On a chilly evening in December, the cozy first floor of Featherston buzzed with enthusiasm and holiday cheer. Dressed in ugly holiday sweaters and festive sweatpants, students, faculty and staff chatted while building gingerbread houses and designing their own ugly sweaters.
“It’s wonderful to see Featherston packed full of students and holiday cheer this evening,” said Todd Shoepe, professor and chair of the Health and Human Sciences Department.
The newly formed Health and Human Sciences Society organized the festivities. The society is a student-led organization focused on the success of HHSC students.
“We want to build a community open to any students interested in going into healthcare,” said sophomore Penelope Hoyos, who is president of the HHSC society.
Their first meeting was in October and elected board members in November. Now the board members—Penelope Hoyos as president, Damian Ayala as vice president, Gabby Trujillo as treasurer, and Chadney Lim as secretary—are registering their constitution with the Registered Student Organizations. Their goal is to develop a supportive community for students interested in healthcare-related careers.
“The first year of college was really stressful,” Lim said. “The standard of online learning in high school is far different from the expectations of in-person college courses and labs.”
Ayala, who is a commuter student from North Whittier, felt disconnected as a freshman. As a returning sophomore, Ayala is more confident in his ability to tackle the challenges of college. He and the rest of the board want to provide support to incoming freshman. They want students to feel better prepared and feel connected to the rest of the students in the major.
“We want to establish an initiative similar to a ‘Big-Little’ program,” Hoyos explained, adding that the program will organize mentor-mentee relationships between upper-class students with newer students.
The board emphasized that this society is not exclusive to HHSC majors and anyone interested in a healthcare career is more than welcome.
Treasurer Trujillo is excited to help establish a platform for students to socialize and network. Not just amongst each other, but with the staff and faculty. They aim to invite community members and alumni to discuss their career trajectory and offer advice on pursuing healthcare careers.
Izzy Bermudez, a sophomore in the Biology Department who intends to become a doctor, said the activities put on by the society really complement her biology curriculum and career goals.
On top of roundtable interviews with professionals in the healthcare field, the HHSC society plans to host service projects in the community and social events for members to engage with like the one this evening.
“It was great seeing everyone here,” says Gabby Besio, a member of the HHSC society. “It’s great to see faculty and staff too, their presence shows their support of the society.”
“We are so excited to see such a wonderful turnout this evening. This is a promising start for the new HHSC Society,” said Suchandra Ghosh, laboratory support associate for the Health and Human Sciences department.
Ghosh has assisted them in the start of the group because she views this as important to their development. “This is a great opportunity for our students to socialize, engage, and learn.” For Ghosh, working with such an enthusiastic group in their endeavor is quite rewarding.
If you would like to connect and learn more about the society, follow @lmu.hhsc.society on Instagram.