Written by: Rhebner E. Arocena
Edited by: Marilyn C. del Barrio
Published: August 18, 2021
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Chemical Engineering held its first virtual testimonial program last August 5, 2021 via zoom to congratulate 50 fresh graduates, of which Francis John Raymundo was recognized as the class valedictorian.
DChE Chair, Dr. Monet Conception M. Detras gave her welcome remarks by acknowledging the hard work, perseverance and determination of the graduates to pursue Chemical Engineering with the help of their families and friends. She also recognized the dedication of the faculty and staff to ensure success of the graduates in their academics, through valuable assistance and compassion. Moreover, Dr. Detras encouraged them to sustain their hunger for knowledge which, together with skills and virtues, can contribute creative solutions to national and global issues. Likewise, she advised them to pursue higher degree such as the MS program offered by DChE, which can be taken under the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) Scholarship.
The current PIChE National President, Engr. Maricris Vines also delivered her inspirational message starting with her journey as a BS ChE student, when she had multiple jobs to help her family and to support herself while maintaining rank in her classes. In her first decade as a chemical engineer, Engr. Vines learned that besides skills and knowledge, putting your heart into your work is the key to achieving one’s goal. She also shared how she created her career vision, which was rooted in having a purpose, intrinsic motivation, commitment, and happy heart, and embracing change so that she can hold on despite failing to achieve some of her expectations. “Success can only grow from failure,” she said. She emphasized that one must seek guidance from mentors to cope with failures and lack of motivation and remember that who succeeds is not the one who is strong and intelligent, but the one who is responsive to change.
After the inspirational message, DChE’s very own Professor Emeritus, Dr. Jovita L. Movillon sent her felicitation to the graduates. She congratulated the parents, family members, friends and sponsors who supported and inspired the graduates. She implored the graduates to keep their heads in the clouds while keeping their feet on the ground. Dr. Movillon underscored that one must have a balanced life to be truly happy in life. She shared the Japanese concept “ikigai” that combines profession, passion, mission and vocation to have a reason for being. “To find your ikigai, you must do what you are good at, what you love, what you can be paid for and what the world needs,” she said. Dr. Movillon added that to find true joy and happiness is to let our spirit communicate with the Spirit of God. Lastly, she quoted Psalms 144:15 which says, “Happy is the people whose God is the Lord.”
DChE’s Administrative Staff, Ms. Rodora “Tita Otie” S. Calibo was also given a chance to congratulate the graduates. She shared that in her 18 years of service in the department, she has heard different kinds of stories from students who used their challenges to motivate themselves in pursuing their goals. She also expressed her joy to see them reap the fruits of their hard work. Lastly, she reminded the graduates that they should believe in their dreams, that they are made for great things and that they should not forget to give thanks to God.
Two students from the graduating class were also given the privilege to deliver their messages. On behalf of the UPLB Society of Chemical Engineering Students (SChemES) and Alliance of Chemical Engineering Students (AChES), Ms. Dimaano and Ms. Gasacao respectively thanked the department for supporting their activities. They sent their gratitude to the faculty for their sacrifices to train, mold and prepare them for professional life. Ms. Dimaano highlighted DChE’s thesis grant which financially helped some students to finish their theses. Moreover, she emphasized the vast opportunity for Chemical Engineers in different fields, encouraged her fellow graduates to find the job that can make them happy, and urged them to serve the people and society. Meanwhile, Ms. Gasacao reminisced how some students changed their goal from becoming the valedictorian to being able to graduate on time. Ms. Gasacao congratulated the parents, and parent figures, for the achievements of the graduates. Lastly, she implored the graduates to keep their aspirations close and attain them, as they represent the chemical engineering profession and the University of the Philippines.
Finally, Mr. Francis John Raymundo started his valedictory address by urging his fellow graduates to applaud themselves because their hardships and sacrifices have come to fruition. Seeing the stress and sufferings of her mother in Masbate, Mr. Raymundo promised to do all that he can to help them. Passing UPCAT for BS Mathematics, he tried to support himself by applying for a scholarship and tutoring students in Chemistry, Physics and Engineering courses. After a year, he shifted to Chemical Engineering, since he is good in Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics and that graduates of this field receive high salaries.
However, Mr. Raymundo said that he was once not able to see himself in the chemical engineering profession when he realized how hard BS ChE is. Nevertheless, through the guidance of his professors, he was able to appreciate the profession and started to realize what he should do after graduation. “Mahirap mag-aral dito sa UP,” he underscored. Mr. Raymundo reminisced his hardships when he had to take various exams in a day or a week. The pandemic was also an additional challenge for him because of lack of devices for online learning and daily power interruption. Fortunately, he was able to get help from professors, classmates and friends. He also urged the graduates to use their education to fulfill their mission and fight against social issues which hinder personal and societal growth. He added that they are the key to strengthening the foundation of Science and Chemical Engineering. Lastly, Mr. Raymundo said that all these things will be achieved if they also take care of themselves.
A video presentation reminiscing the experiences of some students during their stay in DChE was also shown. The program was concluded through a closing remark from Dr. Ramon Christian P. Eusebio. He reiterated the challenges faced by the graduates especially when adjusting to the new system of education. He commended the success of the graduates amidst the challenges of the pandemic. Dr. Eusebio directed the graduates to be also adaptive and resilient based on the changes in their surroundings. Lastly, he urged them to learn to be independent in decision making while considering their parents’ advices, their learnings in the university and the guidance of the Lord. “Your decision reflects who you are as a person. Only you can define yourself. It will not be an easy route. Just take it and enjoy the journey. With your brilliant minds and attitudes, there will be a great future for our country,” Dr. Eusebio underscored.