His story may be equated to that of a late bloomer whose potential remained untapped until the right, opportune time came. For Ivan Christopher B. Cordevilla, little did he know that his abilities and skills would be unlocked at Foundation University as he stepped into the campus for the first time while on a field trip back in high school.
Confessing to be a run-of-the-mill type of student back then, describing himself as “below average,” he prodded himself to do good in college as he took up Bachelor of Science in Biology. True enough, with discipline and sheer determination, he became a consistent honor student, consequently graduating class salutatorian and cum laude in 2018. He was awarded Most Outstanding Student of the Year and received the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Academic Excellence in Science.
Being innately articulate and gregarious, Cordevilla’s college life was steeped in service as he became an active member of the Student Government and the Corps of Ushers.
Moreover, in 2017, he was chosen as one of 80 participants of the Ayala Young Leaders Congress after a rigorous selection process among student leaders from top universities and colleges in the country. He was likewise chosen as rapporteur to serve as one of the facilitators of the same congress the following year in Lima Park Hotel, Batangas. According to the organizers, he was chosen because of “the network he has established with fellow youth leaders around the country and around Asia, enriching his knowledge and experience in leadership, cultural understanding, and community development work, more specifically with environmental advocacies.”
In addition, Cordevilla represented the country in the 2017 ASEAN Youth Summit in De La Salle University, Taft Ave., Manila and in the 3rd ASEAN Foundation Model ASEAN Meeting. As an active youth leader in the academic and general community, his public speaking skills and debating prowess helped build his self-confidence as he took part in a variety of talks, plenaries, track sessions, panel discussions, and a Model ASEAN Simulation geared toward encouraging youth leaders to discuss crucial issues that surround the ASEAN region.
He became a national finalist in the search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) in November 2019 representing the Central Visayas Region.
Immediately after graduation, driven by a goal, Cordevilla proceeded to enroll at the Negros Oriental State University to get a Master of Arts in Science Teaching, which he finished this year. He was fortunate to have been given a non-degree fellowship on global environmental issues and environmental management at the University of Montana, USA in 2019 as well as a Certificate in Health Effects of Climate Change from Harvard University – Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health also in 2019. He also worked as a Special Science Teacher I at the Department of Education Division Office of Bayawan City where, among other responsibilities, he crafted learning materials for disaster risk reduction and readiness, and sciences subjects (biology, physics, and chemistry).
“What kept me going was my drive to succeed and the constant encouragement and support from my family and mentors,” shared Cordevilla, who is the eldest of three siblings, in a recent interview on “iGreyhound,” the official television talk show of Foundation University.
He reminisced his experience as a first-timer to the campus, which “captivated me because of its warmth and charm.” He intoned that Foundation University was introduced to him as “a learning institution that cares and, at the same time, fosters innovation and excellence.” According to Cordevilla, the university truly lived up to his expectation.
Today, the homegrown lad from Bayawan City, Negros Oriental has ventured into another realm. He is in his first year in law school at the University of Cebu. True to his commitment to serve, he likewise leads a community project under the Ibayaw Youth Collective called “Legally Empowered,” a program focused on informing and bringing the knowledge of laws in protecting children and other vulnerable sectors to a wider audience.
Asked about specific learnings from Foundation University that he finds useful in his life journey, Cordevilla quipped: “Social awareness and responsiveness – these are etched in me as an alumnus. In the current professional and academic endeavors I am pursuing now, I find these not only helpful in my development as an individual, but it has empowered me, too. It is valuable to be excellent in skills and knowledge, but being imparted with learnings that go beyond what is required molds an individual to be a change agent. Foundation University taught me to go beyond my limit because opportunities and possibilities can be limitless. The journey of self-growth should always be coupled with community growth in order to build a sustainable society of empowered individuals.”
Cordevilla made a perfect choice in making Foundation University as his alma mater. In return, Foundation University beams with pride in anticipation of greater contributions from her alumni to the country and beyond. (Cecile M. Genove)