WWAAC 2014 Catherine Bioc from WWAAC Alliance Foundation on Vimeo.
Catherine Bioc was born in the Cavite, Philippines to Imelda and Ponciano Bioc. Growing up, Cat was a child full of energy and life and was constantly surrounded by her immediate and extended family. At a very young age, Cat learned the importance of education from her parents. When her older sister, Carmina Bioc, attended school for the first time, Cat’s mother bought Cat a pretend school outfit because of her eagerness to start school. While in school in the Philippines, Cat earned her way to the top of her class and became a teacher’s pet.
In 1997, Cat’s parents made a decision to send their daughters to the United States, giving Cat and Carmina access to a better education and endless opportunities. Cat and her sister lived with their newly migrated cousins, aunts and uncles in her Aunt Bibian and Uncle Rick’s household. A year later, Cat’s father immigrated to the USA, while Cat’s mother who was pregnant with her younger sister, Caren, stayed in the Philippines. Cat found herself in a new, unfamiliar environment, battling culture shock. With the support of her relatives and her new teachers and dedication to her education, Cat flourished in her new school.
During 2005, Cat’s mother was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer and had an emergency mastectomy. In the summer of 2005, Cat, Carmina and Cat’s father flew back to the Philippines to visit her mother and little sister. Not only was this the first time that Cat and Carmina saw their mom in seven years, but it was also the first time they met their little sister, Caren. For one summer, Cat’s immediate family was able to live together as a complete family. In 2006, Cat’s mother was in remission, but the cancer came back in her bones during Cat’s junior year of high school. The cancer was aggressive and her mother passed away on September 04, 2008 at the age of 45 during Cat’s senior year of high school. Her mother’s passing has greatly affected Cat’s view of life. Cat considers her mother her hero and inspiration. Her sacrifice to send her children to the United States was one filled with love and hope for a better future for them. With this in mind, Cat aimed to ensure that her mother’s sacrifices would not be a waste. She graduated from Osborne High School as the valedictorian of her class and received scholarships to college from Gates Millennium and Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Foundations.
Cat chose to go to school at Oxford College of Emory University. On campus, Cat became an Americorp Bonner Leader, volunteering over 400 hours in her two years at Oxford College. Her peers, faculty and staff at Oxford College loved Cat’s positivity and energy; during her sophomore year, Cat was named Ms. Oxford and received the Humanitarian Award. Cat’s fondest moments at Oxford were defined through the relationships she built with her friends and professors. It was at Oxford that she discovered her passions for service and people.
After transferring to Emory, Cat continued to serve by joining Volunteer Emory and leading weekly service trips to the Atlanta Taskforce for the Homeless and by creating and implementing Alternative Service Breaks. During the Alternative Break Trips, she and fellow Volunteer Emory Staff members led groups of college students to volunteer for a week at various cities across the Southeast, exploring a variety of social justice topics. These topics ranged from Environmental Awareness to Poverty and Homelessness. After a year at Volunteer Emory, she became one of three co-directors with primary responsibilities to oversee the Alternative Break Program. During her year as a co-director, Volunteer Emory was recognized as the Heart of Emory. During her junior year she became a Community Building and Social Change Fellow and created and implemented projects with aims to understand and enhance parent engagement at a local middle school. Cat was also a Resident Advisor during her senior year and created programs to build community within Emory’s Residential Halls. During the end of her senior year, she was nominated to the 100 Senior Honorary, received the J.J. Canter Community Involvement Award, and was selected as a Who’s Who’s Among Students in American Colleges and Universities. It was also during this year that Cat, with the help of her relatives, brought Caren to the United States to provide her greater opportunities for her future. Caren is now under the care of her sisters and prepping to also attend college in the fall of 2016.
Coming from a low-income background and as a first generation college student, Cat is thankful for the opportunity to obtain her associates and bachelor’s degrees. Her time at Emory and Oxford proved to be a journey that nurtured Cat to be an individual who is aware of the injustices in this world and someone who believes in the power of individuals to change those injustices.
She continues to foster her passion for serving others in her professional career as a College Coach for Beyond 12. Cat coaches 83 students, mainly first generation college students, through their college experience helping them succeed through college. In her role, she hopes to pass forward the experience and knowledge she gained from her time in college to aid and support her students.
Due to the investment and support of her family, friends, professors, and organizations like APIASF, Cat has become an empowered individual with means to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Her most recent endeavor was starting the initiative, 80K for 80K Homes Lost. Her sisters, friends, and family raised funds for Habitat for Humanity Philippines for homes lost due to Typhoon Yolanda.
Cat plans to get her MBA with a focus on nonprofits and community building in the coming years. She hopes to continue learning about people’s life stories and ensuring that others have the resources and opportunities to achieve their goals. When she is not in the office, Cat can be found exploring new places and fulfilling her thrill seeking tendencies by hiking, spelunking, rafting, skydiving, and hand-gliding.