GBF’s 2020 scholar-graduates are eager to spark change

The future is theirs for the taking.

It was Nelson Mandela who said that education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world. The Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF) believes in a similar ethos, and over time, has helped educate over a thousand future members of the workforce. In 2020, 45 of them proudly take their place in the real world, ready to shape their future as they see fit.

“My goal is to be a driver of change and innovation in the field by making routine processes more efficient and effective, and enhancing employees' workplace experiences and career development,” says Katrina Marcelo, a magna cum laude graduate of BS Industrial Engineering from the University of the Philippines.

As one of the 13 scholar-graduates of the GBF Next Gen Scholarship for Excellence, a program designed to support deserving siblings and children of Gokongwei Group employees, Katrina hopes to embody the core values she has picked up from GBF in the last four years-- leadership, service, collaboration, and excellence.

“Service was a big aspect of my college life,” she says, “it was a way for me to show my gratitude to the foundation.”

Renan Bilan, a summa cum laude graduate of BS Chemical Engineering from Central Philippine University in Iloilo, hopes to inspire positive change by example. “I am a person of perseverance, determination and faith; and these are the values that I want to instill to everyone,” he says. “As an aspiring Chemical Engineer, I want to be somebody who can relate to all dimensions of life, somebody who can be trusted, and somebody who can follow and lead at the same time.”

Receiving the GBF Gokongwei Group STEM Scholarship of Excellence, an educational grant for outstanding students in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, has been instrumental in shaping Renan’s perspective on life.

“Studying in a private institution was a great challenge not just for me but for my parents also because of our financial instability,” he shares as he expresses gratitude for the support the group had given him.

However, he also adds that one of the most important lessons the scholarship has taught him is to not be afraid of chasing bigger dreams. “With this scholarship, I was [molded] to strive more, to reach my goals, and to become what I want to be someday.”

Katrina and Renan aren’t the only ones who are dreaming of a better future. All over the Philippines, there are countless other young, talented Filipinos who are looking forward to a brighter tomorrow. It is because of them that GBF continues to do its best to get them to a place where they can inspire that change themselves.

GBF has graduated 254 STEM SFE scholars and 131 NextGen scholars through the years. In 2020, GBF is supporting 235 STEM SFE scholars and 120 NextGen scholars through college.