By Rem Tiangco and Aida R. Rubiano
The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) Philippines, the country’s premier recognition and advisory body on science and technology recently announced this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) Awards, given to young Filipino scientists (must not be 41 years old within January to December in the year of the awarding) who have made significant contributions to science and technology.
Dr. Majah-Leah V. Ravago, an award winning Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines (Diliman) School of Economics, is recently named as one of the OYS of the Philippines awardees in the field of Economics.
But who really is Dr. Majah?
Growing up in Brgy. Calaguiman in Samal, with parents Gerico “Gerry” and Rosario “Ine” and two siblings, Englebert and Aaron James, Majah studied kindergarten at the Methodist School, then moved to Calaguiman Elem School where she graduated salutatorian. For high school, she went to Tomas del Rosario Academy in Balanga City and graduated class valedictorian.
According to Majah, “Our parents raised us to be God-fearing. I grew up going to church, joining the church choir and singing praises (even though I don’t really have a good voice). My family belongs to the congregation of Unified Group of Church of God in Christ Jesus. We are not a well-off family. My father was earning from driving tricycle and my mother was making dresses for a living. My father then went abroad so he could send us to school.”
Having completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in April 1997 from UP Diliman Campus with a Dean’s Medalist award, Dr. Ravago started her career with Bennet McKenzie Executive Resources from July 1997 to April 1998 as a Sales and Marketing Executive, and worked as a Junior Analyst for Equitable Banking Corporation right after until August 1998.
Following her interests in economics, she worked as a Research Analyst to Drs. C. David and A. Inocencio from January 1999 to June 2001, and at the same time, pursued her Masteral Degree in Economics from UP Diliman Campus later in October 2002. Three months later, Dr. Ravago joined the Department of Agriculture as a Research Associate to Prof. A. Balicasan until October 2003. For the next 10 months, she was a Project Development Specialist for Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
Taking a break from work, Dr. Ravago enrolled at the University of Hawaii for her PhD Economics degree where she was awarded with a Seji Naya Most Outstanding First-Year Student Award of the Economics Department University of Hawaii in academic year 2006-2007. During her stay in the said university, she worked as a Research Assistant to Prof. J. Roumasset at the UH Water Resources Research Center, and as a Lecturer of Principles of Microeconomics and Resource and Environmental Economics at the University of Hawaii Economics Department in the Summer of 2008 to 2010 and Spring 2011. Before graduating in 2012, Dr. Ravago served as a Graduate Research Assistant to the UH Economic Research Organization (UHERO) from March 2011 until August 2011, and December 2011 to January of the succeeding year.
In May 2013, she became a Board Member of the UPecon Foundation, Division Chief III of the Philippine Center for Economic Development (PCED) and a Research Director of the UPSE Economics Research Center until February 2015. It was also in the year 2015 where she was given an International Publication Award (IPA) by the UP Office of Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA). During her younger years, she was given multiple scholarship grants such as the Tomas Del Rosario Academy (1989-1993) and Bataan Civic Youth Foundation Inc. Scholarship (1993-1997) in the province.
At Present, Dr. Ravago serves as a Board Member and Secretary of the Philippine Economic Society (from January 2014) and Program Director of the Energy Policy and Development Program (EPDP) (from October 2014). She is also currently teaching 4 courses in the UP School of Economics namely; Energy Economics and Policy, Introduction to Micro Theory and Policy for Undergraduate and Resource and Environmental Economics, Microeconomics for both Graduate and Undergraduate Studies.
Attending 40 international and local conferences, workshops and seminar presentations, Dr. Ravago has also coordinated and organized efforts for 14 workshops and conferences. And as of today, she has 11 publications, 9 working papers and policy notes and 6 researches in progress.
Asked about her plans, she had this to say: “My plan is to continue doing what I’m doing, which is research that can help influence policy. Also, to continue teaching at the university where I hopefully can make a difference”.
Carry on, Dr. Majah, we at 1Bataan as well as your fellow Samalenos are truly proud of you! You are an inspiration to your fellow youth!
From the staff of 1Bataan, thank you very much for allowing us to take a glimpse of your life, impressive academic background and career.