John Noel V., a 21-year young guy who participated in the Pathways – Aiducation program, is full of motivation and energy to change himself, his family and his country for the better. Since high school, Noel has been actively involved in the Pathways Program as a participant and volunteer. Noel kindly shares his story in an interview with Aiducation.

Noel, what are you working on at the moment?

I graduated last year and earned my Bachelor of Science major in Management Information Systems with a Specialization in Business Intelligence from Ateneo de Manila University, a Jesuit-run Catholic university here in the Philippines.
Straight out of my undergraduate studies, I continued my studies and set to finish my Masters of Science in Computer Science in Ateneo as well.
During my studies, I work as a Research Assistant in Ateneo Social Computing Science (ASCS) laboratory and SHINE laboratory for two projects. I lead the development of a disaster management system for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and I facilitate the online submission of electronic medical records to the Department of Health.
I am also involved as the Vice President for Administration of Alay ni Ignacio, the student organization within Pathways. I am mainly in charge of the financial transactions of the student organization.

How did you first hear of the Pathways program that Aiducation helps fund? How did you get the chance to participate in it?

I first heard about Pathways when I was in my sophomore year in high school. Back then, volunteers from Alay ni Ignacio went to our school to invite us to join their summer school program. Since I had nothing to do for the summer, I tried out and got in. Fast-forward, I learned that the summer school program of Alay ni Ignacio is just part of the bigger program of Pathways to Higher Education, which I then joined. The Pathways Program envisions Filipino students from grassroots background becoming this country’s next set of leaders through higher education and a leadership formation program.

In which ways did this program influence your life and what was the most important outcome for you?

For me, the most important outcome of this program was not the tangible ones. Yes, they prepared me for college and supported me throughout, but the biggest help was empowering me that I can do it. It helped me to build confidence, be aware of the things I need to improve on, acknowledge and use my strengths well and just keep that fire burning inside me. The biggest influence of Pathways in my life has been the empowerment that they continuously give me, and the other participants. It made us who we are not because someone dictated us the right way, but someone helped us find it ourselves.

What did you like most about your experience with Pathways?

After six years as a participant and then an alumnus, Pathways core values have helped me create a career. Commitment to excellence, love of learning, integrity, solidarity and service to society has been integrated into my own set of core values. During my undergraduate studies, I searched for a career where I would enjoy what I am doing, and at the same time, be active in helping out the country. Luckily, my current career choice fits perfectly into those criteria because I have adopted and integrated Pathways core values into my own values.

What would you like to achieve in your life?

I want to achieve a life for others better than it used to be. Some goals are as simple as getting my own family to have a better quality of life than I had. I want to provide a house for my parents. But most of all, I want to help my country. I want to earn my Ph.D. abroad so when I come back here in the Philippines, I can help more. Even if there will be some curve ball and I will not have a Ph.D. degree, I still want to help my country. I want to be an active leader in the government.
Our family may not be the poorest of the poor, but I had the glimpse of how was it to be poor, in other aspects. I had been there and I do not want to turn my back to where I came from.

Anything else you would like to share?

I would like to thank Pathways and Aiducation for providing its beneficiaries the opportunity they have continuously given us. I would like to thank the donors for their trust and support. Without you, we would not have achieved what we have achieved so far. For that, I thank you!

Interview: Simone Siegenthaler

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