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Leyte Student Wins Global Science Competition

Leyte Student Wins Global Science Competition

A student from Leyte bested 11,000 young learners from 178 countries to bag the third annual Breakthrough Junior Challenge (BJC) Prize, earning over PHP20 million worth of prizes.

Hillary Diane Andales, 18, from the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) Eastern Visayas Campus in Palo, Leyte personally received the award on December 3 at the NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.

The native of Abuyog, Leyte made the video Relativity and Equivalence of Reference Frames, understandable to the layman.

As the winner, Andales received a USD250,000 post-secondary scholarship as well as a USD50,000 prize for her science teacher Xavier Francis de los Reyes and a USD100,000 Breakthrough Science Lab for her school designed in partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

The total prize is USD400,000 or PHP20.27 million.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is a global science video competition designed to inspire creative thinking about the fundamental concepts in life sciences, physics and mathematics.

The competition kicked off last Sept. 1, 2017. She didn’t make it as the Top Scorer in the online competition, but she made it to the finals as Asia’s regional representative until declared winner this week.

The entrants must display skills in science communication and to be able to simplify complex ideas into basic terms. The videos were evaluated based on four criteria: Creativity, Difficulty, Engagement and Illumination.

This was Andales’ second time in the competition.

Last year, with more than 300,000 views of her video, she won the Top Popular Vote.

She automatically qualified as finalist for her video presentation on Feyman’s Path Integrals explaining in advance Physics concept that can be understood by an average person.

This lone BJC winner is a recipient of Mga Bagong Rizal 2017: Pag-asa ng Bayan. The awarding will be on December 30, the Rizal Day.

The said nationwide search recognizes young people’s community involvements, leadership potential and high academic standing.

In her Facebook message, Andales wrote “I’ve always looked up to two kind of stars, those who shine at night, enchanting my mind about the universe, and those that shine before me now- these amazing scientists inspiring me with their genius and tenacity to pursue the truth.”

Rey Garnace, PSHS EV Director, said on Wednesday that he’s euphoric of the victory but not surprised.

“Andales has been our school pride. She has imbibed the vision of the school to have a passion for excellence, pursuit for truth, and service to the nation.”

Super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has pushed the scholars to be more resilient and inspired, according to Garnace.

The campus has become a powerhouse of winners in international arena since 2015 being the champion in ASEAN + 3 Junior Science Odyssey, World Champion in Robotics in 2016 and BJC Grand Prize 2017.

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, Yuri and Julia Milner, through the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, based on a grant from Mark Zuckerber’s fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and a grant from Milner Global Foundation. (PNA)