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Sunday, December 5, 2021

INSPIRING: Igorota is professor for sciences at New Mexico Military School in the United States

Proudly Igorota. She was wearing the Devit during her graduation for her second master's. Photo Courtesy || Demvia Maslian

Cordillera - From a farmer's daughter in a small town in Kibungan, Benguet, farming works from the rice fields to planting sweet potato at age 9, but now an assistant Professor for sciences at New Mexico Military School in Roswell, New Mexico, USA.

Demvia Acosta Maslian came from a small town, in Lubo, Kibungan, Benguet. After graduating from elementary, she moved to Baguio City to continue her education. It was unfortunate that her family did not afford to send her to high school. 

In Baguio, she lived in Little Flower Convent with the Franciscan nuns, who had offered her freeboard and lodging plus a scholarship for high school until college in exchange for her labor. 

During her first two years, she worked in the kitchen and as a refectory helper. After two years, she was moved to the front desk as a receptionist and had been there until she left the convent. She earned her Bachelor in Secondary Education major in biology at Saint Louis University. She started her teaching career at Baguio City National High school in 2001, teaching various science from general science, biology, chemistry, and physics.

In 2007, Los Angeles Unified School District in Los Angeles, California, USA, hired her with a J1 visa (Teacher Exchange Program). After her visa contract expired, she moved back to the Philippines. It was part of the visa agreement. 

In 2011, Horatio School District in Horatio, Arkansas, USA, hired her to teach chemistry. While she was teaching in Horatio High School, she was going to school at the same time. 

In 2013, she graduated from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the USA, with her Masters in Science Education Major in Advance Instructional Studies. Due to visa complications, she moved to two different states before finally settling in at Roswell, New Mexico, USA. She is currently an Assistant Professor at New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), making a wave. In her six years as a professor at the Institute, she had received two John F. Burton Professorship Awards and one John F. Ward Professorship Award. 

She is also a very active sponsor of the Institute's STEM Club. She is one of the founders. Her STEM Club students were awarded as one of the Champions for the New Mexico Governor's STEM Challenge for two consecutive years (2019 and 2020). 

In 2020, her students joined the Southeast Regional Science Fair in New Mexico. Both students' projects had won second and third Place overall, which got them straight as a finalist into the 2021 Regeneron Science and Engineering Fair (INTEL), the world's largest international pre-college science competition. Her students had been receiving cash prizes for their winnings. The Roswell Daily Records (a local newspaper) had featured her STEM Club winnings.

In May 2021, she graduated with her second masters at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, the USA, with a degree Masters in Science Teaching with a specialization in biology. 

She earned this master with spending only 1% of her total tuition fee. Most of her tuition fees and other fees were paid by the scholarships through the state of New Mexico, the university, and her school's Faculty Development Grant (NMMI). 

In summer 2021, she was one of the eight Research Opportunities for Science Educators (ROSE) Scholars. A joint project of the New Mexico Public Education Department and the University of New Mexico. Dr. Jeffrey Rack, one of the project organizers, said that the program was very competitive, with only a 13% acceptance rate. At the program, Demvia works with Dr. Yi He, the Primary Investigator, and his research assistant, Amy Stevens. 

For four weeks, they worked on a project, PICK1: A Promising Target to Address Substance Abuse in New Mexico. With her story, she would like to inspire the youth of the Cordillera, especially those who were not fortunate to be born with money. 

Demvia knows that it is hard, but you need to believe in yourself. She always tells her students, "Hard work and sacrifices equals success." Demvia will try her very best to improve and achieve more. She is a proud Igorot.

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3 Comments:

r aquisio said...

It would be nice to hear more of their research project on addressing substance abuse. Ta i-share na kod abe isnan ili tako. Siguro mayat ay i-invite Mayor Molitas first to speak about it in Kibungan then possibly for the nearby municipalities.

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Ms. Demia, for such an awe-inspiring perseverance and will to excel in life no matter the given circumstance.

Unknown said...

congrats, Ms Demia, God Bless your success despite many challenges. matagotago tako.

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