Daring To Follow Dreams
?Science has a simple faith, which transcends utility?. It is the faith that it is the privilege of man to learn to understand, and that this is his mission.?
This quote from Vannevar Bush, the pivotal figure in hypertext research and inventor of the Memex, may have well been what Jose Marvin A. Gimpaya and Roden C. Zalameda lived by. Some time ago, both decided to rise up to the challenge of a fickle world and made it their mission to follow their dream of careers in information communications technology (ICT).
Making ?I.T.? happen
Son of a retired government employee and former physical education teacher, Marvin admitted he was not always the confident and mature person that he is today. Like many Filipinos, Marvin led a simple life, cycling and playing basketball during his spare time, malling and visiting beaches every now and then. All was well but still, he felt the need to do something ?better? with his life.
Thus, in 1988, he enrolled at STI-EDSA Crossing for a computer literacy program, thinking that it was about time he pursued a career in ICT.
?I believe STI offers great courses for starters and thought that that would be the perfect launching pad for my career. I was never proven wrong,? Marvin said.
Needless to say, someone as determined as Marvin could only excel in his academic studies. So much so that he qualified for STI?s ?Guaranteed Hire Program? (GHP), one that promises to ?first train, then hire? outstanding students.
After his basic computer course, Marvin applied for a student assistance program and successfully earned a 100% scholarship for a programming course. He studied COBOL for machine environment (micro, mid-range and mainframe), and as months went by, he discovered a self-confidence he never knew existed.
?I really owe my ?success? to my schooling at STI. Its experienced instructors, hands-on training and actual case study for students to get a feel of the true ICT business environment gave me an edge over others when I applied for work abroad,? Marvin explained.
Marvin is so satisfied with how his career is going that he wants to eventually send his kids to study at STI. ?Why shouldn?t I? It really changed my life. If it weren?t for STI, I would not be able to afford to take my family on trips that I never had the chance to go on when I was younger.?
Lucky for Marvin?s kids, STI students today are offered an added bonus: STI?s affiliate company, Global Resource for Outsourced Workers, Inc. (GROW). GROW is a recruitment and placement company that deploys highly skilled Filipino professionals for anywhere in the world.
Although GROW wasn?t around during Marvin?s time, his excellent academic performance saw to it that he is exactly where he wants to be. Today, Marvin lives in Singapore with his wife and three kids and is working as a system support officer for operations for one of the world?s leading banks.
Education that is within reach
As Marvin and his family live life to the fullest, for 25-year old Roden, it?s more of discovering it for the first time. Although born visually impaired, this did not stop Roden from wanting a college education.
?I thought it was impossible,? Roden recalled. ?My father had passed away and my mother was unemployed. What was a blind to do to get an education??
Well, for one, Roden made up his mind and joined STI?s Adaptive Technology Training, Resource and Access Center (Project ATTRAC). Project ATTRAC, a joint project of STI, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation Integration Environment for the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV), aims to give comprehensive computer literacy training courses to the visually impaired through adaptive or access technology. It incorporates a range of specialized equipment, hardware and software applications, which are designed or modified to meet the special needs of individuals with visual impairment. It was through Project ATTRAC that Roden was given the chance at a college education.
Roden was able to get into STI College Kalentong in Mandaluyong City, one of the few institutions that gives equal opportunities to the visually impaired. Now in his second year as an electronic commerce major?and a scholar at that?Roden truly shines even if the rest of his class is sighted.
?I?m thankful for the all-out support STI gives me, from the administrators down to my classmates. They really make me feel like I am truly just like one of them.?
Learning more about himself and his capabilities thanks to his STI mentors Alejandro Poblitin and Mark Cruz, Roden was then challenged to show the rest of the world what material Filipino ICT students were made of.
Roden was chosen to represent the Philippines in an international competition, the Asia Pacific Economic Conference Information Technology (APEC IT) Camp held in Seoul, Korea last August. He competed, toiled and conquered the information search contest for the visually impaired and gave those like him hope that they, too, can succeed.
After awarding ceremonies, representatives from the US, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Brunei approached Roden for possible employment. Roden, who is keen on first attaining his life-long dream of graduating from college, respectfully declined for the meantime to give way to securing a diploma. Finishing up his course, Roden is currently a trainee with IBM Philippines, where he works under the supervision of communications manager Richard Burgos.
When asked about his protégé, Burgos only had kind words to say. ?Blindness is no longer a bar to meaningful employment. It's not the eyes that matter but what lies between them that do. Roden has exhibited a great sense of confidence in his tasks and in his relations with other employees. If at all, Roden influences those of us around him, it is in this - he shows us concretely that a happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. Who wouldn't want to employ a winner??
Marvin and Roden: two completely different individuals that are on their way to fulfilling their every dream. But then again, they?re not so different after all? They have STI, an institution that dared to believe in the Filipino youth.
About the Author: Karla Gae L. Pascua is a senior copywriter at Agatep Associates, Inc., one of Philippine's leading public relations agencies. Pascua has been writing professionally for over a decade, seven years of which were under the stewardship of the industry's acknowledged father of public relations, former UST professor, and journalism textbook author, Charlie Agatep.