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  • Get to Know 10 Pinoy Wonder Women in Science, Math, and More!

    Learn about the lives of these awesome women in a series of children's books!
    by Therese Pelias .
Get to Know 10 Pinoy Wonder Women in Science, Math, and More!
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • There is no question our girls need more role models. And as much as we love the success of Wonder Woman, they need to know the different kinds of power they can wield in this world. 

    The National Book Development Board through its National Book Development Trust Fund Program was quick on its feet to show girls that our country has some astounding girl power in the male-dominated field of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics). They commissioned Dr. Didith T. Rodrigo, a full professor of Computer Science at the Ateneo de Manila University, to write children's books based on the lives of 10 notable female scientists. 

    Wonder Women of Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics. (From top, first column) Dr. Jinky Bornales, Dr. Nida Calumpong, (second column) Dr. Connie Ragasa, Dr. Jurgenne Primavera, (third column), Dr. Ninette De Las Peñas, Dr. Evelyn Taboada, Dr. Nina Ingle, Dr. Gemma Narisma (fourth column) Dr. Olga Nuñeza, and Dr. Giselle Concepcion.

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    These books are fantastic opportunities for your daughters (and sons!) to understand the world, protect it from destruction and, possibly transform it further.  

    Dr. Angela Nina Ann Rivera Ingle braves not only the forest by going on foot and hiking up a mountain, but she also dares to touch creepy creatures of the dark. How were she and her assistant able to do it? By setting up nets 10 meters high and patiently identifying them without harming or killing them at all. Dr. Ingle is well known for her 1992 publication, "A Key to the Bats of the Philippine Islands," the first publication of its kind that enabled scientists to identify the 70 indigenous bat species then known in the Philippines. 


    “Math is a language just like any other.” Yes, but in the case of Dr. Ma. Louise Antonette "Ninette" De Las Peñas she saw saw mathematical harmony on the pattern designs of the humble table mat! Known for her work on mathematical crystallography, color symmetry, and hyperbolic geometry, tilings, among others, Dr. De Las Peñas was the lone female and the only representative from Southeast Asia who was elected as a member of the Commission on Mathematical and Theoretical Crystallography in 2014.  

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    The curious mind of Dr. Evelyn B. Taboada has led to an innovative take on Cebu's most favorite fruit -- the mango. Whoever could even think that mango peels and seeds can still be turned into something else must only have one thing in mind: how to help save this world. Dr. Taboada had been conferred the World Intellectual Property Organization's gold medal for inventors twice for developing technologies related to the treatment of fruit wastes. 


    When Dr. Jurgenne Primavera and her companions found themselves lost in the dying Ibajay mangrove forest, she found herself saying, “I have to do something to save these trees.” The rampant depletion of the mangrove forests for fishponds and other industries propelled her to get allies from different places to work on rehabilitation and conservation work. For her efforts, she had been named as one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2008 and is now the chief mangrove scientific advisor of the Zoological Society of London. 

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    The story begins by catching our attention, “What does it take to be a world-class scientist?” Dr. Consolacion Ragasa shows us very well how by pouring in decades of patience, concentration and a whole lot of effort from honing her skills not only in the laboratory but also in scientific writing. Dr. Ragasa publishes 30 or more scientific research paper a year. She is interested in finding the chemical constituents and bioactive compounds in indigenous Philippine plants. 


    Dr. Concepcion, who is the vice president of Academic Affairs of the University of the Philippines, studies the ocean, yes, but she wants to discover the drugs that can be produced from bacteria found down there. Together with other collaborators, Dr. Concepcion works to find new treatments for pain, cancer, infections and other illnesses by studying the Philippines' rich marine resources.

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    Sometimes a calling can come from something unplanned, as Dr. Ging Nuñeza showcases in her adventures from riding the “Skylab” to the forests of Mindanao. The accidental biologist ends up saving caves for research and education and protecting all the resident animals found in them. She spearheads the research on Mindanao's fauna to encourage environmental protection.  


    Dr. Gemma Narisma’s work on climate change brings her to communities deeply affected by storms of catastrophic proportion. From her, girls can learn how flexibility, resilience and putting in every bit of scientific knowledge applicable to odd situations can make a difference in our environment today. In 2013, Dr. Narisma was named one of The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service from the TOWNS Foundation.

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    As a small girl, Dr. Nida Calumpong, whose works were named Best Higher Education Research Programs by the Commission on Higher Education in 2006 and 2009, almost drowned. The trauma didn't stop her from becoming a deep sea diver to study creatures that lived underneath the ocean’s surface. Dr. Calumpong's work lies in saving the seagrasses and seaweeds, which are important in holding the seabed down. 


    Dr. Jinky Bornales, presently the vice chancellor for Research and Extension at the Mindanao State University - Iligan Insitute of Technology, found herself searching for her place in the scientific sun and ended up in the wonderful field of Physics. She teaches and mentors many young, aspiring scientists because she worries about the shortage of women in the field. To teachers and parents she says, “We have to stimulate children’s curiosity. Don’t confine them to a single way of looking at things.”

    Each book is Php120 and available at Bookmark The Filipino Book Store. 


    Previously the chairperson of the Department of Child Development and Education at the College of Education in Miriam College, Therese Pelias continues to teach in the same department and is currently the project coordinator of the Growth, Upgrading and Resource Office under the same college. 

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