Alberto Medalla: The Choob of DISCS

Written by Christian Chan. Edited by Denise Joaquin and Matthew Yuching.

Photo Header by Patricia Dy.

If you ask them, batches of former Computer Science (CS), Management Information Systems (MIS), and Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) students can remember walking into Faura Hall Room 227, awaiting the opening moments of Introduction to Computing,  a.k.a. CS 21. Then, in steps this handsome-looking man, possibly in his 30s (but doesn’t look like it), wearing a striped blue shirt with pants, and is donning black eyeglasses. He then begins to explain the DISCS Lab Rules and the syllabus for the subject.

This man is Alberto “Choob” H. Medalla, mentor, classmate, and a friend to the CS blocks and to other DISCS professors. He has 15 years of experience under his belt, and his cheery smile shows that he is enjoying the teaching life. And so, I decided to give him some love the Celadon way Yes, DISCS professors also need some appreciation.

The Six Outputs of Choob Medalla

On his views on teaching:

“When I started studying here, I had great experiences with my own teachers. I guess what happened was: It was more of I got inspired by them, inspired so much that I actually considered a career in teaching. […]But as far as having my views change about teaching I mean I think it’s always been the same. I’ve always thought how important a teacher is in a person’s life.”

On his memorable moments as a teacher:

“I can’t think of anything specific now, but it’s more of a memorable feeling how fun classes are. I remember your [Christian’s] class. So as I’ve said earlier, it was my very first freshmen class that I [have] actually taught; it was my very first CS 21B class which we offered to freshmen.”

“It was my first time to teach a freshman class, and I remembered how it felt at the beginning. I was a little nervous because [these] kids came from high school. I heard from other teachers how difficult freshmen can be, so I was a little nervous. By the end of the [semester], I was thinking to myself, “Why did I not teach a freshman class earlier?’ [Because] I had such a nice experience with you guys.”

On his memorable professors:  

“Oh yeah, definitely. [The] first person that comes to my mind is my English teacher Rica Bolipata-Santos. Amazing teacher! She’s definitely one of the people who inspired me to become a teacher also and continually try to do my best. She’s currently the head of the public relations office in the Ateneo.

On choosing to be a professor:

“Well, there have been a lot of influences so, like I said, there’s Rica Bolipata-Santos, my English teacher. There’s also my uncle, who was a teacher also. He was the former dean of UP Economics. But mostly, what inspired me was just the feeling of teaching people.”

“I remember when I was a junior here in the Ateneo. I took this class; it was a multimedia class. I just remembered a lot of my classmates were having a hard time following the topics, and they would always come to me for help. And I would try my best to teach them. And that was the very first time I thought, “Hey! I think I actually like doing this, so I might, maybe, give it a try.””

On his go-to vacation spots:

“Vacation, um. I mean gosh! There’s a LOT. […] Japan was nice, NY (New York) also. I enjoyed NY; it was such an exciting place. In Japan, I first went to Osaka. The food was really good. Every food place I went to, the food was amazing. Then, I’ve also visited Sapporo during winter and the snow was really nice. I got to go skiing […]. That was very memorable! Super fun!”

Favorite games or genres:

I don’t think there’s a specific genre that I like, but I’ve had played many different types of games. It started off when I was young with classic games like Super Mario and Contra I don’t know if you kids know those games [laughs]. Then there was also Gradius, this game called Gradius. And then, eventually, I got a Sega when I was in high school. And I remember Oh, before that, one of my favorite games growing up was Rock Man, which is also known as Mega Man. Rock Man 2 was definitely one of my favorite games of all time. And then, as I’ve said, I got a Sega at some point. I was playing Sonic a lot, so that was one of my favorite games at some point.”

“And then I got a PlayStation, playing Crash Bandicoot for a while, [laughs]. But I haven’t played in a while; the last game I was really into was God of War 2, which was like a couple of years ago. And then I remembered just staying up until the sun came out playing that game, and then, I said to myself, “Yeah, I think I need to stop and focus on other things.” Now, once in a while, I play Mario Kart with some students, and that’s about the extent of my gaming right now. Maybe Candy Crush, I still play Candy Crush sometimes, I think I’m probably the only person [laughs].”

And there you have it, dear reader, a closer look at one of the younger professors of the DISCS. If you do have classes under him, do approach me or any CS or MIS student. Do not fear if we say Choob in response, for that is his nickname. Finally, if you walk about the second floor of Faura Hall, you may see a tall, young, moustached man wearing a casual shirt and pants, sometimes a navy blue jacket. What’s most noticeable about him is his black eyeglasses. That’s Sir Medalla, and I advise you to stop and say hi!

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