This Filipina Engineer Used to Struggle with Math, and Now She Works at NASA

Aug 12, 2023 0 comments

Josephine Santiago-Bond's journey to becoming the Chief of Advanced Engineering Development at NASA is a testament to the power of experience and determination. Her remarkable achievement was far from an overnight success.

Hailing from the Philippines, Josephine's childhood dreams did not include envisioning herself in the esteemed echelons of a prestigious industry. In a world largely dominated by male counterparts, the idea of thriving in such an environment seemed distant and unattainable. Her interaction with the realm of NASA was limited to the pages of history books, serving as a mere glimpse into the captivating universe that she would eventually conquer."

2001, she graduated with a degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering
Photo: Josephine Santiago-Bond

Josephine went to Philippine Science High School and in her college days, Santiago-Bond took a bachelor’s degree in Electronics & Communications Engineering at the University of the Philippines, one of the prestigious universities in the Philippines. Shortly after she finished pocketing the degree, she took her time to look for jobs in the States. 

Her struggle in life and Math

Like any other normal person, Josephine struggled in Math. Struggled hard. The exponential difficulty of the subject mustered in her hands and it became her leeway of understanding the depths of her career. 

In one NASA article, Santiago-Bond shared that the greatest challenge in her career was always about her not having a great deal of confidence. Taking the next big step towards her career was definitely a struggle. She said that over the course of her journey, she never felt ready to open herself to other great opportunities until people had tapped her into encouragement. She needed that push to shove fear’s sting. As a result, taking control over her decisions is a big step she took. “Now I take full advantage of opportunities without being prompted, I'm brave enough to apply for competitive assignments even if I don't always get selected, and I can proudly say I am navigating my career in the direction I want it to go,” she said.  

Josephine is a reminder to all that enduring the difficulty of Math can take us to places we never imagined we’d ever land in! All you have to do is pull a Josephine!

Her victory in life

Photo: Josephine Santiago-Bond

From struggling in Math to becoming the chief of her department, Josephine’s experience is one for the books. 

With her drive and passion, she was guided to the beginning of her remarkable success as she entered South Dakota State University to study her master’s degree in Electrical Engineering. She went wild after her bachelors degree not to stoop down at nothing, but to chase the desires of her heart! She worked her way while studying and she allowed herself to enter the doors of great opportunities. I say, what’s meant to be, will be!

Yup, she is meant to victoriously put her name beside her fellow NASA colleagues. Aside from stepping foot in front of the Space Shuttle Discovery in 2007, being a woman and a Filipina in the industry is a win for her. But more than that, feeling like she belonged in the group considering her heritage, culture and traditions, is also a feat to her career. 

Photo: Josephine Santiago-Bond

Who would have thought that the girl who struggled in Math landed on the halls of John F. Kennedy Space Center and even more, leads the Advanced Engineering Development Branch? She has assuredly explored every bit of extraordinary things along her way, and as she only hopes for the best and advocates for gender and cultural awareness by sharing her inspiring experiences.

To the young people who wish to become like Engr. Josephine Santiago-Bond, never be too afraid to come out of your comfort zones and discover the most unfathomable. As for the Filipina Engineer, she stopped at nothing to be the beacon of success. Maybe, one day, you’ll be like her and be over the moon!

Watch Josephine Santiago-Bond’s short NASA story here:



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