AIT #ProudViscan Graduates 2024

This is another win for our beloved VSU as two #ProudViscan alumni graduated with flying colors in one of Thailand’s renowned universities offering graduate programs.

Engr. Marichu F. Itang and Engr. John Christian L. Gaviola completed their master’s degree at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Class of 2024 with recognition as they both successfully performed best in their respective programs.

Engr. Itang received The John A. Hrones Prize for her outstanding academic performance in the Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (RS GIS) program, while Engr. Gaviola earned The Chin Fung Kee Prize for his excellent academic achievement in the Geotechnical and Earth Resources (GTE) program at AIT. They both received a 200 USD cash prize for these awards. 

Both joined AIT in August 2022 with full scholarships supporting their two-year master’s degrees. With Engr. Itang funded by the Asian Development Bank and Engr. Gaviola is supported by the Department of Science and Technology under the Foreign Graduate Scholarship Program (DOST-FGS).

Ms. Itang finished her bachelor’s degree in geodetic engineering in 2016 and Mr. Gaviola obtained his undergraduate degree in civil engineering in 2019, respectively.

Aside from Engr. Itang and Engr. Gaviola, there were other Viscans who were notable graduates of AIT, including Dr. Donald Ugsang, Prof. Roberto C. Guarte, Prof. Arthur It. Tambong, and Dr. Caesar Joventino M. Tado. They were also honored with the Outstanding Viscan Award during the VSU Centennial Founding Anniversary.

AIT_Grad_1.jpgPhoto with AIT Alumni President and #ProudViscan, Dr. Donald Ugsang

Both Engr. Itang and Engr. Gaviola mentioned how AIT has helped them in their careers in the academe. Engr. Itang teaches in Eastern Visayas State University-Main Campus in Tacloban and Engr. Gaviola works as an instructor at VSU as well.

In an interview with them, both recognized AIT’s special role in their pursuit of professional growth. 

“I’ve been working in academia since 2018, and with those five years of teaching experience, I felt that I was missing something. AIT has helped me grow both as an individual and as a professional. I was amazed by how efficiently the professors deliver their classes through the state-of-the-art facilities they offer. Additionally, the incredible student support in terms of accommodation, mental health services, and financial assistance has been invaluable. These aspects will definitely serve as my inspiration when I return to my workplace,” Engr. Itang shared.

Meanwhile, Engr. Gaviola highlighted that his learning experience in AIT has made him more capable in research and instruction and surely he can share in his return to VSU as an instructor.

“With the knowledge and experiences I gained at AIT, I feel more capable of teaching and conducting research in the field of geotechnical engineering. I am deeply grateful to AIT, VSU, and DOST for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Engr. Gaviola stated.

He added that his adviser at AIT is willing to continue working with him and VSU on landslide research, which is a timely need in our region.

Both are thankful to VSU for the training they obtained in their undergraduate years, as their knowledge of doing science-based research and technical report writing helped them well at AIT.

Engr. Gaviola focused a study on the “Evaluation of Rainfall-Induced Landslide and Subsequent Debris Flow Using Physically Based Models” that investigated the failure initiation and flow mechanism in the case of the massive Kantagnos landslide in Baybay City, Leyte during Typhoon Megi. 

Meanwhile, Engr. Itang pursued the study “Mapping and Monitoring Philippine Peatlands Using Multi-Source and Multi-Resolution Earth Observation Dataset and In-Situ Observations” which employs integrated remote sensing datasets and hybrid mapping approach to delineate and monitor changes within small-scale peatlands in the Philippines. By leveraging advanced techniques, the research addresses knowledge gaps in the assessment of these vulnerable ecosystems, enhancing our understanding and contributing to their sustainable management.

“I am very grateful to my alma mater, VSU, for preparing me for this journey. I want to thank my mentors from the DGE department at VSU. I also extend my gratitude to my family back in the Philippines, the Filipino community at AIT, and my supportive academic advisers,” she mentioned.

With their exemplary performance abroad, these two #ProudViscans leave inspiring messages to fellow Viscans who wish to pursue graduate studies outside the country.

“Pursuing graduate studies abroad is a transformative journey that goes beyond academic growth. It taught me invaluable lessons about resiliency, adaptability, and cultural diversity. In 2021, I applied to many universities abroad. I was waitlisted or accepted without a scholarship at some schools, and rejected by many others. There are many scholarship opportunities out there, so don't be afraid to try and try again. Trust in your abilities, stay curious, and be fearless in the pursuit of your dreams,” Engr. Gaviola said.

“Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and always find motivation and purpose in what you do,” Engr. Itang added.

VSU and AIT sealed a partnership in 2023

In 2023, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between VSU and AIT to cultivate cooperation in academic, research, and extension activities. This collaboration was initiated by Dr. Jannet C. Bencure, the Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) and also an alumna of AIT.

Currently, VSU is engaged in two collaborative research projects with AIT, led by the VSU CET, focusing on groundwater and landslide occurrences. Our VSU Internationalization Program funds these said projects.

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