/ 10 August 2021

THIS month, Laisa Marie Barato, an Ibaloi from sitio Leben, Ambuklao in Bokod, will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Cordillera in Benguet.

Barato, a scholar of SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet’s Bridging Gaps in Higher Education through Tertiary Scholarships, said that she had always wanted to be a psychologist.

“A million dreams have the power to transform and change a person’s life. But most of all, perseverance and determination count the most,” she shared.

“I’ve dreamed of being a mental health advocate. I believe that raising awareness about mental health issues will result in better relationships and a better society,” she added.

Barato is grateful for the opportunities that her SNAP scholarship has provided her throughout her journey.

“BRIGHTS played a significant part in my college life. The scholarship helped me improve my academic performance and become a more active member of society. At the same time, my family was able to significantly reduce my educational expenses, thanks to the grant I received,” she said.

The opportunity to contribute to society came early during the pandemic. With her knowledge of psychology, she helped her friends cope with mental health issues.

“There have been many challenges, but this pandemic has been the most difficult. I was compelled to study virtually, which appears to be more difficult than actual learning [in a physical classroom]. I sometimes suffer mental breakdowns because of being overburdened with activity. My academic performance suffers, and I feel that I am learning very little,” Barato admitted.

During difficult moments, she drew strength from her family.

“I’ve seen how much my parents sacrificed to meet our needs. They worked diligently every day of their lives, yet I never heard them complain about being exhausted,” she said.

SNAP has also been a source of encouragement for her to pay it forward whenever she can, having been inspired by the values she saw through her participation in the company’s various corporate programs for the communities and the environment.

“SNAP honored our cultures and traditions and has taken the effort to assist young people in achieving a better future by providing scholarships. Their generosity has inspired me to help others and contribute to my community. I hope that one day I will also be able to help students achieve their goals,” Barato said.

She plans to take the Psychometrician Licensure Examination next year and also to get a Master’s degree in Psychology.

Interviews for BRIGHTS scholarship for Academic Year 2021-2022 began on August 9.