Amid the pandemic, this scholar was hired and promoted prior to graduating class valedictorian.
Sophia Nicole Aquino, Enderun Colleges’ 2021 class valedictorian, is a woman with great ambition, going above and beyond her scholastic achievements to serve others.
“I was given the opportunity to study in Enderun as a scholar. I came from a very humble family. I was raised by a single mother, and our path was full of many challenges,” says Aquino. Nothing stopped her from striving for success. She was grateful to have the opportunity to grow, to lead and to go beyond.
Aquino is an Enderun Industry Partner Grant in Cooperation with Microsoft scholar and a consistent Dean’s Lister. With a GPA of 1.14, she was always at the top of her class. She was also chosen to be part of the P&G Next Business Case Competition.
Now, with a degree in BSBA major in Technology Management, Aquino landed a managerial position at P&G where she did her internship months before her graduation in August 2021. She has been handling significant initiatives and has been leading key projects in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa as an IT manager. This milestone has allowed her to “combine business and technical expertise with global leadership” which are competencies she learned in Enderun.
In school, Aquino cultivated a wide range of skills, including those related to professional development, academic achievement, and social and civic engagement. She was once invited to speak at Girls in STEM MNL, an ecosystem that inspires women to have equal opportunities to excel in male-dominated STEM areas.
A training on rapid app prototyping was taught to over 100 men and women in grades 9-10 from public schools. “Because of this, we were able to increase the interest of participants in STEM from 76 percent to 98 percent.”
The Remote Learning Report Aquino created in 2020 was her most significant contribution to Enderun. The study includes student evaluations from the ideal virtual learning environment. It was a crucial step toward Enderun’s current remote learning feedback.
She also oversaw “Project Pangkabuhayan” a program designed to assist Enderun staff in starting their own sari-sari store and teaching them the fundamentals of the business as a secondary and sustainable source of income throughout the pandemic. The project raised funds for two beneficiaries.
According to Dr. Edgardo Rodriguez, president of Enderun Colleges, “In her outstanding years at Enderun, Sophia has not allowed anything to stand in her way to academic excellence, leadership effectiveness, and early professional achievement: not her youth, not the pandemic, not self-concern. Even while still in school, hers has been a life of purpose and helping other students and the wider community’s members in need.”
“Her professional success started early, even before she graduated, achieving an early managerial position at P&G. But, in my mind, what has really defined Sophia, besides her selflessness and grit, is her natural ability to be a leader across all degree programs, not just her own Technology Management program, which she has certainly now brought to the forefront of Enderun’s drive to keep education relevant to the future,” said Rodriguez.
To be able to teach in Enderun one day and share her industry knowledge is something that Aquino looks forward to in the far future. “Teaching is definitely one thing that I would try and I think it would be a great opportunity to share my knowledge through the lens of a former Enderun student.”
Leading with courage was the most crucial lesson she learned. “It helps me to reflect on myself and what I must do in order for this endeavor to be a success,” she says.
Finally, she makes it a point to always transform the possibilities that come her way in creating more opportunities for others. “I want my classmates to remember that they should make the most of every chance they have, whether they were given it at birth or earned it along the way, and then use it to open more doors for others. Accept the obstacles that will come our way and learn from them, because some of the most devastating challenges can really teach us something,” she says.