Meet the Executive Team
Founder + Executive Director
Audrey Pe (@audreyisabelpe) is an incoming freshman at Stanford University and the founder and executive director of WiTech (@witechorg) — a nonprofit organisation based in the Philippines that aims to educate, inspire, and empower youth to break gender barriers and use tech to make a difference in society.
Through WiTech, she has been working on projects at the intersection of technology and education since she founded the organisation at age 15. She is now 19 and finishing up the remainder of her gap year. In quarantine, her time has mostly been spent on partnership calls and hosting webinars on topics ranging from founding WiTech to social media management.
Her work with WiTech has garnered her recognition as a 2019 Global Teen Leader, 2020 Pinterest Council of Courage member, 2018 Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs District awardee, 2019 Zonta Women in Technology Asia-Pacific District Scholar, Opportunity Desk 30 Under 30 Changemaker, 2020 Women in IT Advocate of the Year Finalist, and 2019 Women in Tech Global Aspiring Teen Award Finalist. A two-time TEDx, ASEAN and UN speaker, she has delivered over 30+ talks and has also been featured in local and international publications like Forbes, Esquire, and Elite Daily.
Jessie De Grano
WiTech Manila Head
Jessie de Grano, a graduate of Philippine Science High School – Main Campus and incoming freshman at the University of the Philippines, is all about science and technology for the people. Having dealt with the gender gap in the technological and research field herself, she wanted to be able to change exactly that.
Jessie joined WiTech in 2017 to stand together with other women and be able to empower others. She worked as the VP for Community Development and led the Wi-Teach program along with her team, providing access to tech and tech education and moreover, inspiring the youth. Jessie has also represented the team at the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Awards, where WiTech was included in the NCR division awards.
Outside of WiTech, Jessie has explored research at multiple events, featuring her group research efforts on mathematical modeling and biological networks, as well as with the Manai Institute of Science and Technology (Japan) where she explored neurological research. Lastly, Jessie has also worked in various other outreach programs in and out of the Philippines.
More simply, Jessie is just a teenager who runs on (a lack of) sleep, Netflix, traveling, books, and furthermore, the drive to shed light on the gender and socio-economic gap in technology in the Philippines and make a change. For WiTech Manila Cycle ’20-’21, Jessie hopes to continue to grow the WiTech family and strengthen the bonds within it.
To make her dream science career a reality, Victoria moved from Pangasinan to Metro Manila to study at Philippine Science High School – Main Campus. As an incoming Grade 11 student, she plans to focus on biology and engineering. She hopes to find a career path in the future that will let her fuse her love of sciences and humanities in a way that will serve the people.
In high school, she started to find purpose in places that enabled her to make a change. Since childhood, her greatest passions have been science and writing. To use these to impact others, she joined WiTech in Grade 10 as a blog contributor, along with her school’s newspaper and Student Council Staff. She aims to break stereotypes and be a voice for the youth in STEM.
The roughly two-to-one ratio of boys to girls in her classes, combined with her own experiences of being underestimated because of her gender, led her to realize just how underrepresented and unprioritized women are in STEM, in schools and workplaces alike. Through WiTech, she aspires to lift up young women like herself, and have fun shattering some glass ceilings while she’s at it.
When she’s not working
towards WiTech world domination, she reads novels, does calligraphy and lettering, plays instruments, and attempts painting.
VP Internal Relations
Dona is an 18-year old rising senior in Philippine Science High School – Main Campus taking up Physics as a core, as well as Engineering and Computer Science as Electives. She is mainly interested in a future career relating to aeronautical or aerospace engineering, and has the dream of someday working at NASA.
She’s an all around achiever, being a usual performer in her school as a vocalist, a member of her school’s Ultimate Frisbee Training Pool, a part of her school’s competitive Physics Team, a common contestant in various hackathons, and the President of her school’s Physics Club. Being the leader of her hackathon team, Malintala, they’ve participated in two of NASA’s Space Apps Challenges, conceptualized two mobile applications, and have since won the Animo Labs Innovation Challenge 2020, with Dona giving a solo pitch for the final round of the competition.
Being a Physics student, she saw how male-dominated the field is– even in a four-walled classroom, and wanted to be an instrument of change in altering the typical treatment and outlook towards women in the STEM field, especially those in Tech-related paths. She joined WiTech in 2019 as a part of Internal Relations’ Human Resources – Membership Relations Committee, and is determined to enhance the bond within the community, as well as refocus their collective ideas, actions, and projects towards WiTech’s vision, as the new head of the department herself.
Co-VP External Relations
Jeira Bueno is an incoming grade 12 student at Philippine Science High School – Main Campus focusing on Biology, Chemistry and Engineering. She is interested in technological innovations and hopes to pursue a career in biomedical or environmental research. She strongly advocates for gender equality, science communication and youth empowerment.
Having experienced the gender gap in competitions and training pools, she wants to change the way society dictates on women pursuing STEM. She joined WiTech last 2017 as part of the Human Resources team and as the Participant Relations Head for WiTalks to promote STEM in events where women and the youth can learn more about the field and meet mentors or peers with the same interests.
In her free time she likes writing, painting and reading as well as watching netflix and playing online games. She also organizes webinars, interns and joins hackathons part-time.
Co-VP External Relations
Bethena Balanon has always been interested in the field of science and technology. As an incoming Grade 12 student at Philippine Science High School-Main Campus, she is now focusing on the fields of Biology and Chemistry with the hopes of pursuing a career in Medicine, Engineering or Research.
