BYU-Hawaii’s Scientia is a science club dedicated to all science majors where students can find opportunities to reinforce their future careers. The club’s purpose is to network students with professors and professionals in different fields of science, according to Aram Centeno, a 2018 graduate from the Philippines who founded the club.
Centeno said he established this science-based club to help students see the different opportunities in science. “Science has many different branches, and with those different fields comes so many different opportunities.
“The first time I stepped onto BYUH’s campus as a science student all my plans were anchored towards the medical field. When I became fully aware of how expensive it would be to go to medical school, I felt like I had to change my plans. I didn’t know what to do after that.
“I was influenced by my student mentor and colleague, Genesis Cahigas, who told me he wanted to pursue a career in cancer research and my mind was opened. I realized that studying a science could enable you to do more than a medical profession.”
Centeno explained he had plans to go to graduate school. He said he had several ideas of what to do like cancer research, but said he felt like he was all alone and there wasn’t much support at BYUH. “I didn’t know how to apply, what to do with my graduate school applications and what steps to take. These experiences inspired me to create [Scientia] to provide outreach and support for science majors.”
Ivy Doringuez, a senior from the Philippines majoring in biology, and the most recent president of Scientia, said, “The club is new and covers a very broad scope of science majors. We had a very informative info session last semester where we were given advice from Dr. Eric Orr of the Psychology Department on graduate school.
“That’s one of the main goals of the club, is to support our science students who want to proceed on to graduate school.”
Alex Basco, a senior from the Philippines double majoring in biology and psychology, and secretary of Scientia, said, “The Scientia Club, especially being in a leadership position, has provided me great experience to put into practice and hone my leadership skills. I have learned things which I can improve on as a student, leader and person. It feels amazing to work with people who share the same passion and who understand you.”
Basco added, “The goal of the club is to help science students realize that there is so much opportunity out there and we try to provide opportunities for them to know and explore these various fields.”
According to Centeno, the club has been quite successful in helping students connect to several successful people in different fields of science. Notable presenters brought into Scientia events included a CEO of a mental health association, a deputy director of the National Cancer Institute of Hawaii, science professors and other scientists through info sessions and career nights.
With a club membership ranging from 30 to 50 students each semester, Centeno said several professors have showed their support and attended some of the club’s events, including one professor who gave extra credit to his students if they attended the club’s events.
Centeno said Scientia provides a lot of support if you are a member. “We were able to introduce internship opportunities to some of our members through our various events. We were also able to provide support to each other, especially in setting career goals and plans, preparing for internships and exams, lending books with each other, and offering free books and other materials to members of the club.
“We aren’t against students pursuing careers in the medical field, we just want to offer and expand opportunities to students in science.”
Now working at the Huntsman Cancer Institute working on lung cancer research and as a nurse assistant in Salt Lake City while he prepares for graduate school, Centeno stated, “I was blessed to have founded this organization and I saw it grow and bless the lives of several students. It really blessed my life and helped me in accomplishing my own personal goals. I applied many of the experiences I gained from serving in the club to my life.”