PhilSA lady official named as 2021 NAST Outstanding Young Scientist for Physical Sciences

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology (DDG-SST) Dr. Gay Jane P. Perez has been named as this year’s Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) in the field of Satellite Technology (Physics).

(Screenshot from PhilSA Facebook page)

The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) conferred the award to Perez during a virtual awarding ceremony held on July 15, the PhilSA announced in a statement.

A total of 12 Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) Awards are given to young Filipino scientists below 41 years old “who have made significant contributions to science and technology”, it noted. These awards are available annually, split among the following divisions: Agricultural Sciences; Biological Sciences; Chemical, Mathematical and Physical Sciences; Engineering Sciences and Technology; Health Sciences; and Social Sciences.

Perez currently serves as associate professor and Scientist II at the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.

“Prior to her appointment at PhilSA, Dr. Perez has led various programs on satellite development in the Philippines as well as other projects that utilized satellite and remotely sensed data for environmental applications and climate studies,” PhilSA said in a statement.

In 2018, Perez became the first Filipino woman to receive the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-United States (ASEAN-US) Science Prize for Women. A year after, she received The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Award.

From 2010 to 2011, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center.

Perez got a Bachelor of Science degree in 2003, a Master of Science degree in 2005, and earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Physics in 2009 at the National Institute of Physics at UP Diliman.

“Her research interests include Earth observation satellite product development, drought monitoring and forecasting, forest change detection, land cover/land use change, other satellite remote sensing applications for the environment, seasonal and climate prediction, climate change and variability, complex systems, and interdisciplinary applications of Physics,” PhilSa cited.

The NAST PHL is the country’s highest recognition and advisory body on science and technology. It was created by Presidential Decree 1003 on Oct. 6, 1976.

The NAST PHL honors and recognizes Filipino scientists who make worthy contributions in the advancement of science and technology in the country.

The state-funded academy also recommends individuals to be conferred the Order of National Scientist upon approval of the President of the Philippines.

In 1982, Executive Order 818 was issued making NAST PHL as an advisory body to the President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Cabinet on policies concerning science and technology in the country.