Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My stay in RTU...

My stay in RTU was definitely one of those experiences I’d always treasure and go back to. Although I have been here for only one and a half months, I have learned so many things that opened my eyes to a broader view and understanding of Astronomy.  To be honest, when I first contacted RTU about the internship, I didn’t know what to expect. Yes, I’ll be spending my time in an office, gathering and interpreting data, but those were the only things I was sure of. But being in an internship is more than that—it’s about the work, the people, your contribution, and of course, the things you’ll take with you after the immersion. RTU might have been a completely different environment for me but the people here superbly made me feel at home.
Compared to the research I’ve been doing in University of Michigan, the research we’re doing here is more observational. Specifically, we catalog the sun’s activities by taking note of its sunspot groups and their types. I have never seen a more religious group of people when it comes to doing a task: In the morning or at noon, we’d bring down the telescope and take probably six or more pictures of the sun. Every chance that we get, we do this routine even if we get all sweaty and tired (especially for the people carrying the telescope down to the field and up again to the telescope room). My mentor even taught me how to set-up a telescope and he really gave me a lot of opportunities to take a more hands-on approach to Astronomy by doing observations.

They give this much support to me but it doesn’t compare to how supportive they are of their students and their activities to promote Astronomy. The teachers and students go to other schools and do stargazing to spread Astronomy awareness. In fact, we recently went to Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges to do stargazing for the school’s anniversary. I was happily a part of this and I must say, nothing could make me happier than seeing people who have no or little background in Astronomy get so interested and ask so many questions. My teachers even let me conduct a lecture on Solar Observation and even if it was my first time (I did extremely badly at it), they still gave me a pat on the back. They were very generous that they let me partake in their Solar Observation Program even if I was just new. Such is their belief in the people who say that they want Astronomy to progress in the Philippines. The faculty lets the students themselves to operate the telescopes and organize activities—everything for people to know the importance of Astronomy in our lives.

By the end of my internship, I realized a lot of things that no other school could have taught me. Rizal Technological University is the only school in the Philippines that offers Bachelor’s Degree on Astronomy and that gives me a lot of hope. The Philippines may be a long way from being front liners in this field but someone or something had to start the race or our dreams to someday contribute a lot to Astronomy would never happen. The department may be new but its people had been moving fast, contacting other organizations, going to seminars even out of the country, to give its students a better picture of Astronomy today. I really admire how The Department of Earth and Space Sciences stands tall amidst all the challenges it faces and amidst its being the first and only department to offer undergraduate studies in Astronomy. And with all these realizations and wonderful memories, I’ll definitely be leaving the country on a happy note, maybe even wanting to go back and do this amazing one and a half months all over again. Thank you so much, my RTU-DESS family! 

- Andreia Jessica Carrillo

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations dreia!! :) come back soon!! good luck po sayu!!