Science wiz hopes to contribute in child psychology

By Nikka Garriga

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA—Many children his age would probably be more fixated on anything that has to do with gaming and technology these days.

But 17-year-old Julian Paolo Biyo was inspired to explore science out of two things—sheer curiosity and a backpack that bore the name 'Intel' on it.

"I could settle for a normal life. But I'm always reminded [about] why I should settle for something less when you can achieve something bigger," he says.

Julian is the son of esteemed scientist and Intel Excellence Awardee in Teaching Dr. Josette Biyo. She is the first Asian to have won the award in 2002 and even had an asteroid, 13241 Biyo, named after her.

It was his mother's Intel backpack that sparked his drive to make a similar achievement of his own, he shares.

Julian, along with his team members Hazel Ann Hernandez and Paul Caesar Flores, recently won fourth place in the environmental sciences category of the prestigious Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).

Their project “Regenerating Coral Fragments on Bamboo Artificial Reefs” aims to provide a sustainable method for coral reef rehabilitation using bamboo and concrete materials.

"There are still times when I can't believe I'm actually doing this. I feel pretty thankful because I am now living that dream. I made it this far and I know I did my mom proud," he says.

Julian is now pursuing a degree in Psychology in an effort to better understand the subconscious of the human mind.

"One thing that I did learn is that science is not just about experiments. Using the skills I developed in analysis and observation, I want to help forge stronger communications within people and the community," he explains.

And where does he see himself after college? Julian intends to spend a few years working as a guidance councilor at his former high school.

"In today's information age, most communication is done through the monitor. I'm afraid that maybe in the future people are not able to communicate outside the screen anymore," he says.

"I want to make sure that children will not forget the importance of body language and facial expressions in building relationships and perhaps guide them in the right direction."

***

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