Feature Story: When passion becomes profession


President Nelia Zingapan Cauilan of the Apayao College State.

At this stage, her story may be all about the triumphs and victories in her chosen field of endeavor. She is candid in admitting that she also had her own share of hardships and frustrations from which everyone, particularly in the women-sector and those in government and the academe can draw inspiration.

In her almost 33 glorious years of consistently pursuing her passion, which ultimately became her profession, this woman-awardee found fulfillment in bringing to the young mind the much-needed knowledge, significant findings, theories and applications derived from research studies on how somethings might work better. She continues to venture into studies on how government agencies and instrumentalities, civil society organizations and other stakeholders can further improve their operations.

Just like the rest of the successful woman-leaders in government service and in the academe, College President Nelia Zingapan Cauilan, or ‘Nel’ as she is fondly called, has had her humble beginning in the fields of teaching and research.

After acquiring a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science at the University of the Philippines in 1984, Nel started working as a lecturer/part-time instructor at the Cagayan State University’s College of Arts and Sciences, teaching subjects like Economics and other Social Science subjects.

She believes that continuous learning is not only a requirement for success to happen in any field, but is essential to one’s professional and personal growth and development. She then pursued her post graduate studies where she earned her Master in Public Administration in 1987 and Doctor of Philosophy in Development in 1994, both from the Cagayan State University. 

It was in these early years that she fully embraced her teaching profession, although, she was aware that teaching is seen as a low-paying, thankless job by some. She, nevertheless, hanged on with the profession as she began to gain a sense of fulfillment in helping students achieve their dreams.          

Because of the unparalleled commitment and the exemplary performance she displayed, Nel rose from the ranks. She became Professor III, teaching basic and major courses in the Master in Public Administration program of the CSU’s Graduate School, including basic and major courses in the Doctoral program in 1987. She still teaches the same subjects at CSU up to this day.

She also handled Research and Thesis Writing courses in the Bachelor of Public Administration Program, another field where she was passionate about. She was also designated as Director of Research and Development for five years until she became Vice President for Research and Extension in November 2016.

colHer career started to reach new heights when she was appointed as College President of the Apayao State College in October 2017, a dream she never thought would happen.

Nel believes that teaching a subject you are passionate about, will have one get to spend every day talking about something you love and, hopefully, passing that passion on to others.

“When passion becomes your profession or vice versa, it doesn’t feel like anything is work anymore. If you just do it because your job requires you to do it, then you are missing the joy of living,”she said.

From then and up to this day, Nel is a dedicated research mentor, invaluable academic adviser, an engaging and inspiring professor and a constant source of passionate and excellent advice to the clientele she vowed to serve. 

Her deep involvement in research works has helped her students exposed to the processes of active scientific research and opportunities, thus, hone their skills and knowledge, even as they build connections.

Nel believes that doing various researches also benefit civil society and its members. She admits, though, that sources of funding for projects and research initiatives have been top concern for organizations wanting to address social issues toward social change.

researchAs a veteran in the field of research, she was commissioned by the University of the Philippines Population Institute Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc. in 2016 for the conduct of a thorough research on the Determinants of Premarital Sex Among Adolescents in Cagayan. The findings of which now serve as policy guidelines of concerned agencies and local government units.

Nel also led two research projects with the Commission on Population (PopCOm) and the Department of Health (DOH) to identify the Predictors of Contraceptive Use and the Determinants of Teenage Pregnancy in Region 2.

The results of the studies pushed the two agencies to strengthen their efforts through community-based information, education, and behavioral change communication and to implement programs and other interventions to prevent young ones from engaging in premarital sex and risky sexual behaviors at an early age which expose them to the risk of unintended pregnancy, early marriage, abortion and sexually-transmitted diseases.

She has been lucky enough to present her research findings and numerous papers in national and international fora to include the International Research Conference on Business, Economics and Social Sciences in Dubai, UAE on December 29-30, 2014; Regional Population Congress and Region 02 LepowPhil Chapter General Assembly at Venus Park View Hotel in Baguio City on March 16-18, 2016; International Conference on Social Science, Arts and Education in New York, United States on August 1-2, 2016, to name a few.

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Nel has been into various Southeast Asian Countries’ fora to include Thailand, Singapore, Hongkong, Malaysia and other countries to include China, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and United States to present her research findings in various fields in the international community.

“Research can actually shed light on social issues we didn’t even know existed, and can raise questions we didn’t realize even needed asking,” she said, adding that through research, we can encourage people to explore possibilities, to understand existing issues, and to distinguish truths from fabricated ones.

forFor her, research helps people hone their potentials and achieve goals through various opportunities for employment, scholarship and grants, project funding, business collaboration, and budget traveling, among others.

She believes that without research, technological advancements and other developments could just be a fantasy. She said lack of proper research and analysis about the existing as well as future situations could lead to poor and ineffective decision-making.

Amidst all the hard-earned and well-deserved promotions, Nel never ceased to encourage her students to persevere and to keep working hard on their research studies so that they will contribute to the stock of global knowledge and become a source of new ideas, methods, techniques and innovations across a whole range of disciplinary and multi-disciplinary areas.

She said there are always joys and challenges in undertaking research, but helping students understand what they know, and practice sharing what they know with others, can make a major difference in their lives as they launch towards new life after graduation.

“I believe being passionate about one’s research project is the most important thing, and this is the reason why I often encourage my students to choose research topics that they truly are interested in. Apart from their passion, they also need a positive attitude to help them go through the difficult times in this long journey,” Nel added.

Many feathers have been added to her cap of achievements but she still keeps doing research studies in various areas while she excellently leads and manages the Apayao State College’s two campuses.    

She has been consistently responding to the invitations of various government agencies, education institutions and other stakeholders to serve as subject-matter expert in the field of research and development during conferences, seminars and workshops, both at the local and international levels.

Nel is very generous in sharing what she knows, alongside honing the raw talents of people. She wants her staff to learn as much as they can as she pushes them to further enhance their technical capacities through training, scholarships and other avenues for learning. She has also touched and helped many students to achieve their dreams and to pursue their passion. All these, undoubtedly, have given pride and honor to her organization as she continues to flap her wings towards greater heights.

She always seals her work with excellence leading to her earning the respect and admiration of her staff and establish a good rapport with other stakeholders. As a leader, she constantly assures that every task and assignment be impeccably done and executed with finest tangible outputs. 

coupleStrangers may be intimidated by her serious-looking face, but deep inside, she has a cheerful personality that can dispel dull moments, and thus, put anyone else at ease.

Going to her personal life, Nel is filled with good traits and qualities. She leads a modest life for she believes that simplicity equates humility and selflessness. She shines bright in all aspects of her life. Her personal time is mainly spent for her family and she always ensures quality time given as part of her routine.

While aggressive and self-driven, she was able to keep everything in balance as an efficient College President, an affectionate wife, a doting mother, a thoughtful friend, a supportive professor and a humble public servant—an epitome of strong-willed woman.

Nel always believes that it is possible to combine commitments to various works because one’s various responsibilities can actually complement one another. However, in times of high demand on her energy, she said emphasis is best placed on priority activities while lesser priorities may have to give away.

famTruth to tell, people have become her adrenalin while her official and personal families, the backbone of her worth.

Needless to say, she is one of the living epitome of success transcending boundaries of gender and knowledge. Whether you are young or old, success should knock at your door when the right time comes. #


Source: PIA Feed