Pinay student in London wins scholarship in ‘Reimagine Challenge’ global competition

Published February 5, 2021, 1:28 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

A Filipino student in London has won a tuition scholarship of up to $25,000 in a competition among college and university students around the world.

Lia Bote, a second year biological sciences student specializing in cell biology at the University College London, is one of the 20 winners of New York-based Schmidt Futures’ “Reimagine Challenge” launched last August.

Lia Bote (Schmidt Futures)

Schmidt Futures is a philanthropic initiative co-founded by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy Schmidt.

The challenge invited college and university students from any country to submit proposals addressing one of two topics: Sparking a Global Movement and Community Impact from COVID-19.

Bote’s proposal is the “creation of a two-part project that provides primary care in the Philippines through telehealth services: a website for physicians and volunteer researchers to list their services and a phone hotline service that connects patients with the healthcare system without the need for online mobile applications.”

“As such, it is key to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response, ensuring that pre-existing conditions are well managed, treatment is administered before cases become critical, and patients are knowledgeable about proper hygiene measures,” Bote wrote in her proposal.

“However, in the Philippines and in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), primary care is largely neglected. The public health system is not equipped to provide quality treatment for the large population, and most people do not have the financial luxury to avail of private healthcare. Especially during the pandemic, this means that most patients do not seek medical attention until their condition is critical,” she added.

For her winning proposal, Bote is now eligible to receive up to $25,000 in tuition scholarship while her school is eligible to receive up to $25,000 in additional prizes per winning entry. The total scholarships and prizes amount to $1 million.

The challenge is part of Schmidt Futures’ $1 billion commitment to identify and support global talent.

Schmidt Futures received 838 entries from 264 schools in 40 different countries, representing 86 nationalities and speaking 53 primary languages. Participants came from different backgrounds including undergraduate freshman at liberal arts schools, PhD students in the sciences, graphic designers, and aspiring lawyers.

“I’m inspired by the bold ideas we received and the rising generation of leaders who developed them,” said Eric Schmidt. “Although the long-term impact of this pandemic is daunting, we cannot forget we live in the most educated, interconnected, empowered period in human history. If we come together with all of our tools, knowledge, and talents—as these students have done—I’m confident we can build a world that’s fairer, safer, and more prosperous for everyone.”

The 20 Reimagine Challenge 2020 winners are:

Lia Bote, University College London

Atish Shah, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Bhavya Gupta, Parsons School of Design at The New School

Christine Cannon, Pomona College

Glenda Xu, University College London

Julian Kanjere, University of Cape Town

Khushi Shelat, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Lerato Motaung, University of Cape Town

Manas Punhani, Yale University

Muzzammil Ismail, University of Cape Town

Neha Halebeed, University of Southern California

Phyllis Mugadza, Yale University

Rowyn Naidoo, University of Cape Town

Simbarashe Herbert Mambiri, McNeese State University

Steven Wang, Harvard University

Suhani Jalota, Stanford University

Thomas Bizzell, University of Queensland

Tongqing Zhu, University of Southern California

Valeria Robayo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Yvette Homerlein, University College London