TWO UST academicians are flying to Europe for prestigious scholarship grants.

After years of hard work and dedication in the field of research and education, Peter Emmanuel A. Mara, a faculty member at the Department of Philosophy, and Daniel D. Vicario, an assistant professor at the Department of Mathematics and Physics, are the only Southeast Asians to receive the prestigious Master Erasmus Mundus Europhilosophie and Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Program for Experimental Physics by the European Union, respectively.

Deeply humbled by this scholarship grant, they believe that the program will not only guarantee the acquirement of higher degree, but would also pave the way in strengthening academic linkages between European universities and UST.

Alfredo P. Co was the last Thomasian faculty member who was granted a scholarship for philosophy in Sorbonne in the 1980s.

From España to Europe

From what once an undecided college freshman who only considered Philosophy as a platform for either priesthood or law school, Mara now sees his profession as a way of life.

Recalling his first few years in college, he said: “All I can remember is the elegance and prestige that came along with the pronunciation of the word ‘philosophy.'"

“The call to the vocation slowly vanished and since I developed a great dismay towards the legal system in the Philippines, there was only one choice left for me: teaching,” he said.

Instead of taking up a doctorate degree, he took five years to meet the French language requirement as a preparation for his application for the Erasmus Mundus educational grant.

Mara said it was worth the sacrifice. He survived the grueling screening process, besting numerous applicants from all around the world.

My brother, my executioner

“To have a holistic understanding of life, we must learn to deal with the horrifying and unpleasant things that life may bring us. But in all of the unbearable ordeals that may bring us down to our knees, we just need to look up for His Divine help and inspiration,” he said.

Vicario hopes to further enhance his skills through the scholarship and share his knowledge to other Thomasians.

“I expect to learn new scientific practices and ways of thinking in Europe, which can provide us with new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the principles,” he said.

Vicario, who has been awarded as an Outstanding B.S. Applied Physics alumnus by the College of Science, aims to prove that Thomasians can do well in a scientific environment.

“I want to be remembered as the pioneer Filipino researcher in laboratory tomographic microscopy to inspire my students to value science and education,” Vicario said.

Vicario challenges his students to always aim for excellence and to never stop finding various creative means to achieve their dreams.

“Education is the best equalizer; failure is but a learning opportunity to achieve greater success,” he emphasized.


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