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Catch-up with PhilDev Scholar Jession Diwangan

Jession Diwangan is one of our PhilDev-Shell scholars. He recently graduated from Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan with a degree on BS Electronics and Communications Engineering, cum laude. Inspired by the teaching of the Jesuits to strive not for material things but for things that last, Jession talks about the value of education and how it has significantly shaped his life.  Jession is a member of the Umayamnon tribe in Cabngalsan, Bukidnon and proudly carries his identity as a lumad, which is a term used to refer to indigenous people (IPs) from southern Philippines.

Tell us about your childhood

“We used to live in the middle of the forest. We were basically nomads. We had to transfer from one place to another in search of food. Due to an incident in our community, we, along with my fellow indigenous people (IPs) and lumads, had to go to the city. That was the first time that the concept of education was introduced to me. I started going to school to study.  Before that, I wasn’t really aware of the importance of education. “

What is education for you?

“Education is a process. It’s not just something you have to complete. You learn something, you appreciate which things fulfill you. Before I was given the opportunity to study, I had a narrow mindset of the world. For me it was so small. I didn’t know that there was a world beyond where I lived (the forest).”

“Education is the process of learning something and gaining from it, expanding your experience, your mindset and your being.”

Why Electronics Engineering?

When I was in Third Grade, it was the first time that I saw a radio [set]. I always wondered how it works. I wanted to know how. I also started reading books, mostly about technology. These are things very foreign in our place, so I wanted to learn more about them.

“My lowest point was the time I had to look for food because I ran out of money while I was in the city. I didn’t know how to survive that day. I cannot focus and concentrate on my studies because I had to look for food first”

What do you like most about being a PhilDev-Shell scholar?

“They offer a great opportunity. Particularly in relation to my interest in emerging technology trends like quantum computing, data science, and artificial intelligence. They provide me with opportunities to learn more about these.”

“I think that the most important thing is the support provided by PhilDev and Shell to its scholars. I feel valued when I feel there are people who are concerned with me and my well-being. Every time they reach out and ask about how I’m doing, I feel really valued and cared for.

Where do you see yourself after 10 years?

I see myself working in the tech industry, particularly in the field of Artificial Intelligence. As a lumad myself, I want to inspire my tribemates to value education.  I believe that to be able to contribute to the country, we also need to work hard to achieve a lot.  Contributing to these emerging technological trends will help us do that.