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PIA Press Release
2009/02/02

Feature: A female at the helm of Philippine R&D

By Fatima Avila, COMSTE

Quezon City (2 February) -- Appearances deceive where Rowena Cristina L. Guevara is concerned. Petite and elegant, usually clad in an unfussy knee-length skirt and top, she exudes the simplicity of her humble beginnings from Olongapo City. The unassuming exterior masks the achievements of this consistent scholar, co-author of more than twenty scientific publications, professor, program head of the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) consortium, and the first woman dean of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Slow-paced walking and a motherly countenance make it seem that all her activities are executed with the slightest effort. But that is where the comfortable impression of this woman ends.

A fervent passion for the piano from the age of 3, alongside being an honor student even in her elementary years, she has instilled in herself so early in life a sense of discipline that is unparalleled even by many adults at the prime of their age. This potential has propelled representatives from the Department of Science and Technology to approach her and encourage her to pursue her high school studies at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS), where students of deserving merit get top quality science education for free. There, she proved to most everyone that no one erred in the decision to single her out.

Dean Gev, as she is popularly called now, got her bachelorís degree in Electrical Engineering (1985) and her masterís degree in the same field (1990) from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, also on DOST scholarships. Then, she completed her PhD in Electrical Engineering (1997) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1998, she had her post-doctoral studies at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and in 2002, at the University of California, Berkeley. Indeed, just as a diligent piano player never ceases to practice the music sheet until she masterfully executes it, so did Dr. Guevara in her pursuit for excellence in her chosen field.

In 2004, Dr. Guevara became the dean of the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Engineering, being the first woman dean of the university. As a woman running a college, she says she pays more attention to detail, and has stricter implementation of policies and procedures. Steadfast in her aim to improve the quality of graduates, she very meticulously strives to improve teaching methods and resources and requires competence and good values from everybody.

Presently, while still holding the deanship of the College of Engineering, she is also the director of the National Engineering Center (NEC) in UP Diliman. Furthermore, she is the program head of the ERDT Consortium, which is a consortium of seven universities led by UP that aim to offer scholarships for masters and doctoral degrees in science and engineering. She is also a very active member of the Congressional Commission on Science & Technology and Engineering (COMSTE)ís Education Panel in pushing for the recommendation to legislate the extension of the ERDT. The ERDT Program was approved by President Arroyo in April 2007 with a P3.5Bn funding until 2010. Efforts to ensure its funding beyond 2010 are hoped for with great expectation from all stakeholders.

Fearless in voicing out her views, and perseverant in advocating her causes, Dean Gev remains to be one of the most distinguished women leaders of our time. And everyone can expect her to keep going until everything she works for and everything she stands for are played in a seamless melody. (PIA) [top]

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