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.
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