Marine scientist Dr. Charissa Ferrera was named National Fellow of the 2018 L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding research on the water quality in coastal areas in Anda and Bolinao, Pangasinan.
Dr. Ferrera, who’s currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines, specializes in marine biogeochemistry—studying the relationship among chemistry, geology, and biology of the marine ecosystem.
Her research on the water quality of the two western towns in Pangasinan led her to discover the excessive amount of phosphorus in the water and sediments leading to phosphorus pollution, which is linked to harmful algal blooms or red tide.
Dr. Ferrera pushes for sustainable mariculture by advocating for effective science communication to help communities recover from the effects of phosphorus pollution.
During the awarding on June 5, Dr. Ferrera said she hopes to encourage women who want to become researchers to stay motivated and confident to ask.
“I see my win as an opportunity to create a ripple effect that will allow for more individuals to be inspired to pursue careers in science,” she said.
The FWIS fellowship aims to recognize women scientists and encourage a new generation of women to pursue careers in science.
The awarding ceremony marked a milestone for the Philippines as FWIS has been reintroduced in the country this year.
“The L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science program was founded with the mission to ensure that critical research across various fields in science takes full advantage of the intelligence, creativity, and passion of women,” Carmel Valencia, corporate communication manager of L’Oreal Philippines, said during the awarding ceremony.
According to Valencia, the Laureates, Fellows, and awardees across various fields, who are contributing to the advancement of science, are proof that women in science have the power to change the world.
Along with Valencia, L’Oreal Philippines managing director Thibault de Saint Victor, UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific director Shahbaz Khan, and National Academy of Science and Technology president Dr. Rhodora Azanza took to the stage to tackle the multifaceted challenges of gender inequality in the field of science, recognize women’s contributions across various fields, and underscore the critical need of their full participation in driving the sustainable development agenda.
The event also featured distinguished panel speakers and women leaders from the science field, which included Dr. Didith Rodrigo, Dr. Laura David, Dr. Marieta Sumagaysay, and Dr. Aletta Yñiguez. The panel of women scientists shared their views and experiences as a woman in the field of science, thus encouraging young women to enter the field.
The ceremony was indeed more than just awarding one Fellow but recognizing women in all fields of science as people capable of change and power.
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