MANILA -- Binibining Pilipinas International 2021 Hannah Arnold reiterated the importance of science and technology in the country's progress during a public speaking engagement on Thursday.
The beauty queen was invited to deliver an inspirational message in a virtual event organized by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), one of the sectoral councils of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Repeating her opening statement during the Bb. Pilipinas 2021 pageant, Arnold hopes that the Philippines will invest more in science and technology, and that more students will take up science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.
She pointed out how the pandemic "truly shone an even greater spotlight on science," citing the efforts of scientists to inform the public about COVID-19, as well as the vaccines and other technologies.
"STEM will continue to play a vital role in our lives even after the pandemic. Building a strong foundation now will set our country up for success for the remainder of 2021 and beyond," Arnold said.
"Science will help us improve our critical thinking as we discover the world around us. Technology will prepare us to be in a high-tech innovative environment. Engineering will allow us to improve our problem-solving skills and apply this to new projects in the community. Mathematics will enable us to analyze information and make conscious decisions when creating solutions for all," she added.
"STEM education brings a valuable contribution to our society and will prepare us to transform areas of concern with innovation and sustainable solutions."
Arnold went on to declare that people in the fields of STEM can become the country's modern-day heroes and leaders.
"Let us convince everyone, especially the younger generations and those in power, that science and technology will help us out of this darkness. Let us inspire confidence and belief in the future," she said.
"Now more than ever, the Philippines longs for modern-day heroes and leaders who will work towards genuine and sustainable development. I believe that those modern-day heroes are in the fields of STEM," she stressed.
Meanwhile, Arnold said she is looking forward to more collaborations with PCIEERD and DOST as she uses her platform as an advocate for education.
"My path may have been redirected -- I became a model, a beauty pageant candidate, and a sleep scientist for a short while, so I may not currently be a working or researching scientist. However, my love for the lab, wearing my lab coat and goggles, and the smell of the chemicals will never disappear. I will proudly continue to raise the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics flag," she said.
Before joining Bb. Pilipinas, Arnold graduated with a degree in Forensic Science from the University of Canberra in Australia.
She said her love for science started at the age of 7, noting that she always "had a curious eye for everything around me and open ears to the sounds nearby."
"I hope my message will inspire another 7-year-old girl to be a scientist, too," she said.