Pinay Graduates Summa Cum Laude from New York University, Completes 3 Majors at Once


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MANILA, Philippines – As if completing a degree wasn’t challenging enough, one Filipina from Isabela tribe took three majors while studying at the prestigious New York University (NYU) – and she completed all three majors at once and graduated with the highest honor possible. Wow!
Pinay Graduates Summa Cum Laude from New York University

Janelle Micaela Panganiban, the daughter of Angadanan Mayor Lourdes Panganiban and ANAC-IP Partylist Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr., is a member of the Gaddang indigenous group from Isabela.

Pinay Graduates Summa Cum Laude from New York University
Photo credit: Philippine Consulate New York

And she has proven to everyone that completing a degree with flying colors can be achieved by anyone, regardless of your status in life.

“As a Filipino, I feel like I have the obligation to bring all of these back to the Philippines and at the same time, as a descendant of the Gaddangs, I find myself impassioned for indigenous resurgence as a step to combat the long and embedded history of colonization,” said Janelle.

She completed three majors: Sociology, Global Public Health, and Public Policy. That is certainly a feat that is already difficult to achieve at one go but Janelle proved that it is also possible to complete several majors all at once while excelling in everything.

She shared, “Learn how to engage and really just be critical with everything. The professors encourage that here and I think that’s what I appreciate because it doesn’t seem like they’re doing it to make me feel like I’m wrong but for me to [really] grow.”

For being one of the top-ranking baccalaureate graduates from the university, she gets to wear a gold tassel instead of the usual purple the other graduates use.

Pinay Graduates Summa Cum Laude from New York University
Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs

Janelle also went home with the NYU Founder’s Day award for excellence in sociology as well as the Alexander L. Shluger award.

For her excellent academic achievement, Janelle will also receive the Northern Star Award from the Philippine Consulate General, an award given to Filipino-American graduates who excel in their studies.

With her incredible track record as student, Janelle would surely excel in the US when she finds a job but the young lady said she will go back to the Philippines as she feels that she has to ‘give back’.

“The idea that there’s so many Filipinos who are not at home, to me like that was, I felt I had to contribute something and that’s what kind of tied me to the Philippines, in a way [that] I really don’t want to forget [the] idealism of wanting to do something for the country,” the smart graduate mused.

This could mean that Janelle will go back to the Philippines to teach, in hopes of making a change in the community.

Congratulations and good luck to you, Janelle!

— Danielle Ramos, The Summit Express


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