On 04 August 2023, the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) Advanced Degrees for Accelerating Space R&D and Applications Scholarships or AD ASTRA scholar Dr. Raynell A. Inojosa graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Electronics Engineering, and was chosen to deliver the message of gratitude on behalf of the 2023 graduating class of the Batangas State University-Alangilan Campus.

Dr. Inojosa currently works as a Senior Science Research Specialist for the PhilSA Spacecraft Payload and Communications Systems Development Division (SPCSDD). Below is his message of gratitude:

A pleasant day to all!

Today, as we celebrate this important milestone in our lives as the graduating batch of 2023, let us recall the memories we had before our journey began at this university.

Three or four (or five for some) years ago, we were so busy complying with the admission requirements of the testing and admission office. We submitted the admission documents, took the entrance examination (for some), waited for the long queue in the admission portal, had our medical exams, enrolled our subjects, waited for the first day of our class, and the rest is history. At some point during the course of our study, we struggled, we were challenged, we became hesitant, we failed, some might have cried… yet we stood up again, we triumphed, we lifted off, and succeeded in our own simple ways. The journey might be different for each of us graduates, but what’s important is that we are all here gathered together to celebrate this important academic achievement–our graduation day.

As we enter the new chapter of our lives, let us not forget what we have learned from the experiences of our yesteryears here in our beloved university.

The sleepless nights to finish an engineering plate…
The cramming days to review for a quiz, major examinations and comprehensive exams…
The busy week to prepare for a group presentation…
The seemingly endless hour to resolve a bug or program error…
The hopeless times to troubleshoot a defective prototype…
And the uncertain moments to write, defend and revise our capstone project, thesis, or dissertation.

Despite all these challenges, each of us worked diligently to become who we are today and to reap the rewards of our labor.

As a public servant, an engineer, and a researcher at the Philippine Space Agency, I am guided by our agency mission to promote and sustain a robust Philippine space ecosystem that adds and creates value in space for and from Filipinos and for the world. As graduates of the Batangas State University and as future working professionals, let us always keep in mind the value that we have to offer to our fellow Filipinos and to our nation. As future engineers, technologists, or innovators, I hope that we also embody the values instilled in us by our beloved alma mater to propel transformation and accelerate reforms for national development.

As a new space-faring nation, our government and space leaders are implementing programs and projects that propel transformation and bring innovations to uplift and empower the Filipino nation through the peaceful uses of outer space. We focus on developing our local space ecosystem through capacity building activities and implementing projects on small satellite development in partnership with the local academic institutions in the country. While we do these relatively small, yet significant steps to building and strengthening our space sector, other countries with a more mature space ecosystem attempt to confirm the existence of celestial or extraterrestrial beings and explore deep space and the universe composed of different celestial bodies–made up of the stars, planets, sun, and moon among others.

Speaking of celestials, I would like my fellow graduates to join me in this moment to give thanks and appreciation to the five (5) celestial beings/bodies of our own universe who have played significant roles as we orbited through our academic journey.

First, to our Sun (o Araw)—our parents, family, and guardians… We thank you for giving us the light and for being our source of inspiration to finish our respective degrees. You are our ray of hope and resilience to withstand the challenges that came along. Thank you for the daily support and motivation that you shined to us to become more motivated and committed to reach this academic milestone.

Second, to our Moon (o Buwan)—our professors and research advisers… We thank you for our nights spent longing for wisdom to solve issues and problems that are relevant to helping the community. You lit our night sky and guided our way to becoming more knowledgeable in various issues and fields of study. You made our nights even brighter by emitting a bright light of hope with your words of encouragement that we, someday, like you, could become great men and women of our generation.

Third, to the Aliens of our academic journey (guess who?)—yes, our classmates—who were once strangers and distant, yet became the closest friends and colleagues who are always there to support and help us. Thank you for the company, the camaraderie, and the moments shared together as we bid goodbye to our alma mater.

Fourth, to our Stars (o Tala) – ourselves. Thank you for being resilient—we have made it! Thank you for making it up to this day shining, sparkling, and dazzling with our graduation caps and gowns. We have reached the beacons of our dreams. Our stellar ambitions to complete our respective academic degrees are now in our hands.

Lastly, to our academic sanctuary, our Earth or World for the past three or four academic years—the Batangas State University – The National Engineering University. Thank you for honing us to become great men and women. Thank you for preparing us for the future challenges that we will encounter in this journey. We will always bring with us the values you have inculcated upon us, as we lift off to become future engineers, technologists, innovators, scientists, public servants, or professionals in our respective fields.

On a personal note, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to my family, academic mentors, and closest friends for always being supportive, proud, and appreciative:

…To the love of my life, my wife Karen Palicpic-Resma Inojosa, for providing me with unfailing love, understanding, and patience throughout the years of my graduate study;

…To our children, Kael Isaac and Kara Ilana for keeping me inspired and motivated during this entire process;

…To my departed father, Ronelo Mendeja Inojosa (I know that you are proud up there) and mother, Fely Andal Inojosa and parents − in − law Pedro Resma and Gina Resma, for your unfailing efforts, support, sacrifices, and guidance.

…To my research advisor Dr. Celso B. Co for his sage and insightful advice for me to succeed as a graduate student.

…I would also like to thank the Center for Nanosatellite Testing (CeNT) of Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech) in Japan headed by Professor Mengu Cho and my fellow researchers in his laboratory for their warm welcome and for their assistance during the laboratory measurements and field works for my dissertation;

Specially, I would like to acknowledge the Philippine Space Agency, headed by Dr. Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr., for financially supporting my study and research work through the Advanced Degrees for Accelerating Strategic Space R&D and Applications (PhilSA AD ASTRA) Scholarship Grant, which opened a lot of opportunities for me locally and abroad. Through this grant, a student from the Batangas State University and the CALABARZON region was given a chance to join international conferences in Japan and the United Kingdom to present his research results, proving that our education system is at par with globally competitive institutions, as we had received an outstanding presentation award during the 2022 IEEE conference in Tokyo.

Looking back, I won’t be here today if not because of the following people whom I also want to give thanks and recognition in this event:

…To my highschool teacher, who lent me Php 300.00 pesos to start as an initial fund to sell candies and chocolates in school, which became my source of additional baon during my high school days.

… To my Tito and Tita who gave me an opportunity to pursue my study despite being away with my family. To our relatives who gave share for my tuition fee downpayment, who shared expenses for buying my school notebooks, and who sometimes gave us baon for school.

… To all my scholarship providers during my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, such as the Commission on Higher Education Full Merit Scholarship Grant and the Japanese Government MEXT Scholarship Grant.

… To my former employers who hired me as a high school tutor, boy helper, waiter, and housekeeper during my school years.

… sa lahat ng mga tumulong at sumuporta sa akin noong mga panahong walang wala ako. Maraming maraming salamat po! Thank you for the life lessons and experiences that influenced my upbringing as a person.

…Finally, to the Most High Almighty Creator for the wisdom and strength he has poured out, not only to me but to all graduates of this batch.

To my fellow graduates, this is not the end. Our mission has just started. We have to be prepared for the long journey ahead. There is a vast universe of challenges that we need to face very very soon. We will be the agents, or should I say the astronauts, that could set foot on the unexplored stars, planets, or galaxies of opportunities using the knowledge, expertise, and education that our respective programs have imparted to us as we lead innovations, transform lives, and build our nation.

Again, good morning to everyone. I am Dr. Raynell Andal Inojosa, the first ever PhD graduate of the College of Engineering of Batangas State University – The National Engineering University, and on behalf of the graduating class of 2023, maraming maraming salamat po!