Al Serafica to engineering students: “Find your calling”
Dr. Gonzalo “Al” Serafica visited the Technological Institute of the Philippines (T.I.P.) Quezon City campus for the 3rd Engineering Students’ Research/Design Project Colloqium on March 11, 2016. Speaking around the theme Engineering Research and Design Towards Commercialization, Dr. Serafica related his life after he left the Philippines in 1989 and shared about his exposure to various technologies in the U.S.
A Filipino chemical engineer, Dr. Serafica has 20 years of extensive experience with technology utilization and commercialization and holds 10 U.S.-granted patents and more than 20 international-granted patents. He is a long-term Balik Scientist of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and a consultant for USAID Science Technology Research and Innovation for Development (STRIDE), and is currently on an extended stay in the Philippines to help scientists and engineers commercialize their technologies and expand their intellectual property. Through his successful work on engineering design, he promotes technology for commercialization or technology for producing marketable products.
In his talk, Dr. Serafica explained how engineers become applied scientists. “Engineers are meant to make products and viable contributions for everyday application,” he said. With this, he advised the students to utilize their learnings in school and look at potential applications of a material or technology. He also advised them to begin first with one project or research they are most interested in and try to apply their engineering capabilities to address most, if not all of the needs of the users. “Ano ba ang kailangan ng tao? Sino ba ang gagamit?”
The Balik Scientist also raised the importance of knowing the impact of what the students will be doing as future engineers. “These are the things that you really need to check with yourself: Why are you doing it? Being an engineer is just a profession. You have to find your calling.” Dr. Serafica told them.