Mapúa ChE-Chm faculty member named one of Outstanding Young Scientists of 2014

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Mapúa Institute of Technology School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry professor Dr. Rhoda Leron (second from right) is named one of 2014’s outstanding young scientists by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). With her in the photo are (from left) national scientist Dr. Mercedes B. Concepcion, NAST academician and Mapúa president Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea, and NAST president Dr. William G. Padolina.

Another faculty member of Mapúa Institute of Technology has been named one of 2014’s Outstanding Young Scientists (OYS) by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Dr. Rhoda Leron of the School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry has joined Dr. Alvin R. Caparanga and Dr. Allan N. Soriano in the roster of OYS awardees from Mapúa after her works in the field of chemical engineering have been recognized.

Dr. Alvin R. Caparanga (center), also a professor of Mapúa’s School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, was named outstanding young scientist by NAST in 2010 for his works in the field of environmental engineering.

The OYS award is given to young Filipino scientists under the age of 41 who have made significant contributions to the different fields of science and technology. For this year, there were 12 recipients from the fields of environmental management, animal science, physics, public health, and mathematics, among others.

Dr. Caparanga was named OYS for Environmental Engineering in 2010 and Dr. Soriano for Chemical Engineering in 2011.

This year, the NAST awarded Dr. Leron for her works dealing with the investigation of CO2 absorption characteristics and measurements of thermophysical properties of “green” solvents, which offer more efficient, cost-effective, and environment-friendly replacements to volatile organic absorbents.

“Her researches in the development of novel solvent systems and in the design of innovative methods for the removal of carbon dioxide from process gas emissions could reduce the environmental impacts associated with the use of conventional organic absorbents and could minimize CO2 emissions that would alleviate burgeoning problems on global warming,” said the NAST.

Dr. Allan N. Soriano, Mapúa’s School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry professor, was named outstanding young scientist in the field of chemical engineering by NAST in 2011.

The 36-year-old associate professor shared that she had the opportunity to further her studies on CO2 capture when she was completing her doctorate degree at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan.

In the last four years, Dr. Leron has published more than 30 scientific and technical papers in international peer-reviewed journals including The Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics, Fluid Phase Equilibria, and Thermochimica Acta. She has also presented several technical papers in various scientific conferences and has earned two best paper awards.

Being a recipient of the OYS award, Dr. Leron, together with the other recipients, has become an advocate of science and technology. Among the important traits she would like to pass on to her students are perseverance, open-mindedness, and ingenuity.

She said, “Young scientists should keep an open mind to keep up with technological trends and to address the current needs of the society through science. They should not be afraid to try and fail because that is how we could best learn.”

On top of the prestigious recognition, Dr. Leron took home P125,000 cash prize and a research funding of P500,000, which she will use to expand her research on CO2 capture. She also plans to involve chemical engineering students from Mapúa in doing her research.