A New Start, A New Catalyst

by Jelor Gallego

Their team met and discussed night after night, trying to figure out what to call their event. Countless words after word were thrown out and yet in the end, they decided upon that word – catalyst.

With Catalyst, their event would be an idea generation project catered towards high school students, seeking to get them to discuss and conceptualize ideas for the future. And the word has struck a chord, it fits, it makes sense, and it’s a one-word description that lays out the nature of the events.

“Ideas, whatever they are, remain a catalyst for change in the world,” Kim Co (13B), the event head, explains, “And yet, at the same time, the event is trying to be a catalyst for these students, trying to get them to pursue science and go out there and change the world.”

Catalyst has its root in Checkmate, a former event of UP KEM. Checkmate, in its original conception, was supposed to be a quiz bee event for high school students to showcase their skills in chemistry and other engineering related topics.

And yet with the advent of so many quiz bee events around UP Diliman, Kim Co is trying to spice things up. “There are so many quiz bees around [UP] that we’re trying to find a way to stand out.” In Catalyst, they found it.

A 2-day idea generation event involving teams of four Grade 9-12 students from the greater Metro Manila, Catalyst seeks to involve the students in solving energy problems in the country with a theme of “Powering Up The Philippines Through Smart Energy Solutions”.

Set on January 21-22, 2017, the event tries to convince students to pursue tracks in science by getting them to design a specific solution to a specific energy problem of their own choosing. On the first day, resource speakers such as Dr. Tamayao, head of UP Sustainable Energy Program, will impart their knowledge to the audience while later on, mentors will advise the teams as to how they can improve on any ideas they conceived.

The last day is purely presentation of their ideas and concepts and finally awarding, with the the 1st, 2nd and 3rd garnering a cash prize of 5k, 3k and 1k prize respectively.

At the end of the day, Kim Co and her team are hoping the KEMers and alumni will bring awareness of their event to their alma mater and invite students from their former schools to participate in the event. It’s an event four years in the making and they’ll stop at nothing to pull it off.

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