Under a Pile of LAB Requirements & Reports


A letter from one of our graduates:  Arthien Lovell Pelingen – SAS Ai 2012

Sunday, February 01, 2015

To: The SAS Ai, Inc. Family

From: Arthien Lovell Pelingen – SAS Ai, Inc Scholar and graduate 2012, now a Junior at the University of the Philippines (UP), Baguio Campus

Whoa... February 2015 already?
Whoa… February 2015 already?

Greetings! I just flipped the calendar to change the month and February 2015 stared me in the eye. Whoa! I realized it’s been a long time since my last update and I am deeply sorry for taking this long.

My Junior Year as a Biology Major started last August (2014). Second semester recently started and everything’s getting serious now. I can’t imagine how my Senior Year will be like. Anyways, the major subjects I am now enrolled in are:

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Limnology

BIOLOGYAlong with minor subjects, I think I’m going to lose weight again this semester due to a pile of laboratory reports and nerve-racking examinations, oral reports, etc. However, there’s a bright side to studying biology. We get to enjoy learning outside the classroom.

Actually, we’re about to do fieldwork in Sagada, Mt. Province, famous for the Hanging Coffins, to study inland water bodies there. It’s pretty exciting, right?

Oh, speaking of fieldwork, I would like to share my learning-outside-the-classroom-experiences and some studies my classmates and I worked on for the past semesters. I want to share these to give you a glimpse of what people enrolled in a Biology course actually do.

Not all stars are in the sky. This is my favorite sea star commonly known as Blue Starfish, Linckia laevigata.
Not all stars are in the sky. This is my favorite sea star commonly known as Blue Starfish, Linckia laevigata.

First, in my Invertebrate Zoology class, we did fieldwork at Bolinao, Pangasinan. We specifically studied the invertebrate species such as sea stars, sea cucumbers, corals, clams, and sea hares. I can’t describe how amazed I was when I learned all about them.

Second, we did our Plant Taxonomy class in Atok, Benguet where we collected plant species of our choice. We tried to name, classify and describe these plant specimens as an addition to the Herbarium of our teacher. (I forgot to take a picture of the finished product.)

Third, in the Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy class, we dissected a cat and a shark (the species of shark dissected is not the endangered one). And that’s when I felt like a doctor since we were dissecting actually live animals. We just felt sorry for the sacrificed cats and sharks for this kind of learning.

Misty Mountains. We were roaming around the area of study which is near the non-polluted river. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)
Misty Mountains. We were roaming around the area of study which is near the non-polluted river. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)

Fourth, we did Parasitology, which I enjoyed as we dealt with so many kinds of parasites. And that’s when I learned the founding of the Tagudin General Hospital and Capillariasis Center. An epidemic caused by Capillaria Philippinensis took over and overwhelmed the vast areas of Tagudin and nearby towns.

Fifth, we did Plant Anatomy and had to do the required Case Study entitled Comparative Xylem Analysis on Imperata cylindrica from Polluted and Non-polluted Rivers conducted at Tuba, Benguet and La Trinidad. We were deep into real research – from problem formulation to data gathering, to the analysis of the results. It was really a tough a job, honestly.

The Search. I and my friend trying to find different species of algae in the middle of the sea.
The Search.
I and my friend trying to find different species of algae in the middle of the sea.

Sixth, we did our Phycology class which made me more curious about marine life. When I took this subject course, I learned that “ar-arusip,” a seaweed edible in the Philippines, is actually an alga. I started a great interest to algae since our fieldwork in Bacnotan, La Union.

Pagudpud. These are my colleagues since first year. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)
Pagudpud. These are my colleagues since first year. (I’m the leftmost one in the photo)

Lastly, our Ecology Class last semester took us to Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. Its beauty is jaw dropping. (I suggest you visit this place when you have time for a vacation in the Philippines. I’m sure you’ll feel happy as you set foot on its white sands.) We enjoyed a 2D/2N-stay in a hotel beach resort. I can tell that this is the most fun-filled fieldwork I ever had.

Bangui Windmills. One of the advantages of having fieldworks is the fun of exploring the place itself because of the side trips.
Bangui Windmills. One of the advantages of doing
fieldwork is the fun of exploring the place itself and the attendant side trips.

What I’m preparing for now is my Summer Practical Training Program in June-July this year as required by the Department of Science and Technology Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) for all of their scholars to apply their chosen fields in a real setting. I’m considering:

  • Philippine Rice Institute in Nueva Ecija,
  • Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in La Union,
  • Institute of Biology in University of the Philippines Diliman and
  • National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology also in UP Diliman.

 

Portrait of a future Biologist.  There is only one “ME,” Arthien Lovell Pelingen at your service!
Portrait of a future Biologist. There is only one “ME,” Arthien Lovell Pelingen at your service!

 

 

I like to have as many options as possible to learn more career ideas and to stimulate  interest into possible endeavors in the future.

Thank you very much for reading this letter!  God Bless you all and the SAS Ai organization!

Farewell!

Sincerely,

Arthien Lovell Pelingen – SAS Ai 2012