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Roselle Ambubuyog graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2001 from the Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Schools, as Class Valedictorian with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a minor in Actuarial Science. Despite being totally blind since the age of six, she consistently attained the highest academic honors, also graduating as valedictorian from the Holy Infant Montessori Center (1986), Batino Elementary School (1993), and Ramon Magsaysay High School—Manila (1997). From grade school through college, she was mainstreamed in regular classes with sighted students.
Roselle received all awards possible for a graduating Ateneo student: the Ateneo President’s award as Valedictorian of Class 2001, the Ateneo Vice-President’s Most Outstanding Individual award for service and excellence, the St. Ignatius award for Outstanding Scholar, and the Departmental award for Mathematics.
Outside the university, she received the Special award of Recognition from the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) executive committee, the BPI Science award from the BPI Foundation, the Most Outstanding Jose Rizal Model Student from the Knights of Rizal Supreme Council, the Huwarang Pilipino award from the Radio ng Bayan executive committee, the Gawad Sentenaryo “Kabataang Makasaysayan” award from the National Centennial Commission, the Galing Pilipino citation from the Galing Pilipino Movement, the National Maagap Award (Youth Sector) from the Organized Response to the Advancement of Society, the Heroes Award from Anak TV Foundation, the Outstanding Youth Leaders Award from the United Nations Association of the Philippines, the Everyday Heroes award from Reader’s Digest Asia, and many more.
A trailblazer in several ways, Roselle is not only the first blind Ateneo graduate, but also the first in the Philippines to use various speech-and-Braille portable computers in her studies. Moreover, she is the first vision-impaired Filipino to become proficient in the use of the Cranmer abacus for the blind, as well as the Korean Finger Math technique called Chisanbop, utilizing such skills to win interscholastic competitions against sighted students.
Immediately after graduation, Roselle set up a project with the help of the Makati-Ayala Rotary Club, which donated special software, desktop computers, scanners and Braille printers to schools that have a mainstream education program for the blind.
Roselle is presently an access technology consultant working remotely from the Philippines for different software and hardware companies in Europe and North America. She provides design specifications for new and existing technologies that enable the blind, partially sighted and people with learning disabilities to use regular computers and mobile devices. She also coordinates multinational teams of engineers and testers as well as distributors and customers in more than 50 countries.
She first worked for Freedom Scientific, L.L.C., a company based in Florida, USA and the leading developer of assistive technology for people with vision impairment. In the beginning of her career, Roselle designed a system for writing and reading mathematical and scientific notation on Windows-based PCs using 3-D digital audio and Braille displays.
Representing Serotek Corporation, another US-based company, she introduced in the Philippines the low-cost screen reading software for Windows® called System Access, a free internet-based version of which is now available worldwide and promoted especially to blind computer users in developing countries.
Later, she helped develop the first Windows Mobile® screen reader for touch-screen smartphones and PDAs which converted screen content into synthesized speech, magnified text, and Braille output. She defined the Braille interface of similar software for the Symbian® OS, enabling even the deaf-blind to use popular Nokia phones. During her tenure as Product Manager of these software innovations, Code Factory of Barcelona, Spain, garnered recognition from the American Foundation for the Blind at the 2008 AFB Access Awards.
She also guided an international team of sighted programmers to develop a talking GPS navigation solution for blind pedestrians, based on the Windows Mobile platform and using the software architecture and GPS maps from the Sendero Group, which won the International CES Best of Innovations Design and Engineering Award.
“I have always been passionate about the positive changes that technology can make,
and have constantly endeavored to understand the needs of its users,” says Roselle. “The access technology field provides the opportunity to innovate and have a direct impact on people’s lives with ground-breaking software and hardware solutions, and I know that my experience as a blind person factors into the thrust and direction that these products are taking.”
Roselle was part of the Microsoft Philippines Office Icons campaign, a project which pools together a group of individuals who have made their mark in their respective fields, inspired others to do better, and successfully integrated technology as a vital part of their lifestyle.
Most recently, she was recognized as one of the Pinay in Action (PIA) awardees for 2015 by Sen. Pia Cayetano, and was included in the ‘Empowered Women: Raising the Bar’ exhibit at the Senate which featured outstanding women who have made valuable contributions in different areas of society.
Also as part of the Asian Center for Trainers and Speakers (a division of the Breakthrough Leadership Management Consultancy group), Roselle has given talks on various topics including personal development, overcoming challenges, achieving excellence, and individual leadership to large audiences of all ages, students of all levels, professionals in different fields, and the disabled and non-disabled alike.
Christened a Roman Catholic, Roselle has served in the Lectors and Commentators Group of Christ the King Parish in North Caloocan since the age of twelve, reading the Holy Scriptures in Braille. She derives strength from her faith, family and friends, and strives to teach others to draw inspiration from similar sources in order to rise above adversity.
Note:The preceding text serves as an overview of Roselle Ambubuyog's achievements and can be used in part or as a whole by anyone who requires her profile for an introductory piece at speaking engagements and talk shows she will guest on, for articles that will feature or mention her, for multimedia materials used during events to which she will be invited, and other similar purposes.