Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno
Research student Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno talks about research, friendship and success at Cardiff
Don (top left) with teachers at the Balud School
I cannot ask for more from my stay in Cardiff University. I won two major awards while doing my Diploma and my PhD-the World Science Forum Award in 2005 and the SHINE International Student Award in 2008.
Getting accepted at Cardiff was an award in itself. The knowledge and experiences that I gained and the friendships that were nurtured are the real prizes. The University was the right place for this winning streak. It is a truly global university in a real sense-one that opens its arms to international students, and one that gives back to the rest of the world especially to those who need most.
I enrolled at Cardiff after I won a Nippon Foundation Fellowship at the School of Social Sciences in 2005. I am attached to the Seafarers International Research Centre where my work looks at the sexual risk-taking behaviour of seafarers in the context of HIV/AIDS. I had the opportunity to be taught by mentors who are international experts in their fields. The University campus and the city of Cardiff provided a good ambience for study.
Don graduating with a Diploma in 2006
I was keen on making a difference on campus. I involved myself in two committees, the Postgraduate Committees of the Student Union and the Academic Committee of the School of Social Sciences. I was also active in the Postgraduate Café, which is a gathering of postgraduate students in my School. I also founded the Filipino Students Society of Cardiff University of which I was elected as the Interim President.
While a postgraduate student, I initiated the Balud Project which supports a poor community in the Philippines. We rehabilitated the village school and improved their quality of education. This little project has gone a long way and is now known by many. I saw it as a grassroots approach towards the attainment of the millennium development goals of the United Nations.
The University also provided me all the support for my research work and for the field I love most-global health. We negotiated with the Catholic University of Santos in Brazil to allow me to conduct research in the country. I was hosted as a Visiting Scholar by the latter. I interviewed seafarers in the port and stayed in the bars every night to observe and talk with the sex workers. My research work has been well recognized. I had the opportunity to attend conferences across the world while a PhD student.
All these endeavors enhanced my understanding of the plight of marginalized peoples of the world. My time at Cardiff inculcated upon me the true meaning of education-to make use of one’s learning in improving the lives of others. Now that I am almost finished with my PhD I feel confident that I will move on to the greater world with a wider perspective of life and the fervor for service to others.
I cannot imagine that I have reached this far given my own poor and humble beginnings in rural Philippines. It has been a long journey from home. But it was worth the trip. This is a true prize that I will cherish forever.