A 19-year-old Filipina student who won the top prize for the prestigious Breakthrough Junior Challenge is now pursuing her dream of becoming an astrophysicist by accepting the scholarship grant given by Massachusets Institute of Technology (MIT).
19-year-old Hillary Diane Andales is now on her way to becoming the country’s fourth astrophysicist as she plans to pursue research studies in astrophysics at MIT after the latter offered her a full scholarship.
This young Pinay genius was the grand prize winner of an international science competition hosted by NASA Ames Research Facility. She bested over 11,000 competitors from 178 countries to become the champion of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge. Her video about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity gained the nod of the judges and won it all for Hillary.
No Ordinary Child
Hillary’s affinity for Math and Science started way back to her childhood days. A daughter of a Chemist and an Accountant, there is no doubt that numbers and science run in her blood. At a young age, she remembers her parents telling her about Marie Curie and Einstein instead of folk tales and fairy tales.
Her interest in communicating Science in layman’s term was fueled by the harrowing experience they had in the Typhoon Yolanda. Because they did not know what a storm surge was when PAGASA made the warning, they had to endure 7 hours holding on to the trusses of their house just to escape the floods.
Country’s Next Astrophysicist
Her victory in the Breakthrough Junior Challenge sparked the interest of various prestigious universities from getting her. She was offered scholarships from Stanford, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and SUNY Stony Brook but she decided to go to MIT and realize her dream of becoming an astrophysicist.
Hillary couldn’t help but be thankful for the opportunities coming her way. “I’m always enveloped by a feeling of thankfulness – for how the stars have aligned, for how I’ve been blessed to receive so much.”