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Pinay who struggled in Math in School is NOW a head Engineer at NASA

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  • November 5, 2019June 11, 2020

An inspirational story all throughout, this Pinay engineer’s success story is the definition of perseverance yields results.

Although being born in the United States, Filipina engineer Josephine Santiago-Bond was raised in the Philippines. Having her family move back to Antipolo, Rizal, when she was two months old and has a distinct lack of a space program in the country, she really didn’t think of going into the sciences, even though she came from a family of scientists.

“I would answer phone calls and have to ask the caller ‘Which Dr. Santiago?’ because my parents and later, both my sisters, were doctors of some sort. Their curiosity and work ethic most likely rubbed off on me, but their professions did not speak to me.”

Finishing her bachelors at the University of the Philippines’ Electronics and Communications Engineering program, she didn’t expect it would skyrocket her to the halls of the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, one of the 10 National Aeronautics and Space Administration sites.

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Santiago-Bond did admit that she went for a more practical approach when it came to choosing her course. Even as a kid, Josephine admitted that she wanted to have a stable job to buy the things she wanted, yet she didn’t have a particular profession in mind. 

“As a child, I always knew I would go to college, get a job, try to earn enough to afford the things I need and want, but I had not envisioned a particular profession,”

Now, she heads the agency’s Advanced Engineering Development Branch. As the chief of her department, Santiago-Bond is responsible for “[supplying] engineering support to research and technology development projects at Kennedy Space Center. Santiago-Bond explained that she is “leading very diverse groups of people to bring their work selves to work while executing NASA’s mission, which ultimately benefits humankind.”

It may not sound as cool as actually going to outer space, but it’s definitely a very important role in the grand scheme of things. “I get dizzy easily so I feel very contented working with my feet on the ground,” Santiago-Bond quips.

She talked about her journey to the space agency and commented that mathematics to her “got exponentially more difficult” as she advanced into the five-year program. “I had to crawl my way through some of the courses, but I wasn’t going to give up on [Electronics and Communications Engineering] because of a few bad grades,” she narrates. Clearly, math can be unforgiving even to the best of us.

“In between my fair share of socializing, I practiced solving math and engineering problems until I was either confident enough to take the test or ran out of review time. There were lots of sleepless nights, but strong friendships were formed, and my persistence eventually paid off,” she continues about her life in college.

Her hard work is what propelled her into success, and in 2001 she completed her degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering at the University of the Philippines – Diliman. But it didn’t stop there for her. In 2005, she got an opportunity to work an internship at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where she would later be hired full time. 

Santiago-Bond’s story is truly an inspiration for us all! She proves that with hard work, people can achieve their own successes in life. -Spot

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24 thoughts on “Pinay who struggled in Math in School is NOW a head Engineer at NASA”

  1. I just wanna to say WOW i dont believe that person who is not pretty good in math is working now in NASA ?

  2. Michael S Sautter

    Your article needs a slight adjustment with one important word. You wrote: she got an opportunity to work an internship at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where she would later be fired fill time. You need to change ‘fired’ to ‘hired’.

    1. i’d be like this. soon. i’m struggling in maths here in high school but i’ll study hard. i wanted to be an aeronautical engineer sooo, i’ll work on it.

  3. I love the whole article. It really inspired me, esp. knowing that math is really unforgiving, there are times that it made me cry harder, bt jst like Ms. Josephine i should make strong friendship between me and ths subject ahahahha.
    Ps. I love to work with NASA too. I am so inlove and curious at the same time with it!!!

  4. Please look at your sentence: ‘she got an opportunity to work an internship at the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where she would later be fired fill time.’. Maybe it’s hired, not fired.

    1. Ma Corazon Samar

      Thats typographical error….by mere understanding the words in the sentence re fired fill time is hired full time…

    1. Kaya mo yan, may youtube na. Kahit anong topic na di mo gets, makikita at matututunan mo sa youtube. Yun ang advantage ng generation ngayon, kapag may desire madali na talagang matututo.

  5. Hi! I’m currently a computer engineering senior in the USA right now and my biggest advice to the youth that we dont get to hear (but the Indians get adviced on) is that we need to fill out applications to US Masters Programs. Don’t settle for bachelors because it is not enough for foreign hiring. If it is too expensive, apply for scholarships and live a really simple life for 2 years while in school. This is the route for residency and US citizenship and what you need to do if NASA is a dream for you. She was born American and I naturalized as American. The Philippines can also start their own space program. Don’t let it be dreams. Make it happen. I hope this helps out to anybody reading. “US MASTERS”

  6. This just goes to show you that anyone can overcome their weakness and still be successful. I am sure she is positive and doesn’t give-up. Attitude is 50 percent of your success.

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