Nathalie Jade G. Tanquerido:  Leading with Heart and Vision 

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As the sun set on May 30, the University Library at Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST) buzzed with a sense of anticipation. 

It was here that 20-year-old Nathalie Jade G. Tanquerido, the newly elected President of the Federated Student Council and the incoming Student Regent for the academic year 2024-2025, shared her thoughts and aspirations in an interview that revealed the heart and mind of a promising and passionate young leader. 

 Elected on May 28 in a smooth yet competitive electoral process at the Main Campus-Tiwi Site, facilitated by the Office of Student Affairs and Services (OSAS), Nathalie is set to take the reins from Student Regent Jose Eugene Salazar. Salazar leaves behind a legacy marked by significant projects, including various representations, leadership developments like KampSama 2024, community service initiatives, and advocacies such as the Hilway Project. 

Standing at 5-foot-3, Nathalie is not only a leader in the academic and social realms but also possesses the physical grace of a true Filipina beauty. With her slender frame and poised demeanor, she commands attention effortlessly. Her expressive eyes and radiant smile reflect her warm personality, making her a pleasing presence wherever she goes. 

 As Nathalie prepares to step into her new role, the enormity of her responsibilities is sinking in. Overwhelmed but hopeful, she identifies her top three priorities: ensuring a conducive learning experience, implementing mental health training for both students and leaders, and launching social justice and environmental awareness programs. Her commitment to quality education (SDG 4) and synergistic partnerships (SDG 17) underscores her vision for a brighter future for ISUFST. 

 Her journey to leadership was not straightforward. Throughout her academic life, Nathalie focused on her studies and extracurricular activities, shying away from higher positions. However, a period of introspection led her to realize her true calling. “I gave myself the best of me; now, I genuinely want to give everyone the best that I have,” she reflects. Her decision to run for the presidency was born out of a genuine desire to serve and uplift her peers. 

A self-proclaimed linguaphile, Nathalie is passionate about learning languages like Nihongo, Mandarin, and Korean. This interest extends beyond linguistics to include understanding customs and traditions, reflecting her deep appreciation for cultural diversity. As an incoming third-year BSED Major in English student at the College of Education, Dingle Campus, her academic prowess and thirst for knowledge are evident. 

 Nathalie’s social nature and charisma make her a natural leader. She thrives in social settings, easily moving from one event to another, making connections, and engaging in meaningful conversations. These traits, combined with her extroverted and approachable demeanor, will undoubtedly serve her well in her new role. She intends to leverage her social skills to foster unity and collaboration within the university community.  

Balancing her duties as SK secretary of Brgy. Poblacion, Dingle, and President of the Dingle Campus Student Council, Nathalie, the eldest of three siblings, is no stranger to leadership challenges. Her high school years, marked by honors in STEM and accolades in journalism, laid a solid foundation for her current endeavors. Now, with her sights set on graduating cum laude, she is determined to master the art of juggling academics and leadership. 

 In her courtesy call with Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr., on May 30, Nathalie received valuable advice: to balance her public service and academic responsibilities effectively. Dr. Siason emphasized that a good leader must manage both time and energy wisely, a principle Nathalie is committed to upholding. Nathalie, in response, expressed her eagerness to collaborate and her respect for his transformative leadership. She envisions a partnership built on transparency and mutual respect, aimed at addressing campus issues and implementing innovative solutions. 

 When asked about her motivation, Nathalie’s response was heartfelt. She spoke of her journey, her fears, and her ultimate realization that leadership was not about proving something but about genuine service. Her election as President of the Federated Student Council is a testament to her dedication and the trust her peers have placed in her. 

 Nathalie’s plans for her term are ambitious yet grounded in reality. She envisions a university where students are actively engaged in decision-making, where academic resources are abundant, and where social justice prevails. Her goals include updating libraries, improving internet facilities, and supporting research and innovation. Moreover, she is committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, ensuring that all students feel valued and supported. 

 Her message to the outgoing student regent, Jose Eugene Salazar, was one of deep respect and gratitude. Nathalie acknowledges the high standards set by Salazar and is inspired to continue his legacy with the same level of dedication and integrity. Incidentally, the two first crossed paths at the university’s extemporaneous contest. Their respective first and second place awards seemingly foreshadowed their future roles in the Student Regency. 

 Nathalie’s dual roles as President of the Student Council and Student Regent are pivotal. She aims to enhance the overall student experience, foster an inclusive community, and represent student interests at the highest levels of university governance. Her leadership will be guided by compassion, courage, and resilience—values that she holds dear. 

In her message to the students of ISUFST, Nathalie emphasized the importance of unity and collaboration. “Your voices matter, and I’m here to represent you to the best of my ability,” she said, urging her peers to work together to make the university a better place for everyone. Nathalie’s journey to leadership is a story of self-discovery, courage, and a genuine desire to serve. 

As she embarks on this new chapter, she carries with her the hopes and aspirations of the ISUFST student body. Her vision, humility, and capability inspire confidence and optimism. 

Under her leadership, the university community can look forward to a year of positive change and meaningful progress. In her own words, “Pressure creates the finest diamonds. We refine ourselves through challenges, for without them, there is no growth. These pressures are blessings in disguise, shaking us to our core but ultimately shaping us into better versions of ourselves.” With such a mindset and God’s grace, Nathalie, guided by her humble parents Ma’am Jasmin and Sir Natheniel and her mentors in ISUFST, is poised to lead with heart and vision, making a lasting impact on the university and beyond.  

Nathalie’s commitment to fostering collaboration and dialogue between student leaders, university administration, and other stakeholders is a testament to her inclusive approach. She believes in creating open channels of communication, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued in the decision-making process. This collaborative spirit is essential for addressing important issues on campus and implementing meaningful changes that benefit the entire university community. Her dedication to enhancing student engagement and empowerment is evident in her plans to create more opportunities for students to participate in decision-making processes. 

By amplifying student voices and perspectives, Nathalie aims to ensure that university policies and initiatives truly reflect the interests and priorities of the student body. Moreover, her focus on promoting sustainability and social responsibility within the university community highlights her forward-thinking approach. She is committed to implementing environmentally friendly practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, and fostering a culture of civic engagement and service. 

As Nathalie steps into her roles as President of the Student Council and Student Regent, she carries with her the support and admiration of her peers, faculty, and administration. Her journey is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and a genuine desire to make a difference. With her leadership, ISUFST is poised for a future filled with hope, progress, and positive change. 

 Nathalie Jade G. Tanquerido’s story is one of inspiration and aspiration. It is a story that reminds us all of the impact that one dedicated individual can have on an entire community. As she embarks on this new chapter, her vision, humility, and capability will undoubtedly help lead ISUFST to new heights, making her one of the brighter beacons of hope and inspiration for future student leaders. (Herman Lagon/PAMCO)

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