UPAA-NJ To Honor Five Outstanding Alumni

by Kobakila News

UNION, NJ –  The University of the Philippines Alumni Association – New Jersey Chapter (UPAA-NJ) will be honoring five alumni recipients of its 2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards at its biennial General Assembly and election of officers for 2015-16 on November 23, 2014, 1 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton – Newark Airport, 128 Frontage Road, Newark, NJ.

Michael A. Palis, Ph.D, who is being honored for his distinguished public service,  will be delivering the keynote speech on “Careers of the Future”.

Palis is an internationally recognized computer scientist and fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. At Rutgers-Camden since 1996 as the Founding Chair of the Department of Computer Science, he co-founded the Science Vision Laboratory, a National Science Foundation-funded and industry-supported high-performance computing facility to support research in the computational sciences. He established the Crimson Scholars Program for computer science and mathematics majors and the Computer Science Internship Program.

He also established The Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Rutgers-Camden that has attracted accomplished researchers around the world.  He was previously on the faculty of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Palis received his B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering (cum laude, 1979) and in Physics (magna cum laude, 1980) from U.P.  He obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota in 1985.

In the field of Physics, UPAA-NJ recognizes Jerry I. Dadap, Jr., Ph.D. A Research Scientist at Columbia University, Dr. Dadap’s investigations include the electronic structure and optical properties of two-dimensional-layered materials and silicon photonics.  He has authored over 100 journal and conference papers, two encyclopedia articles, and four patents. He is an Associate Editor of the prestigious science journal, Optics Express.

As a gesture of gratitude to the Philippines, he gives talks at the National Institute of Physics and offers his services for the Samahang Pisika ng Pilipinas annual conference. An accomplished musician, Dr. Dadap’s compositions have been premiered by noted groups like the Philippine Madrigal Singers, where he was a previous member. He received his B.S. (Physics) degree from U.P. in 1983, his M.S.in Physics from Louisiana State University in 1987, and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996.

In the field of music, Aida A. Gamboa, M.Mus., a teacher at John Adams Middle School in Edison, NJ, is being honored for her meritorious achievements in inspiring her students to reach for the heights in their musical aspirations. Gamboa has led her students to consistently earn a place in the annual CJMEA Region 2 Choir, the NJMEA/NJACDA All-State Honor Choir, and ACDA All-Eastern Honor Choir and National Honor Choir.  As Music Director of Filipino Families and Friends of North Edison’s annual Summer Youth Camp through most of its 20 years, she has engendered increased attendance, leadership development, and cultural pride.

Consequently, the New Jersey Music Educators Association awarded her the 2015 NJ Master Music Teacher distinction.  A mezzo-soprano, Gamboa has sung major parts in operas such as Puccini’s La Boheme, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites and La Voix Humaine, to name a few, as well as under the batons of renowned conductors as Karl Hochreitter, Yaakov Bergman, Miles Morgan, Piero Gamba, Francisco Feliciano, Oscar Yatco, Lucrecia Kasilag, and with the widely acclaimed Philippine Madrigal Singers from 1974-1980. She was under the tutelage of Andrea Veneracion of the University of the Philippines, Raquel Adonaylo of Curtis Institute, Hannah Ludwig, Julius Severin of Mozarteum, Austria, and John Lester of the University of Montana and Evelyn Mandac, of Juilliard School, among others. Gamboa graduated from the U.P. with a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance.

Leonila N. Mariazeta, MA, M.Ed, RN, CCRN, is being awarded for her dedication to advancing the training of nurses and raising the profile of Filipino nurses in America.  As Acting Chief of Patient Service Education at the Department of Veteran Affairs, New York Harbor Healthcare System, Ms. Mariazeta instituted innovations such as the Reusable Medical Equipment Management program, which received excellent commendation from several accreditation agencies including The Joint Commission, the Office of the Inspector General, and the System Ongoing Assessment and Review Strategy (SOARS).  As Lead Coordinator of New York Harbor’s newly opened Simulation Center, she set up and implemented state-of-the-art training scenarios and metrics.

Mariazeta developed a multidisciplinary simulated code 4000 and the Rapid Response Program (RRP), which received accolades from the VA VISN3 Simulation Committee.  She has authored protocols, policies, and procedures related to patient and staff education and is a Preceptor to nursing students of the VA Medical Center.  An active citizen of her profession, she is a long time member of the American Nurses Association, New York State Nurses Association, American Association of Critical Nurses, and International Society for Simulation in Healthcare, past President of the Philippine Nurses Association of American, New York Chapter (2008-2010) and of the University of the Philippines Alumni Association, New Jersey Chapter (2010-2012). Mariazeta obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the U.P., College of Nursing, in 1979, Master of Arts (MA), Nursing Management Nurse Executive Role in 1987, and Master in Education (M.Ed) in 1990 from Columbia University, Teachers College, in New York City.

Constancia S. Uy, M.D., is highly distinguished for her exceptional achievements in the field of Medicine. Dr. Uy is one of only eleven board certified pediatric nephrologists in New Jersey.  She is the Director of Pediatric Nephrology at the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Vice-Chair for Clinical Affairs, and a full Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics of Rutgers-UMDNJ, where students, residents and colleagues describe Dr. Uy as a “dynamic teacher, great mentor, excellent role model whose dedication and enthusiasm makes learning complicated material fun and comprehensible.”

UMDNJ appropriately selected her to be the recipient of the University Master Educator Award and inducted her into the Stuart Cook Master Educators Guild. She is a recipient of Pamana ng Pilipino Award from the Philippine government for Excellence in Pedriatric Nephrology and service to the Filipino American community and is the first Filipina to receive the New Jersey Woman of Achievement Award by the New Jersey Federation of Women’s Clubs and Douglass College. (This award is bestowed on “distinguished women in New Jersey who have demonstrated a strong commitment in the areas of leadership, humanistic contributions, philanthropic activities, community service, the arts, professional commitment and other achievements.”  Past recipients include former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Althea Gibson, and Millicent Fenwick.)

As president of U.P. Medical Alumni Society in America, she was instrumental in establishing a permanent endowment for the UP College of Medicine in the Philippines and initiated the establishment of the Philippine General Hospital Pediatric Emergency Department Fund as well as the Pediatrician of the Year Award to honor Filipino pediatricians who excel in teaching, research and patient care.  As President of the Philippine Pediatric Society in America, she started the educational grants for young lepers in Palawan.  Dr. Uy received her Doctor of Medicine degree from U.P. in 1967 and is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.


For further information about the event, e-mail UPAANJ2014Awards@yahoo.com or call Tatess Abad at 201-486-5852 or Flor Yalong at 732-991-2395.


Leave a Comment