SEARCA commended the 24 Full MS and PhD SEARCA scholars and 10 PhD Research scholars, who completed their graduate studies in Fiscal Year 2021-2022 through a Testimonial Ceremony held last 4 August 2022 on blended mode. Twelve scholars together with their families attended the event at the SEARCA Headquarters and the rest of the graduates joined via Zoom platform. Out of the 24 full scholars, 8 were supported by SEARCA’s collaboration with the German Academic Exchange Service or DAAD; Nagoya University, Japan; and the Philippine Carabao Center.
In her welcome message, Dr. Maria Cristeta N. Cuaresma, Senior Program Head for Education and Collective Learning Department, noted the determination of the scholars to complete their studies despite the ongoing pandemic and expressed that their SEARCA family is proud of their accomplishments and academic achievements. She admonished the new graduates “to use the knowledge and skills gained while you were SEARCA scholars to change the world, do it in your own little ways, one day at a time…. and to keep in mind and in your heart, that once a SEARCAn, always a SEARCAn.” Similarly, Dr. Cuaresma acknowledged SEARCA’s institutional partners such as the universities which served as study posts of scholars, university coordinators, and the funding partners/donors of SEARCA.
Prof. Joselito G. Florendo, Deputy Director for Administration, gave an inspirational message and recognized the efforts of scholars in completing their graduate studies. Mr. Florendo also emphasized that we are a family here in SEARCA, who are happy to have supported the scholars. He mentioned that SEARCA is still willing to support and work with them in the next chapter of their professional careers.
For the first time, SEARCA awarded a Special Citation to a scholar for her significant academic achievements. The awardee is a DAAD-SEARCA scholar who obtained a general point average of a perfect 4.0; published 7 papers as lead author in refereed journals; and presented 4 others in scientific forums during her incumbency as a SEARCA scholar. She also presented at the ATMI-ASEAN High Level Policy Forum and was chosen as a Chrysalis Award finalist, meant to contribute to Malaysia’s Science, Technology, Innovation, and Economic ecosystem. The award was given to Ms. Shahidah MD Nor who pursued PhD in Horticulture at Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Based on academic grade point average, duration of studies in the degree program, papers presented in international conferences, publications in scientific journals, academic awards or recognitions received, and other curricular activities and engagements, SEARCA awarded the Outstanding Masters and Doctoral scholars for the SEARCA scholarship graduates of FY 2021-2022 to:
- Ma. Genesis T. Catindig-Reyes, MS in Rural Sociology, University of the Philippines Los Baños, and
- Tuan Syaripah Najihah Tuan Mohd Razali, PhD in Agricultural Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Special Awards were also given to the scholars who completed their degrees on time.
- Ma. Genesis T. Catindig-Reyes, Philippines, MS in Rural Sociology
- Thant Mon Paing, Myanmar, MS in Animal Science
- Issaree Supnui, Thailand, PhD Extension Education
- Nguyen Thi Quynh, Vietnam, PhD in Agronomy
- Tuan Syaripah Najihah Tuan Mohd Razali, Malaysia, PhD in Agricultural Technology
The Director of SEARCA, Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, who joined via Zoom, congratulated the graduates and awardees. He told the new graduates to enjoy the moment, but when they go back to their respective countries or institutions, they must level up and make a difference in their country, serving as frontliners in education and in agriculture.
On behalf of the graduates, Ms. Ma. Genesis T. Catindig-Reyes and Ms. Tuan Syaripah Najihah, expressed their sincerest gratitude to SEARCA for being their second family, for its unwavering guidance, assistance, and patience. With the knowledge they gained, Ms. Reyes summoned her fellow scholars to help educate and train the next generation, especially those not on the same playing field. She ended her message with a challenging question to all, “How can we be of better service to the ‘last, the least, and the lost’ of our nations, especially in the new normal era?” Likewise, Ms. Najihah pointed out that together with the other SEARCA alumni, she promised to give back to the community through their research in agriculture.
Dr. Asdi Agustar, the newly appointed President of the Regional SEARCA Alumni Association (RSAA), administered the RSAA Oath of Membership and delivered the closing message. Dr. Agustar said that with the new SEARCA graduates, SEARCA has succeeded in adding several scientists and researchers in the ASEAN countries to use their field of specializations in contributing to the development of agriculture in the region.