Saturday, June 22, 2024

2 Pinoy S&T students shortlisted for $100,000 Global Student Prize 2022

Two Filipino students focusing on science and technology courses have been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2022, an annual $100,000 award to be given to one exceptional student that has made a real impact on learning and the society in general.

Pinoy students Leah Angela Cioco (right) and Zanti Gayares

The students are Leah Angela Cioco, a 22-year-old from Bacolod City currently studying Applied Math at the University of the Philippines, and Zanti Gayares, 18, currently studying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at Holy Child Catholic School in Manila.

Cioco and Gayares were selected from almost 7,000 nominations and applications from 150 countries.

The Varkey Foundation partnered with Chegg.org to launch the annual Global Student Prize last year, a sister award to its $1 million Global Teacher Prize. It was established to create a new platform that shines a light on the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who, together, are reshaping our world for the better.

The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part-time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize.

Cioco is an entrepreneur, published writer, and dreams of redefining her country’s education system for the next generation of Filipino students. She is co-founder of The Indiependent Collective (IndieCo), a media production startup that pushes boundaries through socially engaged conversations.

Through IndieCo, Cioco aims to create a safe space for young thought leaders, innovators, and the youth at large to see themselves reflected in the media and make them feel empowered to create change.

After spending two years training with the Philippine Math Team and winning multiple awards, Cioco worked with the Purple Sage Project in providing affordable tutorial services for grades 9-12 students preparing for the toughest college exam in the Philippines: UP College Admission Test. Through her work, she assisted 13 students from three different regions in the Philippines to gain admission to UP with full scholarships.

She also works for the College Admissions Mentors for Peers (CAMP) Philippines. This is a student-run mentorship program which also hosts a study abroad conference, aiming to help local high school students study abroad.

A creative as well as a mathematician, Cioco gained admission to Harvard University’s highly competitive pre-college program on Creative Writing which spurred her on to write her first novel–an excerpt of which was published by Scarlett Leaf Publishing in 2020; three personal essays that were published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer from 2018-2019; and ultimately, her memoir–an excerpt of which will be published by Chicken Soup for the Soul for its “Attitude for Gratitude” book release this August 2022.

 She has also recently worked on a novel Covid-19 tracing app, Novid, that has piloted in two cities and garnered nationwide coverage on CNN Philippines.

Gayares, meanwhile, is a writer, journalist, scientist, and activist at the Holy Child Catholic School in Manila. He has won numerous journalism prizes and awards at both regional and national levels, carries out advanced scientific research, is a passionate advocate for science, press freedom, climate action, and LGTBQ rights.

He was editor-in-chief of his school newspaper and is an opinion writer and columnist for Explained PH, a youth-driven publication where he writes about social justice in the education and science sectors.

As a researcher, Gayares wrote a paper about bioplastics and their significance as a biotechnological solution which won a silver medal in the 1st Manila Intellectual Property Innovation and Business Incubation Expo 2021. On project “VaccSENSE: Taps for Jabs,” he created an application to boost the vaccination campaign and lessen vaccine hesitanc, winning second place in the Pitch Competition of Kapnayan 2022.

More recently Gayares worked on the “HiFACT Project” which analyses smoking habits among Filipinos and advocates for vape pens, garnering the Most Innovative Award at the competition.

Gayares is a tireless activist across various causes. In 10th grade, he became a representative of the Department of Tourism, Culture, and Arts of Manila (DTCAM) and then later joined democratic organizations such as Kabataan Partylist – focusing on the role of the youth in policy advocacy and campaigns – and joined Youth for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP). He is also Education and Research Head of Rise for Education Alliance and moderates sessions on LGBTQ topics for the organization.

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