Monday, August 07, 2006

Prof. Zosima T. Vicencio: A picture of a Dedicated Mentor

Prof. Zosima T. Vicencio: A picture of a Dedicated Mentor

Soledad S. Garibay

I have known her personally for many years ever since I was a student. Way back at U.P. Diliman she is a terror Professor because of her 75 % passing score in her Phycology laboratory class. Yet in many ways Ma’am Vicencio remains a very gentle and sweet mentor.

Born on December 26, 1923 in Navotas, Rizal, Professor Zosima T. Vicencio, “Ziming” to her friends is one of the former Professors of the College of Fisheries who had worked hard with dedication and commitment to her Institution for 39 years.

Ms. Vicencio, an M.S. Botany graduate at UP Diliman, is considered as one of the few phycologists in the country sought after her expertise on algal taxonomy not only within the University but by other agencies including private sectors. Her research was generally on the plankton particularly on diatoms. Among the number of researches she got involved with include the: “Algal Food Habits of the Milkfish”, “Plankton of Samar Sea”, “Plankton Flora of Laguna de Bay”, and “The “Limnological Studies of Bulusan, Naujan and Paoay Lakes”. No wonder that through her initiative and efforts she has earned a respected status in her own field of specialization.

Ms. Vicencio started her professional career as an Instructor in the Fish Preservation Department of the defunct Philippine Institute of Fisheries Technology (PIFT) which was then under the Bureau of Fisheries. In 1952, she was transferred to the Fish Culture Department where she was made to teach Aquatic Botany (Phycology). In 1957, by organization Law, PIFT was transferred under the administration of the University of the Philippines. With hard work and determination, she rose in rank from Instructor to Full Professor.

Now at 82, Prof. Vicencio remains active in her career. For three years, she has served as a private consultant working on the identification of planktons both with PHIL-KOEI International Inc., a private agency. At her age, many envy her because she can still ably use the microscope and identify phytoplankton. This only shows that her love and dedication to her field of interest never dies.

When asked for her principles in life, she said that, “In the performance of your assigned task, always work systematically to get things done the best way that you can. Be dedicated and devoted to what you do and be determined to strive for accomplishment. Learn and grow along with your chosen field”.

So, what else can I say about her? It is just right that we and the future generations learn from her to become more dedicated and committed in our own chosen field.

Prof. Vicencio who retired in May 1988, has donated some of her seaweed collections at the UPV Museum of Natural Sciences.

She passed away on November 15, 2006 in Malabon, Metro Manila.