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Thomasian engineers launch contact tracing equipment innovation

The project was developed by EEnovatics, under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – TOMASinno Center, whose goal is to make contract tracing “reliable and efficient.” 

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Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E and (from left to right) Gabriel Suarez, Engr. Souichi Takahama, Andrea Pauline de Guzman, and Amira Malipol at the D’Banquet Restaurant in Tagaytay City.

Filling out details in contact tracing forms repeatedly could be tiresome, but with Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E, this could be easy as one tap away. 

Behind the project are two Thomasian alumni, Engr. Souichi Takahama and Andrea Pauline de Guzman, who launched a full contactless contact tracing equipment with a one-time registration for a QR code I.D.

According to Takahama, Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E (Buildings and Establishments Automated Temperature Reading Integrated Contact Tracing Equipment) will also address some contact tracing lapses such as incomplete forms, long queues at entrances, lack of centralized contact tracing solutions, and inaccessibility to smartphones and internet of some citizens. 

“[I] started thinking of a way to fix this problem of people having to either write manually or scan a QR everytime on their smartphones, having the door attendant of establishment to be exposed to people, and how to make digital contact tracing available to everyone may it be young or old, with internet or not, with smartphones or not,” Takahama told TomasinoWebyesterday, April 9.

The project was developed by EEnovatics, under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – TOMASinno Center, whose goal is to make contract tracing “reliable and efficient.” 

“We have this goal to implement this project to each and every establishment to provide a fast, reliable and efficient contact tracing for the safety and ease to the people entering establishments,” Takahama said. 

“By having a dedicated contact tracing equipment in every building as a long term solution to what we currently face today, we could quickly stop the spread with contact tracing of the present and future possible outbreak,” he added. 

According to Takahama, implementing Project B.E.A.T.R.I.C.E during the pandemic was not easy due to several restrictions and limited resources. 

The financial issues were also a setback for the team. They, however, got a sponsorship from a Tagaytay restaurant owner.

“[The] major challenge we are now facing is the need of financial support for us to really boost this project and to develop it further,” he said. “And seeking for investment, grants or financial aid is not easy.”

“Now with the help of a sponsor who owns a restaurant [and] provided support to our team, we were able to deploy and develop one working unit which is currently at the D’Banquet Restaurant in Tagaytay City,” he added. 

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Educ ex-dean is new co-editor of Routledge gerontology journal

De Guzman will be replacing Nieli Linger from the College of New Rochelle. He will have a four-year term from May 2021 to December 2025. 

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Prof. Allan de Guzman, Ph.D

Former College of Education dean was appointed yesterday, May 4, as the new co-editor of  the Routledge-published Educational Gerontology Journal. 

Prior his appointment, Prof. Allan de Guzman, Ph.D, who leads the Educational Gerontology Research Interest Group in the UST Research Center on Social Sciences and Education, has already been serving as an international advisory board member for the journal. 

De Guzman will be replacing Nieli Linger from the College of New Rochelle. He will have a four-year term from May 2021 to December 2025. 

He already published 126 articles in various ISI-listed journals and worked as an editor, board member, and reviewer for top international journals. 

His field of research is usually on topics related to adult learning, teacher education, comparative education and educational leadership and management. He is currently handling research courses in both CTHM and UST Graduate School. 

De Guzman is currently working as a research fellow for the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Regional Centre for Innovation Technology and he president of the Metrobank Foundation Network of Outstanding Teachers and Educators.

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Journo kickstarts community ‘meryendahan’

Instead of giving away vegetables for ingredients just like in traditional community pantries, Lora’s community meryendahan provides cooked meals. 

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Photo courtesy of journalism sophomore Alexandra Lora.

Despite the heavy workload and multiple writing commissions, second year journalism student Alexandra Lora kick-started a “community meryendahan” in her Barangay Hulo neighborhood in Mandaluyong. 

The soup kitchen style community pantry started on May 1. Instead of giving away vegetables for ingredients just like in traditional community pantries, Lora’s community meryendahan provides cooked meals. 

“I came up with this concept of community pantry because I know for a fact not everyone, especially those who are in need, has the resources or appliances to cook or prepare food. Giving them cooked and prepared food, as in kakainin nalang, I believe, will help them a lot,” she told TomasinoWeb.

Knowing the struggle of putting food on the table since the pandemic began inspired Lora to set up her pantry. 

“The number of people in Mandaluyong that I know because of the prolonged lockdowns is struggling to place food on their tables,” she said, adding that the Maginhawa initiative inspired her as well.

“The community meryendahan cooks and prepares food for Mandaleños, specifically around Barangay Hulo. The food prepared is also from a karinderya across our house, which is owned by an elderly couple who, up to now, is striving to get through every day,” she said.

To fund the pantry, Lora raised money by doing poetry, short stories, and sometimes essay proofreading commissions. 

The pantry functioned for two days. Lora said, however, that it may continue if donations would pour in. 

“I aim to keep it up longer than May 2, but for that to happen, donations would be highly appreciated. Donations both in kind and in cash will help a lot for us to continue to buy what is needed to keep cooking and serving those who are in need,” she added.

Community pantries started in April at Maginhawa Street, Quezon City by Ana Patricia Non, which eventually sprouted across different parts of the country and even abroad.

As of this writing, there are at least 350 active pantries in the country, including the community pantries set up by the UST Center for Campus Ministry along the streets of Dapitan and P. Noval.

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Tourism students bag awards in skills competition

Martin and Balite won the flight attendant showmanship category, while Fajardo and Laboy won fourth place in the travel commercial category.

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TOURISM CHAMPS—(From left to right) Floresca May Martin, Ruby Gayle Balite, Allysa Nicole Fajardo, and Yaira Wren Laboy

Four College of Tourism and Hospitality Management (CTHM) students bagged awards on Saturday, April 24, in the annual students’ congress and skills competition of the Union of Filipino Tourism Educators (UFTE). 

Floresca May Martin and Ruby Gayle Balite won the flight attendant showmanship category, while Allysa Nicole Fajardo and Yaira Wren Laboy won fourth place in the travel commercial category, the University announced yesterday. 

Time constraints in preparation and unstable internet connection, since both Balite and Martin reside in provincial areas, made the competition challenging for them.

“[I] think the challenges arose primarily as a result of the competition’s nature, limited time and a tensed-up environment. We were just given a day to prepare for everything,” Martin told TomasinoWeb 

Fajardo and Laboy faced the same difficulties as they were only given 11 hours to plan and create videos for the event. 

However, the four of them believed that the competition is a way for students to fully understand their profession. According to them, it “pushed them out of their comfort zones to show their capabilities.”

“[I] think the most important thing to remember is that a competition journey is a process rather than an endpoint. Any performance is merely a stepping stone to the next stage of the journey.” Martin said. 

Balite also learned how to remain calm under stressful situations and to have faith in God as well, while freshman student Fajardo considered the experience a “foundation” of learning.

The UFTE Annual National Students Congress and Skills Competition is an event that aims to highlight the tourism industry amid the pandemic.

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