National Scientist Dolores A. Ramirez: From Beating the Odds to Empowering Philippine Agriculture

Philippine Science Letters 

Photo: Philippine Science Letters
She could have been an excellent physician, an expert in the medical sciences, and become a major asset to some big-shot pharmaceutical corporation because of her fascination with science. Or she could have been a remarkable literary artist because of her fondness for aesthetic words. Instead, Dr. Dolores Ramirez chose to be a specialist in plant breeding and genetics, as well as an academic and author.

Inside Cover of Lectures
 in Genetics (2005)
TRIVIA: Did you know that Dr. Dolores Ramirez is one of the authors of the first edition of the UP Los Banos Lecture Syllabus in Genetics which was first released in 1967?

Dr. Dolores Ramirez holds a Bachelors degree in Agriculture (magna cum laude) from the UP College of Agriculture (present day UP Los Banos), a Masters degree in Cytogenetics from the University of Minnesota (USA) and a Doctorate in Biochemical Genetics from Purdue University (USA). Both of her post-graduate degrees were sponsored under a Rockefeller Grant. Dr. Ramirez is a Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Plant Breeding at the UP College of Agriculture.

Dr. Ramirez has earned a number of awards and distinctions, the most notable of which is being named National Scientist in 1998. The distinction is the highest award conferred on a Filipino Scientist by the President of the Republic of the Philippines. Among the other accolades bestowed upon her were the University of the Philippines Centennial Award as National Scientist by the UP System (2008), UP Professional Achievement Award in Agriculture (1985), and the Presidential Rizal Pro Patria Award for Outstanding Achievement in Science - Biochemical Genetics (1981). She is also an academician of the prestigious National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). 

National Scientist and Academician
Dr. Dolores Ramirez

Photo: National Academy of
Science and Technology
According to the article, “Mother Cell” or Ma’am DR was strict, but simple and up-right in handling Biology and Agronomy subjects, in addition to being adviser to students undertaking their thesis research. During her time, she utilized the essay method during examinations to give her students the chance to understand, analyze, synthesize, and articulate well the lessons they learned. Through her instruction and training, she fostered critical thinking, innovation and intellectual dexterity among her students, aside from inculcating in them the value of discipline, resourcefulness, honesty and dedication"

Dr. Ramirez sought to make genetics more fascinating and simpler to grasp by producing the first lecture syllabus and a genetics laboratory manual back in 1967. "Her commitment to improving the curriculum, instruction, extension and student development in the university did not cease when she served as Dean of the UPLB Graduate School. She was research adviser to B.S., M.S. and PhD students. Being the epitome of a good scientist and teacher, Dr. Ramirez served as a pioneer in the instruction of genetics and contributed to making UPLB one of the finest institutes for agriculture in the Philippines and the world"