Bernard Alan “BA” Racoma is currently a 3rd year PHD student and an instructor in the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM). Through a scholarship, he is taking up a double degree: a PHD in Meteorology at the University of the Philippines Diliman and a PHD in Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate at the University of Reading in the UK.
Before his doctorate studies, he also ventured into the world of Applied Physics as an undergraduate and Geology as an MS student. That being mentioned, BA has studied and is currently studying multiple disciplines and calls himself a hybrid scientist. “It allows me to see multiple, holistic perspectives. It also lets me understand how one field affects the other and, more importantly, how these scientific fields relate to social studies and humanities,” he says.
In 2011, BA was recruited as part of the ClimateX project where he helped in developing a tool to convert satellite data into meaningful information that will predict rainfall. The tool is helpful in monitoring rainfall during extreme weather events like tropical cyclones and enhanced monsoons. In 2016, he joined DOST’s Project Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards or Project NOAH. Project NOAH is a response program that monitors satellite or radar data used for real time risk assessment. Through this, they were able to provide the list and maps of high-risk areas that were used by different agencies to respond and manage the typhoon. These projects were carried on to monitor other succeeding weather events. As an IT Officer of NOAH, he led the IT and web development team before he moved on to take further studies in 2018.
BA wants to relay the importance of science communicators. Although he believes that people generally have more awareness of the weather, atmospheric and climate status because of the use of different social media platforms, he still thinks that there is a need to bridge the gap that sets apart the scientific community and the society. “A scientist’s mission should not only be to publish a paper, but also to be able to relay their research to the public through effectively translating its findings and implications.”
BA hopes to inspire more Filipino scientists in the future as he plans to continue teaching in IESM after he finishes his PHD. He is greatly knowledgeable in Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping and Programming and this is one of the skills that he wants future environmental scientists and meteorologists to learn. He wants to relay the importance of good mentorship to people who are still creating the person they want to be. Some students that he used to mentor in the past have become engineers, doctors or taking up higher studies, and he feels fulfillment in this. “Although I did not directly help them in becoming professionals, I’d like to think that I somehow inspired them,” he adds.
“In whatever science you are studying, besides asking all questions you need to understand, try to look at what you’re studying from different perspectives and always think how your science can be of benefit to people,” says BA to those who want to pursue higher studies and research.
For weather updates and important information, you may follow BA on twitter: @bumaBAgyo