Diversifying learners' skillsets increasingly becomes the status quo as we maneuver in a fast-paced environment. With that, the need to provide motivation, mentorship, and guidance were tackled by Dr. Glenn Gregorio, director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), at the Fireside Chat with Alumni titled "Transcending to greater heights toward scientific progress in a VUCA society" on 20 March 2023 held via Zoom.
In her opening message, Dr. Vachel Gay Paller, director, University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB), emphasized that IBS has engaged alumni as part of its 40th anniversary. She assured the audience that the chats are the institute's way of inspiring students through the alumni's success stories.
When asked what made him decide to pursue a career in plant breeding, Dr. Gregorio recalled that his love for plants and dream of becoming a genetic engineer pushed him to study and deepen his knowledge on manipulating plant species for human needs.
Dr. Gregorio earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Master of Science in Plant Breeding, and Doctor of Philosophy in Genetics from UPLB. His extensive work and research interest include the development of micronutrient-dense rice varieties for human health and climate change-ready saline- and flood-tolerant rice varieties.
The SEARCA director added that IBS faculty members must collaborate and engage their PhD students in instruction and research experience with advanced research institutions and universities to produce high-quality research publications.
"It is in these small and personal avenues apart from their coursework where these young scientists can learn the beauty and science of biology more than the four walls of the classroom," elucidated by Dr. Gregorio.
He ended his sharing by emphasizing communication, friendly competition, and collaboration as the three Cs a VUCA-driven society must equip its learners and educators.
"Let us step up and step out of our comfort zones. Immerse our students with our alumni and altogether make a conducive space such as lounges or pocket garden hubs for knowledge sharing and exchange. At the end of the day, we need to steer the discussions on relevant issues and matters to expose our students, faculty, staff, and alumni to the cutting-edge developments in the fields of biology and even business," concluded Dr. Gregorio.
Joining Dr. Gregorio (PhD Genetics '97) during the Fireside Chat were Dr. Romeo Batacan Jr. (BS Biology '96), Dr. Jonathan Cabrera (BS Biology '97), and Dr. Arvin Diesmos (BS Biology '92 and MS Wildlife Studies '98).