Katherine is one of the graduates from W4’s field partner program in the Philippines, Children of Asia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cebu in October 2011. Despite the challenges of competing in a male-dominated field, Katherine not only passed the Philippine Mechanical Engineering board exam in March 2012, she also achieved the 6th highest result, making her the first woman to rank among the top 10 board passers. She shares her success story with us below.
College education was just a dream for my family and me. My father works as a building maintenance employee, while my mother is a housewife. My parents struggled daily to support our needs and to also send my older brother, a working scholar, and my older sister, a government scholar, to university.
When I graduated from high school, my mother apologized to me, in tears, because my parents could not afford to send me, their third child, to college. However, I was recommended by a neighbor to be one of the beneficiaries of the Children of Asia girls’ education scholarship program. From that moment on, my life changed. I was able to fulfill my dream by enrolling in the Bachelor of Science degree program in Mechanical Engineering at one of the universities here in Cebu, which offers a high quality education for mechanical engineers.
During my university years, it was difficult for my parents to provide the money for our daily allowances and projects, but they always made our education their priority. I was fortunate that Children of Asia provided me with the funds to pay for books, school uniforms, school projects, tuition fees and miscellaneous fees, which helped us tremendously.
It was not easy for me to compete with my male classmates, especially in our laboratories and workshop practices, which required physical strength to operate machines, such as the lathe and milling machines, while producing precise outputs. While keeping in mind the hardships that my family endured and the support I was receiving through my education scholarship, I did my best to attain excellent grades and to become a top student.
During my 5th year in college, I underwent an operation because I had developed an ovarian cyst. Even though I had to take a semester off from my studies, this did not discourage me. When I returned for the last year of my Mechanical Engineering courses, I was determined to give it my best and I succeeded in becoming nationally ranked 6th on the Philippine Licensure Examination for Mechanical Engineers, the only female in the top 10-scoring graduates. I wanted to prove that women can also make it in the male-dominated course. I said to myself, “If men can do it, so can I!”
Now, I am planning to find a job here in the Philippines, particularly in Cebu as a design engineer for a shipbuilding and engineering design and detailing company. Once I have gained enough work experience, I will seize the chance to work abroad to help my family and my two younger siblings in realizing their dreams, just as Children of Asia helped me in realizing mine. – Katherine Nadela
You can help young women like Katherine obtain a life-changing education and qualifications by donating to girls’ education scholarship programs. Even the most modest donation can make a life-changing difference.
© Women’s WorldWide Web 2012