After graduating from the University of the Philippines with a degree in chemistry, Laura David obtained her Ph.D. in Marine Science-Physical Oceanography from the University of South Carolina in the US. Today, she is the first Filipina with a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography.
Laura witnessed the fruits of her academic labor when she was invited to share her expertise in the international arena in 2002. “I knew I was no longer just a ‘small fish in a big ocean’ when two international scientific organizations invited me to be a member of their elite scientific steering committee. I felt really proud to be a Filipina representing my science and region in these 24-man international teams.”
Laura meets with fishers and coastal dwellers to discuss issues like fishkill and the effects of global climate change. She is also devoted to public education, lectures and workshops. This year, the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) designated her one of the country’s Outstanding Young Scientists for her work in physical oceanography. But even with all the awards and degrees, Laura aims for another: “The one gift that I wish I had is the gift of language. I feel I can get more people excited about the ocean and the environment if I can speak in five more languages. My wish list: Mandarin, French, Portuguese, Afrikaans, and more than just spoken Spanish.”
(First published in Marie Claire, November 2007; Photo by Sara Black)