"No dream is too big if you are determined."
This is the mindset that Senior Director Rossana Adao, Ma'am Osang to students,wants to impart to every iTamaraw. In a rare interview with The Innovator, she shared her journey from being a student to Senior Director for Computer Studies.
Ma'am Osang's father died when she was nine years old and the responsibility to bring her and her elder brother up was left to her mother. To make ends meet, her mother tended a small farm in their hometown, Samar. Even at a young age, she knew that to succeed, she had to excel in school.
She remembered that although life in the province was simple it was not without challenges. "We did not have electricity, so we studied with the help of kerosene lamps". But the young Ms. O kept her eyes on her goals to secure an education for herself and help her family.
On her second year in high school, her family decided to move to Manila. It was around this time Ma'am Osang began working to earn money for school expenses. "I had no money for allowance. So, I got into direct selling," she recounted. Juggling work and school was difficult but she persevered. Ms. O graduated valedictorian in high school.
"I looked for a scholarship. It was quite easy because when you graduate with honors, you just have to wait for the scholarship offers," Ma'am Osang narrated. "But I was looking for a scholarship with allowance and not just tuition fee coverage."
The kind of scholarship that SM and FEU were able to offer to her and allowed her to take up Computer Engineering. This scholarship became a challenge and a motivation to excel academically. "I had to be an achiever for me to continue my studies. Otherwise, I may not graduate," she shared.
In 1998, Ma'am Osang earned her degree in Computer Engineering. "I felt so lucky that I was given the opportunity to finish my studies even with just my mother providing for us. I want students to have the same motivation to study not just for themselves but also for their family," she said.
After graduation, she was immediately hired as an assistant by her professor at FEU Tech. Later on, she was appointed as the school's network administrator for 10 years.
Passion for teaching
In college, one of her subjects required the class to teach kids in an orphanage. It was then that Ma'am Osang realized that teaching was her calling. She also realized that she enjoyed sharing knowledge with others, like tutoring other scholars in her class whenever someone did not understand the lesson.
Today, Ma'am Osang continues to share knowledge and is focused on Networking, one of the subjects offered in IT and engineering. "I hope that our passion to teach the networking subject would be carried over in the coming years."
Seeing the students and the Institute's improvements gives her a sense of fulfilment. "Our network lab only had 10 computers. I was the one who developed it and spearheaded its opening," she recalled.
She is also making the programs more relevant to students, so they can easily apply what they learned here when they go out to the field. "The challenge for me as senior director, since I am the one setting directions, is how to make the program more innovative and relevant so that they are ready to succeed once they step out of the school," she narrated.
Ma'am Osang appreciates the fact that FEU Tech is continuously improving its facilities to complement the programs and developing faculty members to keep up with the fast-paced internet age.
iTamaraws for nation building
When prodded what legacy she wants to leave, Ma'am Osang replied she simply wants to give her best in educating iTamaraws. She wants to see them contribute to nation building in the future.
"If I could, I would share the story of my life with every student so they could realize how lucky they are. They have money for tuition and allowance, they just have to go to school. But they also have to remember, it is not enough to go to school, you have to study seriously," she ended.
Ma'am Osang earned her Master's Degree from Polytechnic University of the Philippines and is now taking up her Doctorate at De La Salle University as an FEU Tech scholar.