Vivian A. Topor: 2022 PFCS-Shimadzu Achievement Awardee for Chemistry Education (Tertiary Level)

Vivian Azucena-Topor began her teaching career as a Secondary School Teacher at the Iloilo National High School. In 1996, she joined the Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines Visayas where she is currently an Associate Professor. She has served as the Director of the Graduate Program Office (GPO) and as Chairperson of the Division of Professional Education of the University of the Philippines Visayas.

Her passion for teaching chemistry led her to develop innovations to make the learning of chemistry fun and interesting. She developed the chemistry games (ChemTrump, ChemSquabble, and ChemFactory) that introduce the students to the language of chemistry and stimulate their interests in the properties of the elements and compounds. She also authored a workbook titled ChemSearch & ChemPuzzle (Ionic Compounds Series) which aims to enhance students’ skills in writing chemical formula and naming ionic compounds.

She pioneered the conduct of the Chemistry Camp for high school students and teachers in Region VI which aims to enhance the teachers’ knowledge and skills in chemistry concepts and experiments, and for the students to experience and appreciate chemistry through simple experiments using ordinary household materials and solutions. Her leadership in spearheading these activities led several students to pursue a degree in Chemistry because they were inspired by the chemistry games, chemistry quiz bee, and laboratory hands-on trainings.

She is a role model and an inspiration to her colleagues in the University. Aside from being excellent in teaching performance, she is also active in research, specifically in cassava cyanogenesis, where she developed the cassava cyanide test kit which finds useful application in food safety. She translated to the community what she teaches inside the classroom when she collaborated with the Department of Agriculture and the Local Government Units of Aklan, Antique, Guimaras, Negros Occidental and Iloilo in conducting trainings and seminars about cassava cyanide, cyanide intoxication and the use of the Cassava Cyanide Color Wheel Test Kit. The impact of her contribution to the community was recognized by the Bato Balani Foundation Inc. and Diwa Learning Systems, Inc. where she was awarded the 2016 The Many Faces of a Teacher as the “Community Biochemist.”

She has been granted several certificates of copyright registration and deposit by the National Library of the Philippines for her original works and four Utility Model Registration by the Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL). Her use of indigenous plant pigments as acid-base indicators in laboratory classes has continuously spark her interest on new plant materials, and the collection of the plants screened is showcased in her recent book titled “Beyond the Beautiful Blossoms: the colors, the pH, and the wildflowers’ untapped potentials.” She and her Team produced books and booklets for use by technicians of the Department of Agriculture, cassava farmers and cassava processors.

Currently, Dr. Topor is the President of the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology– Western Visayas Chapter; Executive Vice President of the Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers – Region 6; Board of Director of the Integrated Chemist of the Philippines – Panay Chapter, Inc.; and Auditor, Western Visayas Association of Filipino Inventors Inc.

Vivian A. Topor
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of the Philippines Visayas
The 2022 PFCS-Shimadzu Achievement Award for Chemical Education (Tertiary Level) is co-presented by Shimadzu Philippines Corporation.