The department usually starts with many female freshmen but as the school season advances, only few female students are left to match wits with the male population who appears to have better aptitude in numbers.
We are happy that thus far, our eldest daughter Arizza has survived the crunch at Marlboro Country where she is now on her fourth year as an industrial engineering student with a grading average of a Magna Cum Laude. We are praying she does not fall head over heels-in-love, get sick or burnout to fall off that high grade average.
So far, so good. In being a number-cruncher, Arizza has clearly overtaken my limited talents as I am so terribly poor with numbers and anything related to them. I am better with my analytical skills, argumentation and deductive reasoning but have a poor memory. I am often embarrassed to easily forget names, faces of people and facts.
On the contrary, Arizza appears to have a photographic memory that she clearly got from my father Armando Nunez Nocum and my wife’s father Salapuddin Sahi, a math teacher in Siasi. My wife Ann is good with numbers too.
Still, I am proud to say Arizza somehow got the love for writing from me, my father too and my lolo Rodolfo Nocum. Well, almost. You see, all of the three of them are good in grammar, but not me. I am not only bad in grammar but careless in my writings too. Maybe, I’ve spent so much time swimming with the carabaos when my public elementary school teachers were teaching grammar in the boondocks of Zamboanga City.
While some people are either good in numbers and bad in English and writing or good in writing but poor in numbers (as I am), Arizza and my dad Armando and Lolo Rodolfo seem to be good in both. I envy such kind of God-given talents denied of me.
In fact, weeks after Arizza won the prestigious Magsaysay Award Essay Writing Contest, she also helped the UP Team of engineers and statisticians land second place in the National Statistics Competition. I think the Ateneo team won that contest but Arizza won in the individual category. Winning both essay and statistics contests simply blows my mind!
Arizza seems to have done it again by being chosen by UP and the prestigious Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand as one of the country’s representatives to the 13-country Asian Engineering Student Network (AESN) Camp 2015. Arizza is the lone female delegate in the five-man Marlboro Country team that left Manila yesterday for week-long engineering meet.
This development comes after Arizza was chosen to be among three Philippine student representatives in the Southeast Asian Global Undergraduate Leadership Programme (SEAGULL) sponsored by the Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Institute for Societal Leadership (ISL).
SEAGULL brings together 20 student leaders from 11 Southeast Asian countries who will be trained in various Asian countries in the coming months to be the next generation of leaders in the Asian Region.
Arizza returned Saturday just to re-pack her things, have dinner and lunch with us before leaving for the AESN meet in Thailand – quickly switching roles from an academician and NGO leader in Singapore into a number-crunching geek in Thailand.
In a letter to Arizza, Chulalongkorn Dean of Engineering Bundhit Eua-Arporn, Pd. D. said the AESN Camp will see the gathering of 40 “top engineering undergraduate students from Asia and Oceania” who will be trained and prepared for the “opening of the (Association of Southeast Asia Nations) Economic Community in 2015.”
Note that this is the year when most trade and economic barrier among Asian and Oceania nations will be opened to foster better trade, commerce and growth for the Asian Region.
Accompanying Arizza in the AESN Camp are:
1. Mr. Dominic Aily G. Ecat, BS Industrial Engineering
2. Mr. Joaquin Vicente C. Ferrer, BS Civil Engineering
3. Mr. James Renier T. Domingo, BS Industrial Engineering
4. Mr. Kenji M. Miyazaki, BS Mechanical Engineering
They are accompanied by Ms. Joanna Resurreccion, Ph.D., the associate dean for student affairs of UP’s College of Engineering.
The 13 countries participating in the Asian engineering meet include Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand (host country).
But if you ask Arizza, she'll always say that her success comes from back-breaking hard work. We've seen how she and younger sister Ashia practically gave up their childhood for their individual passions -- academics for Arizza and junior golf for Ashia.
If that is the yardstick for success, then I'll say I'd prefer to have poor grammar but rich memories of fun and carefree childhood spent swimming all day in the river near our public elementary school, chasing frogs in the rice fields and fishing for hito and catching shrimps.