Pinay who won an int'l science video contest says winning made her feel like her hard work 'paid off'

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Tacloban City (CNN Philippines, December 8) — The Filipina who bested thousands of students to win an international science video contest said bagging first place in the competition makes her feel like all her hard work was worth it.

It took 18-year-old Hillary Andales two tries before she won the prestigious Breakthrough Junior Challenge 2017, but she said winning this year felt like her "hard work paid off and my perseverance paid off."

The Breakthrough Junior Challenge is "an annual global competition for students to inspire creative thinking about science." It is funded by Breakthrough Prize Foundation founded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan.

Andales, who is from the Philippines Science High School- Eastern Visayas Campus in Palo, Leyte bested more than 11,000 students from almost 200 countries with her 3-minute video on "Relativity and the Equivalence of Reference Frames."

Last year, Andales bagged the challenge's special award for the most number of votes and views on her video presentation last year. This won her school a DNA Laboratory.

She said the experience she gained in 2016 helped her improve how she presented her topic in her video.

Andales is now entitled to a $250,000 College Scholarship, a $100,000 Breakthrough Prize Lab for her school and a $50,000 Teacher Inspiration Prize. Her school will also receive a Physics laboratory and additional equipment for their DNA laboratory.

With this prize Andales said she is considering studying abroad so she can improve and enhance her knowledge in Physics.

Andales had previously eyed studying in Manila. With the scholarship, she is now considering studying in the U.S. so she can get into a good Physics program.

"For me to maximize that huge amount of money, I think it would be better if I would study abroad so I could really maximize what I've learned and for me to give back to the Filipino people," Andales said.

Among the universities she's considering are top schools Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Princeton.

She said she doesn't expect to get accepted because of the competitive applicants, but she still hopes her scholarship and determination will help her get in.

Andales also hopes her experience can serve as an inspiration for young Filipino students to pursue science-related courses and have more interest in science subjects.

"Ever since I was young I was very interested in science and I know science is a beautiful thing and I want other people to feel the same way," she said.

She shares that some have even started telling her how she has inspired them to learn more about the field.

"Because of the Breakthrough Junior Challenge I was given the platform to share my views with everyone and fortunately there had been other youth who are reaching out to me and telling me that they hear my message and they are inspired to be interested in science," Andales added.