Five BSU Students are STEM-Agri Scholars of Gokongwei Brothers Foundation

Five Benguet State University (BSU) students are recipients of STEM-Agri Scholarships from the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) in partnership with Universal Robina Corporation (URC). Both BSU and GBF committed support to the scholarship program and to the STEM-Agri scholars through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed between Benguet State University, represented by President Felipe Salaing Comila, and GBF, represented by Executive Director Grace R. Colet, at the BSU RDC Hall on February 7, 2023.

The STEM-Agri Scholarship is one of the GBF and URC’s initiatives to help in the innovation and sustainability of potato farming in the country and extended in 2022 to provide financial aid to children of potato farmer partners in the Cordillera Administrative Region. GBF is a registered non-stock, non-profit corporation established by the Gokongwei brothers in 1992 which aims to contribute to nation-building through education. The foundation focuses on advancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.  

Through its scholarship program, the foundation has selected five qualified BSU students enrolled in undergraduate programs in line with STEM and Agriculture. The scholars also are children of potato farmers in Benguet and Mountain Province enrolled in Agri-related courses at the University.

The qualified scholars are Second Year BS Agribusiness Student Chelsea Simeon Gaengan, Third-year BS Agriculture Student Febelia Calado Mat-an, First Year BS in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Student Marigold Domingo Bayeng, Third Year BS Agribusiness Razhel Joy Sali Jimenez, and Third Year BS Agriculture Student Sonia Maiyao Ossog, who were recognized during the MOA signing. 

Starting School Year 2022-2023, each scholar will receive a financial grant to subsidize school fees and allowances until graduation and is required to maintain the scholarship requirements set by the GBF. Scholars also have the opportunity to access scholar development programs and internship opportunities in the Gokongwei Group. 

Aligned with the GBF’s goal for national development, the scholars committed to doing their bests as catalysts for positive change in agriculture, including potato production and uplifting the lives of farmers. 

“As an extensionist someday, I will help uplift the lives of rural people, especially the farmers, such as how to increase their agricultural production,” Ms. Mat-an said. 

“Bilang isang agriculturist major in social science, maaari akong maka-invent ng any kind of fertilizer na makatulong sa production ng potato,” added Ms. Ossog. 

Meanwhile, President Comila and GBF Sr. Program Manager Graciela Mendoza both expressed gratitude for this endeavor and urged the scholars to pursue their dreams, become competitive in their chosen fields, and help the community, especially farmers, to achieve a better life. 

“We want you to be the best versions of yourselves. We want you to take your place in society. We want you to help your families,” stressed Ms. Mendoza. She also hoped the first five scholars from BSU serve as role models to future GBF STEM-Agri scholars. 

During the MOA signing, BSU Vice-President for Administration and Finance Atty. Allan Casaldo Sacpa, GBF Sr. Program Manager Graciela Mendoza, United Potato Producers of Benguet and Mountain Province General Manager Ardan P. Copas served as witnesses. In attendance also included Executive Assistant Atty. Andres Arnold W. Lampacan, College of Agriculture Dean Dr. Constantino T. Sudaypan, Office for Student Services (OSS) Director Dr. Angeli T. Austria, and other OSS staff members.//EMBawayan