19-year-old Yolanda survivor now an MIT scholar, to become a scientist

  • Hillary Diane Andales is a 19-year-old Science genius who bagged a scholarship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • In 2017, she won an international science competition, Breakthrough Junior Challenge
  • She wants to strengthen science communication in the country partly due to her experience during Typhoon Yolanda
Image by Hillaron

A 19-year-old Filipina genius is now on her way to achieving her dreams of becoming an astrophysicist.

Hillary Diane Andales is no ordinary kid growing up. Born to a father who is a chemist and a mother who is an accountant, she developed a love for Science and Math at a young age.

Andales shared how her parents told her stories about brilliant scientists like Marie Curie, instead of fairytales and princesses. It was then she learned there are people who made a difference and changed the world.

Back in 2017, Andales bagged the grand prize in the prestigious Breakthrough Junior Challenge hosted at no less than the NASA Ames Research Facility. 

Image by Hillaron

Andales’ video explaining Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity beat over 11,000 competitors from 178 countries.

Andales’ shared that part of her interest in science communication was influenced by her experience during Typho0n Yolanda.

Andales and her family held onto their house’s steel trusses for 7 hours until the typhoon subsided. She then realized how important it was to “laymanize” scientific words for Filipinos.

Andales said she and many others didn’t understand what a storm surge was when they were first warned.

Image by Hillaron

Since winning the Breakthrough Junior, Andales admits “an entire universe of opportunities opened up” for her.

She is now on her way to college and got accepted to a number of prestigious universities in the United States – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, and SUNY Stony Brook.

Andales decided to go for MIT in the hopes of becoming a “research scientist, specifically in astrophysics.”

Andales couldn’t be any more thankful for everything she has.

She wrote, “I’m always enveloped by a feeling of thankfulness – for how the stars have aligned, for how I’ve been blessed to receive so much.”