidence of life in other planets?” posed Dr. Stofan.  “We are studying Mars, if there is a chance of life in this planet,” she revealed.  She also mentioned about climate change particularly on what is happening in the poles that greatly affect the earth’s climate.  She summarized her talk by mentioning the main goals of NASA which are to innovate, explore, discover and inspire.

Surround yourselves with people who believe in you; try lots of things; talk to people involved in the field you are interested in; and ask counsel from your school to help you figure out what career you want to pursue
"Surround yourselves with people who believe in you; try lots of things; talk to people involved in the field you are interested in; and ask counsel from your school to help you figure out what career you want to pursue,” was Dr. Stofan's advise to the future women scientists.

Dr. Stofan with selected girl students of Pisay.
Dr. Stofan with selected girl students of Pisay.

With the intent of encouraging and inspiring future women scientists, Dr. Stofan held an intimate talk with selected 14 PSHS girl students at a separate room after her talk.  In this close conversation, she inspired the students by sharing her experiences on how she was able to overcome the challenges of being a working mother of three (3).  She also underlined the importance of surrounding oneself with people who believes and affirms one’s interest and goals in life.  For those who are still finding what career they want to pursue, she advised, “try lots of things; talk to people involved in the field you are interested in; and ask counsel from your school to help you figure out what you want to pursue.

Are women needed in science?  Dr. Stofan has this to say, “It is not about numbers, it is about diversity.”  “It is important to believe in yourself and that be convinced that you belong in science,” she said.

Dr. Stofan was accompanied by Mr. Richard Bakewell, Economic Officer of the Environment, Science, Technology & Health, and Ms. Maria Theresa Villa, Environment Science and Technology and Health Specialist, U.S. Embassy, Manila.

Dr. Maryann Go, Neuro-scientist and PSHS Alumna Batch 2000, and Dr. Ellen Stofan, NASA Chief Scientist.
Dr. Maryann Go, Neuro-scientist & PSHS Alumna Batch 2000, and Dr. Ellen Stofan, NASA Chief Scientist.

Before Dr. Stofan’s talk, Dr. Mary Ann Go, a well-known neuroscientist and PSHS Alumna from Batch 2000, inspired the students by sharing her academic and career journey.  She encouraged the students to study for free by availing of scholarships available, she being a DOST Scholar from secondary all the way to her graduate studies.  After her master’s degree, she was able to avail a scholarship for her Ph.D. at the Australian National University.  She also shared how she coped with rejections from the universities that she applied with.  “Rejection is part of life.  Just believe that God is always in control.  If you are rejected and not accepted, maybe it’s because it’s not really meant for you and that God has better plans for you,” she said.  Dreaming to become a Nobel prize winner someday, Dr. Go encouraged the young minds to keep trying and never give up; be tenacious as science takes tenacity; and be excellent by doing the best you can and with what you have.

PSHS System Executive Director, Dr. Larry L. Cabatic talking with Dr. Ellen Stofan.
PSHS System Executive Director, Dr. Larry L. Cabatic talking with Dr. Ellen Stofan.

PSHS Executive Director Dr. Larry L. Cabatic, and Deputy Executive Director Dr. Rod Allan A. De Lara, personally welcomed the visitors and hailed their accomplishments in science.  The PSHS System - Office of the Executive Director in collaboration with PSHS-Main Campus headed by Director Virginia Andres hosted the event.  (mrollet)

 

 

Awarding of the Certificate of Appreciation to Dr. Stofan.
PSHS Executive Director Dr. Larry Cabatic, assisted by Deputy Executive Director Dr. Rod Allan A. de Lara, awarding the Certificate of Appreciation to Dr. Stofan.

Dr. Cabatic, happy to receive a memorabilia from Dr. Stofan.
Dr. Cabatic, happy to receive a memorabilia from Dr. Stofan.