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By Nancy Carvajal

A Filipina cancer survivor studying at the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in California has been chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to study COVID-19 impact on the youth.

Lianlen Joy Go Distor will lead a team that would research the pandemic’s effect on the youth as part of the The Youth As Researchers (YAR) initiative, according to an announcement from LMU. She bested 6,000 students from 128 countries to take part in the study.

Distor, who battled Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in her childhood, was also awarded two coveted two research grants search opportunities: an Honors Research Fellowship and the RAINS Undergraduate Research Fellowship in LMU.

According to the UNESCO website, the The Youth As Researchers (YAR) is a global initiative on COVID-19. It connects and engages with young people to conduct research on the impacts of COVID-19 on young people and the responses young people have implemented to tackle these.

Distor’s father, National Bureau of Investigation Officer in Charge Director Eric Distor, said his daughter had shown interest in science and medicine at an early age.

As a student at the Southern Mindanao Philippine Science High School, the NBI executive said his daughter had presented significant research findings on various topics connected to the fight against infection and bacteria at global conferences in Japan and Malaysia.

Distor was also cited for her role in a study identifying an alternative to existing antibacterial agents.

As a member of the LMU Honors Program, Distor currently works as a teaching assistant and tutors three math class sections.

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