By Roy Mabasa
The United States’ National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has chosen a Filipina graduate student and faculty member of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) Biological Sciences Department to conduct research as a short-term scholar at its facilities in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
MMSU Faculty Jessica Asuncion will carry out research in the Biomolecular Measurement Division at NIST alongside Dr. Concepcion Remoroza, a Filipina research chemist.
According to the US Embassy in Manila, the short-term research scholarship was the result of a 2019 mission trip to the US by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines EducationUSA office designed to develop links between U.S. and Philippine higher education institutions.
“After my short-term research training at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, my goal is to go back home to the Philippines and share the knowledge and skills I have learned with my colleagues, students, and local agencies through seminars and workshops,” said Asuncion.
In 2019, MMSU President and Fulbright alumna Shirley Agrupis and an EducationUSA Philippines advisor met with NIST representatives to discuss collaborations in advancing innovation in the biological sciences through technology
Agrupis said that, aside from offering the highest standards of education, “U.S. universities and agencies promote quality cultural experiences as well which are vital in the holistic development of the students.”
NIST is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science and standards to enhance citizens’ quality of life and the bioeconomy.
Just recently, CHED and EducationUSA signed a joint statement on U.S.-Philippine Higher Education Cooperation that has resulted in their intensified efforts to support academic and cultural exchanges, capacity development of university officials, and university collaborations.
Among their successful collaborations include the New York Film Academy’s master class on directing at the Ateneo de Manila University; A lecture at MMSU on ethanol expansion and climate change by Dr. Marcellus Caldas, assistant provost of international faculty collaboration at Kansas State University; University of California Los Angeles graduate student-led training on anthropology at MMSU; Texas A&M University’s visiting professor collaboration with MMSU on renewable energy engineering; and Polytechnic University of the Philippines’ international conference on peace education and indigenous peoples studies in partnership with Central Washington University.