Aspiring teen scientist, ‘Yolanda’ survivor, gets scholarship from MIT

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27)— A 19-year-old aspiring scientist from Tacloban is set to fly to the United States for college as she received a scholarship from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Hillary Andales said she plans to pursue a degree in Physics and hopes to inspire more Filipinos to appreciate her chosen field.

Speaking to CNN Philippines, Andales said chasing a career track in physics and astrophysics research would also benefit her community that was devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

“We didn’t know what a storm surge was, and it meant life and death for us,” Andales recalled.

“There are many more instances where (science communication) is life and death-- vaccines, alternative medicines-- or critical-- climate change, nuclear power. On that front, I want to inform and more importantly, engage the public in science. I want everyone to love science. That's my biggest goal for science communication,” she added.

Andales in 2017 won the international science competition “Breakthrough Junior Challenge,” wherein participants are tasked to “explain a big scientific idea” through a short video. The teenager’s three-minute explainer of the theory of relativity won the top prize.

The recognition paved the way for numerous opportunities, as she bagged over $300,000 worth of financial aid from MIT.

“I don’t know how I got here. I don’t know exactly where to go from here. What I do know, though, is that I want to keep looking up to the stars, keep loving, and keep contributing to our world,” Andales wrote on her Facebook page.

MIT has been named by Quacquarelli Symonds' World University Rankings as the world’s top university for the eighth consecutive year.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Rex Remitio contributed to this report.