SESAM Alumni hails integrative and interdisciplinary approach for environmental science

SESAM AWARDEES 2017 copyDr. Digna O. Manzanila (left), Dr. Rusty G. Abanto (middle) and Ms. Indira L. Widmann (right) were the 2017 Outstanding alumni of SESAM.

The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) held its Alumni Homecoming Symposium at the SESAM Lecture Hall, October 10, 2017 with the theme “Strengthening Environmental Science as an Integrative Science”. This symposium is part of the celebration of the UPLB 99th Loyalty Day and Alumni Homecoming.

This year’s SESAM outstanding alumna for research and development is Dr. Digna O. Manzanilla, PhD Environmental Science, 2001 and a former Scientist II, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).  Dr. Manzanilla said environmental science is integrative science, since it combines different disciplines and it is systems oriented. “Environmental changes are at a rapid phase and it is more challenging” Dr. Manzanilla stressed.

On the other hand, Ms. Indira Lacerna-Widmann, MS Environmental Science 1997 and the Chief Operating Officer, Katala Foundation, Inc. is the outstanding alumna for wildlife conservation and community empowerment. The Katala Foundation is the leading NGO that protects the Philippine Cockatoo, which is mostly found in Palawan. “It is really hard to implement conservation programs, since it is not top priority of the government like providing food for the hungry, but there is always hope protecting endangered species… we work with communities and protect the Philippine Cockatoo on site”, Ms. Widmann said.

Dr. Rusty G. Abanto, PhD Environmental Science, 2010, is the 2017 SESAM outstanding alumnus for Institutional Leadership. Dr. Abanto is currently the president of the Camarines Norte State College. Dr. Abanto said his training at SESAM helped him to become a better administrator as he was taught on how to integrate systematically. “Environmental science is interdisciplinary, it means you need another science to solve a problem” Dr. Abanto said. An educator for more than 20 years, Dr. Abanto noticed that environmental education is just seriously offered during college. “I noticed that environmental education is just given to a child once he entered college, but it should have started much earlier, in the basic or elementary level” he added.

Dr. Decibel F. Eslava, Dean, SESAM thanked all the SESAM alumni who visited and paid homage to their alma mater, as well the faculty, staff and students who helped in the preparations for the loyalty day and alumni homecoming activities. 

The alumni recognition and awarding ceremonies is in partnership with the SESAM Alumni Association, led by its President Dr. Rico C. Ancog. SESAM Alumni Association is an organization of SESAM graduates aimed at fostering a spirit of loyalty and professionalism. It aims to champion the strengthening of environmental science as a field of discipline and practice. Annually, SESAM and its alumni association selects distinguished alumni who excelled in their respective fields and practice. The awarding is in-line with the celebration of UPLB Loyalty Day.

Hosted by Engr. Alvin Joseph Dolores and Ms. Unice Roa, MS Environmental Science students and members of the UPLB Environmental Science Society, the symposium was attended by more than 100 SESAM alumni, faculty, staff and students.