The Filipina who won best paper award in Istanbul research confab

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BACOLOD CITY – When Rowena Bañes talks after you start quizzing her, no date or casual conversationalist can say “thank god you’re pretty” then offer to pay for the drinks, and bid her goodnight.

Rather, what that lucky guy might do is excuse himself, go to the toilet, whip out his phone and start Googling for words that Doc Weng might just have told him.

Poor guy.

Unless you are a fellow intellectual, it would be challenging to be Doc Weng’s date.

Receiving awards is nothing new for Doc Weng.  Here, she is recognized for the THOMAS award, the highest award given by USLS to administrators, faculty, and non-teaching staff.  Photo courtesy of Rowena Bañes
Receiving awards is nothing new for Doc Weng. Here, she is recognized for the THOMAS award, the highest award given by USLS to administrators, faculty, and non-teaching staff. Photo courtesy of Rowena Bañes

Not only are good grooming skills necessary. Rather, what is needed are mental preparations similar to what a MENSA taker does a day before the exams or what a SEAL Team 6 member did before the raid on bin Laden.

It is no exaggeration, no stretch of the imagination or hyperbole that Doc Weng is one of the brightest minds, and well-kept intellectual secret, of and in this city.

Up until her win for best paper in an international research conference in Istanbul, Turkey, Doc Weng has been busy as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of St. La Salle here, a position she has held for four years now.

Doc Weng seen here with fellow intellectuals and researchers in Turkey. Photo courtesy of Rowena Bañes
Doc Weng seen here with fellow intellectuals and researchers in Turkey. Photo courtesy of Rowena Bañes

Daily, the click-clack of her three-inch heels (the minimum, her colleagues say) echoes in the halls of USLS, especially near the CAS office where students and staff would wait to greet her when they hear it instead of scurrying away. Most of them she calls “my dear.”

THE BIG WIN

“This is an affirmation of (me and my team’s love and esteem in and for doing research,” Doc Weng told DNX from Istanbul, Turkey through a chat interview.

The team, she said, is made up of Doctors Calvin Dave D. Ganub, Cinderella R. Francisco, and Janne Ly C. Gilpo.

The paper, a study of international students, is close to the hearts of the authors because as “mental professionals, we need to insure that they will be well adjusted while being able to blend well with our school culture and traditions,” Doc Weng said.

The proof of her labors. The USLS CAS dean's paper is chosen among a pool of intellectuals and members of the academe. Photo courtesy of Rowena Bañes
The proof of her labors. The USLS CAS dean’s paper is chosen among a pool of intellectuals and members of the academe. Photo courtesy of Rowena Bañes

The “Doc” before her name is not only a term of endearment and respect by colleagues and students alike but also a title for the decades-old academic who holds a doctorate in psychology aside from being a registered psychologist and a registered guidance counselor.

That makes her prefixes quite a mouthful PhD, RGC, RPsy.

Bagging the best paper award is no easy feat. It was submitted to the Global Illuminators as “per their invitation,” Doc Weng explained and “peer reviewed based on their criteria” before being presented to the conference or the Innovative Trends in Multidisciplinary Academic Research (ITMAR 2019) in Istanbul, Turkey.

A little explanation is needed here. The paper was “invited.” Meaning it was not just submitted but those in the organizing committee knew about it and found it worthy to be part of the competition.

And they were hundreds from many countries. Let that sink in.

Then the peer review. Academics can be haughty. Snooty. Give them jackets and make them judges of your paper’s worth and you might be better off facing a bunch of lions mixed with a few piranhas (if they could walk).

But Doc Weng survived all that.

Which makes her win an affirmation that intellectual pursuit is alive and well in a country hooked on Mobile Legends, Facebook, and Probinsyano.

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