This article features Dr. Alvin Christopher G. Varquez, specially-appointed associate professor of the department.
– What do you think about GSEP?
My personal opinion is that it is currently a seed that when properly nurtured can grow to be a sturdy life-giving tree. The seed is comprised of our diversified, talented, and self-less students whose eagerness to learn is fueled by a common vision, in addition to their personal goals, of making this world a better place to live in. Someday, the world needs leaders AND followers that are open and capable of bridging various fields and cultural differences. Students in the program are educated not only in transdisciplinary fields of science and engineering but are also exposed to social science subjects and real-world scenarios.
– What is your role in the program?
Together with my 4 colleagues, Eden-sensei, Farid-sensei, and Azril-sensei, and with the direct supervision of Abe-sensei, I am directly in contact with the students under GSEP and ensuring that the program meets its objectives from the students’ perspective. We manage student trips, student-faculty gatherings, and also assist in the promotion of the program. I also conduct 4 lectures; 2 of which are with other professors, and another 2 are handled by myself. The courses are: Tokyo Tech’s Visionary Course, Ordinary Differential Equations and Physical Phenomena, Partial Differential Equations for Science and Engineering, and Atmospheric Environment in Megacities (graduate-level also open to undergraduate).
– What is your research about?
I have a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, specializing in hydraulics and water resources, from De La Salle University – Philippines. For my graduate studies, I focused on hydrology and urban meteorology with the supervision of Prof. Manabu Kanda. Thanks to Kanda-sensei, I am currently involved in research projects, relating to climate change and adaptation in a megacity, Jakarta, modelling of urban fires, and a new project which focuses on the investigation of large megacities and their climate interaction (a sub-field which we are promoting called Global Urban Climatology). Along with fully attending to GSEP, I believe it is my responsibility to act as role model for the GSEP students, and one way for me to do this is by contributing to society through research. Of course, there is no such thing as “my” research. I consider mine as shared, a pool of contributions from Kanda laboratory, and our collaborators.
-What is your vision in your career?
In life, one can have multiple visions. Specific to my career, I wish to be successful in both my undertakings in GSEP and my research. Success is achieved in the long run when I see the students of GSEP happy in whatever career path they choose, and have a big heart for the world, their country, their neighborhood, and their family. In terms of research, success is when I see my works being used by society for its betterment, and scientists’ never-ending expansion of knowledge.