Ultimately, people seek good education to get greater opportunities later in life. From there, they choose the paths that define their story and work towards greatness in their own respect. While education remains to be a privilege for many in the Philippines, the private sector continues working with the government to support more Filipino youth in finishing their education.
In partnership with the Philippine S&T Development Foundation – Manila, Inc. (PhilDev), PSFI provides a scholar ship grant to students in the Philippines. Since 2013, Shell-PhilDev has been supporting students taking up STEM courses in partner universities nationwide. The scholarship aims to enable the Filipino youth to the development of human resources engaged in STEM and enable the country to innovate technologies, products, and services that can compete in the global market and stimulate economic growth for the country.
As a matter of fact, Shell’s very own Territory Manager for Southern Islands, Alex Aberion, graduated from the said scholarship program as part of the Shell-PhilDev’s pilot batch called “trailblazers”. Alex graduated from the University of San Carlos Cebu with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in 2017.
Raised by a single mom and the eldest in their family, Alex found the need to take action when it came to her own education. She became a Shell-PhilDev scholar when she reached her 2nd year of college, which continued up until she graduated.
Upon being part of the program, Alex found that beyond financial sponsorship, Shell-PhilDev fosters a holistic connection with students.
“The unique thing about Shell-PhilDev is that they don’t only support you on the financial side but they also ensure that the support is going to be holistic.” Alex begins. “I think nakita ko rin yung other classmates ko in college who also had different scholarships and parang financial support lang talaga binibigay ng scholarships nila.”
(“The unique thing about Shell-PhilDev is that they don’t only support you on the financial side but they also ensure that the support is going to be holistic. I think I also saw my other classmates in college who had different scholarships and it looked like they really only receive financial support.”)
Beyond the financial support to their education, Alex shared that Shell-PhilDev mentors actively reach out to ensure the wellbeing of students, ready to provide support through catch up sessions.
“During my time, our mentors always made time to have catch up sessions with us to know how we’re doing in school; what other support we need aside from financial support, so they’re also give that emotional and psychological support for us.”
Among the various activities students get to be a part of under the scholarship, Alex was most fond of Shell-PhilDev’s Annual Camp.
“One of the big activities that they hold is the annual camp where they allow all the scholars from the different universities across the Philippines to be able to meet with each other. Through that camp, we meet different mentors and speakers from PhilDev and Shell. I think that’s the best part of the scholarship aside from the support they’re giving to the scholars.”
Shell-PhilDev aims to make a lasting impact on the lives of the scholars, preparing them for the real world, providing opportunities, and training them to be top-notch leaders. On top of her growth and achievements, Alex shares that most crucial improvement that the program has helped her with was her ability to communicate.
“Another thing that’s very important is that I was able to make relationships and network with different people. With PhilDev, I was really fortunate to have opportunities to meet fellow scholars, to know their stories, as well as mentors, speakers, Shell-PhilDev sponsors. We really learned a lot from them and from their experiences. Those engagements with them and the relationships built allowed me to expand my knowledge and perspective on so many things.“
After graduating from the University—and of course, the scholarship program—Alex immediately started to focus on landing a career in her dream company, Shell.
“During the annual camps namin, I saw the culture in Shell na they really put effort sa growth din ng staff nila. ‘Cause to know that they care for the development ng mga scholars, how much more sa staff nila. Na-amaze ako, I want to be in that kind of company.”
(“During our annual camps, I saw the culture in Shell that they really put effort for the growth of their staff. ‘Cause to know that they care for the development of the scholars, how much more for their staff. I was amazed, I want to be in that kind of company.”)
In 2018, Alex started working for Shell. There, she started as a Terminal Operations Administrator. Her consistent work ethic, flexibility, and ability to adapt to different situations and learning curves helped her climb from her initial position to becoming Shell’s Territory Manager for Mobility for Southern Islands, handling the SOCCSKSARGEN zone.
“It’s really a big step up in my career journey and development. Looking back, almost 4 years na rin ako with Shell. I think it’s really something to be proud of that step by step, I took every role wholeheartedly and I gave my best to achieve the role I have now.”
(“It’s really a big step up in my career journey and development. Looking back, I’ve been with Shell for almost 4 years. I think it’s really something to be proud of that step by step, I took every role wholeheartedly and I gave my best to achieve the role I have now.”)
From a starry-eyed scholar with dreams of working in Shell, Alex is now an instrumental part of the company’s successful operations in powering the country, and a true inspiration to those who seek to work in Shell and the STEM field. For this, she thanks Shell-PhilDev’s scholarship program.
“For sure, Shell-PhilDev really helped me become what I am today especially the work ethic and the network I’ve built, and the kind of mindset na nabuild ni Shell-PhilDev in me ever since.“
(“For sure, Shell-PhilDev really helped me become what I am today especially the work ethic and the network I’ve built, and the kind of mindset that Shell-PhilDev built in me ever since.”)
With waves of students coming in every year, Alex is hopeful for the future of the country. She believes that investing on STEM education is important for significant progress and change within the country.
The future leaders need to know that beyond academics, there are important things to master if they want to get far. Alex offers this advice to the students who are considering work in the field of STEM: “They should not forget to also invest and build on their soft skills. No matter how smart you are, no matter if you know all the data and information but if you are not able to communicate them to other people, hindi rin magagamit yung data and information that you have if you’re not able to communicate it with the world.”
(“They should not forget to also invest and build on their soft skills. No matter how smart you are, no matter if you know all the data and information but if you are not able to communicate them to other people, the fata and information you have won’t be useful if you’re not able to communicate it with the world.”)
Finally, Alex expressed her gratitude to the program that nurtured and helped her grow.
“Hindi ako nahihiyang sabihing I was once a Shell-PhilDev scholar. They do not only support financially but they treat you as family. I want to extend my gratitude to Shell-PhilDev for continuing the passion and dedication to still support so many scholars across the Philippines.” She said.
(“I‘m not ashamed to say I was once a Shell-PhilDev scholar. They do not only support financially but they treat you as family. I want to extend my gratitude to Shell-PhilDev for continuing the passion and dedication to still support so many scholars across the Philippines.”)
Education remains to be an important aspect of powering careers, and Alex’s story is one of the numerous inspirational ones that was carved out thanks to Shell-PhilDev. In over 40 years of progress, PSFI has helped provide access to education to those looking for it with the hopes of opening the opportunity for them to dream big and achieve bigger.