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  • Farmer's Son Heads To One Of The Top U.S. Universities With Scholarship Worth $328,000

    The Philippine Science High School graduate is headed to Duke University in August 2021.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
Farmer's Son Heads To One Of The Top U.S. Universities With Scholarship Worth $328,000
PHOTO BY courtesy of Edrian Paul Liao
  • The future looks more than bright for Philippine Science High School-Cagayan Valley (PSHS-CVC) graduate and consistent honor student Edrian Paul Liao!

    Edrian is scheduled to fly to the United States in August 2021 and attend Duke University in North Carolina. He has received a full scholarship in BS Mechanical Engineering, Minor in Computer Science, and a Certificate in Aerospace Engineering (whew).

    It is hard to get into Duke University  

    “Getting into Duke is something far-fetched for someone who hails from a province. I felt ecstatic when I found out I got into such a prestigious and highly selective U.S. university,” says Edrian.

    Edrian also got a full scholarship in BS Physics at Jacob’s University in Germany. But he said Duke has always been his first choice because of its strong research and well-rounded programs that focus on academics and culture, arts, and sports.

    According to College Gazette, Duke University has an average acceptance rate of 7.7%, and that for the class of 2024 alone, there have been 39,783 applications. The University’s famous alumna include Apple CEO Timothy Cook and philanthropist Melinda Gates.


    To date, the U.S. private school has also produced five Nobel Peace Prize winners in the areas of medicine, physics, and chemistry.

    Four-year scholarship worth US$328,000

    On top of getting accepted, Edrian becomes the first Filipino recipient of the Karsh International Scholarship Program. It provides free full tuition, room and board, and mandatory fees at Duke University estimated to cost a whopping US$328,000 or Php16.4 Million (not $82,000 as previously published).

    Edrian is the youngest and only boy of three siblings. His father is a farmer, while his mother, who used to work as a midwife, decided to be a full-time mom while the kids were growing up.

    Honoring his mom, Edrian says, “Her investments for me really paid off, and I am forever grateful for what she has done for me.”

    Edrian is also keen on giving back to help the plight of farmers like his father by combining technology and agriculture to make their work easier and more efficient.

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    “Agriculture in the Philippines is one of the most prominent sectors but still lacks innovation one way or another. I want to fill in that gap once I return from the U.S. full of knowledge and experiences.

    “I want to help further incorporate technology into agriculture especially now that we’re (entering) a new era of artificial intelligence,” he says.

    An Edrian who is willing to go the extra mile is how one of his teachers describes him.

    “He is the type of student na pag ni-require mo ang 100% effort sa isang task, he will give you more than that,” observes Sadiri Corpuz, his teacher in Computer Science.

    A whole new world

    Edrian, who will be turning 19 around the time he flies to the U.S., is excited about his new environment.

    “I’m most excited about meeting people from different walks of life…The students, are really diverse,” he shares. “Also, I can’t wait to meet professors and work with them on research and technical projects. I heard that the professors are really helpful, and (that students) can reach out to them as many times as they want.”


    However, he also expects some culture shock in the early months of his stay and knows it will be hard without his family and friends around. But Edrian is no stranger to living away from his family’s residence in Cauayan, Isabella.

    Throughout high school, Edrian did not live with his parents, Eduardo Liao and Rosalie. He stayed in a dormitory in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, where the PSHS-Cagayan Valley campus is located.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Edrian Paul Liao

    Living in the U.S. in the next four years is, of course, is a whole new setup, but he chooses to stay positive.”

    “Leaving my family and friends is difficult, but I accept that there’s always going to be a sacrifice to be able to reach our wildest dreams.”

    For this probinsiyano, it sounds like a wild dream, but if anything, Edrian has proven anything is possible. When the going gets tough, he knows there’s always his parents keep him grounded.

    “They advised me that I should just be myself and take pride in my achievements  while always remembering where I came from. Now that I’m heading into the U.S., they always remind me to enjoy and pursue what I really want in life,” he says.

    Read here the story of another farmer's son and fellow Pisay graduate who is headed to Yale University.  

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