From a young age, she has been passionate about gender equality and science appreciation. Because of this, she is part of her school’s chemistry and research club in order to participate in outreach opportunities for small communities. She has been a member of WiTech since 2017 as part of the Human Resources and Finance Committee where she assisted in organizing STEMForward, an event made in collaboration with EducationUSA that aimed to help Filipino students pursue studying abroad. Through WiTech, she hopes to share her passion for science and empower women to pursue careers in science and technology. As someone who lives in Tuguegarao City but studies in Metro Manila, WiTech has been her home away from home where she had the opportunity to meet new people and experience tasks outside her comfort zone.
She also loves exploring new horizons and learning new things everyday. During her free time, she likes reading novels, cooking and participating in webinars and conferences.
Co-VP Marketing (Creatives)
If art was point A in Jamie’s galaxy, then technology was point B on the opposite side – so far apart from each other that an intersection seemed impossible. At least, that’s how it was, until she joined WiTech. A current junior studying the IB Diploma program in the Philippines, WiTech exposed her to the power of art in technology, something that’s since then become her passion — right next to breaking the gender and socio-economic gap in technology, and empowering the youth to fully realize their potential.
A computer programming class in high school proved to be pivotal for her advocacy. While sitting in a room where there were more boys than girls, and listening to her friends outside of the class asking, “But isn’t computer programming hard?”, she realized just how far we have to go in breaking the misconceptions around technology, including the notion that art has no place. Much like how dipping french fries in ice cream is a great-if-not-unlikely combination, Jamie is a firm believer that combining art and technology only makes people more creative and makes technology more accessible.
Jamie is extremely enthusiastic about WiTech as this year’s Co-VP for Marketing (Creatives). In line with her passion for service, she’s thankful for the opportunity to volunteer under WiTech and prove that technology is more powerful when combined with art. She hopes to do more this year, and to be able to give back to the community through her efforts. This cycle, Jamie hopes for WiTech World Domination: increasing WiTech’s presence in order to reach out to more youth. When she’s not actively working towards total domination through design however, you can find her downing quadruple-shot Americanos, serving as an MUN club chair in school, and keeping her 96 playlists organized on Spotify.
Co-VP Marketing (Creatives)
Growing up with a multitude of interests that never seemed to intersect posed a constant struggle to Alie as she figured out what exactly she wanted to pursue in the future. As Alie juggled her love for science, art, dance, badminton, org work,
candy, and a bunch of other random things, she found it difficult to see how it was sustainable for her to pursue all of these interests at the same time. However, after a year’s worth of experience as a creatives officer in WiTech and as an architecture student in UP Diliman, Alie’s passion for service became more clearly set out to value the idea of making a positive difference in the world WHILE doing what she loves. She realized that it was completely possible to be an artist in the field of STEM, and that creativity is actually an extremely important part of the field of science.
Not long after that did she realize how passionate she was about cultivating interests (no matter how unalike they may seem), and ultimately using these for social good. By doing things like creating art to raise funds for COVID relief, making publicity materials to support donation drives and local businesses, or just simply using her active social media presence to share important information, Alie has always strived to direct her hobbies towards service.
As co-head of WiTech’s creative team this cycle, Alie hopes to further reinforce the idea that it is possible to serve and support an advocacy (in this case, gender and socio-economic equality) rooted in something particularly scientific, by doing something inherently artistic! By service through passion, Alie aspires to help empower the youth to take action regardless of their background and what their interests are, and essentially support the idea that the arts is never something to look down upon—but rather something that should be looked at as intersectional with all other aspects of society!
Co-VP Marketing (Social Media)
Allana Crisostomo is a 20 year old sophomore activist based in the Philippines. At an early age of 8, she has found a distinct interest in Science and Technology but struggled to find women to look up to aside from her Science teachers and those she read from books.
Today, despite being in the social science field studying BA Public Administration, she is driven to help break the barriers young Filipinas face in a male dominated world; proving that you don’t have to be tech-savvy to empower women. Through her contributions as a member of WiTech since 2018, she is dedicated in encouraging more people to get themselves involved in discussions of research and sustainable development. She now uses her knowledge as a former marketing intern and associate of Marketing Executives to expand the reach of WiTech not just in the country, but also overseas.
Her passion for learning goes hand in hand with bringing people together in pursuit of quality education accessible to Filipinos of all ages and social class. An advocate of human rights and gender equality, she is an active participant of sociopolitical movements that aim to bring greater good for her community.
VP Community Development
Alex Cruz, an incoming Grade 12 student at Saint Pedro Poveda College, has always been fascinated with math and the sciences. She attended Space Camp at 13 years old and has fallen in love ever since — attending it for 3 more years . This caused her to develop a passion for astrophysics and hopes to pursue this in university and use space science and technology to create a better world for humanity.
Throughout high school, she developed a passion for serving others and devotes her time to serving the people through participating in various outreach programs and non-profit organizations. She joined WiTech in 2019 as she found that there was a significant gender gap within STEM fields. Moreover, she noticed that millions of students, especially girls, still lack access to quality education and opportunities for learning. She hopes for a society wherein an individual is able to learn and develop their ideas without being faced with discrimination, be it due to age, gender, sexuality, race, socio-economic statues, and more.
When she’s not busying herself with organization work or academics, Alex can usually be found at the skating rink, making art and films, or traveling the world.