Bruce Torres Fischer remembers from a young age loving the Discovery Channel, the show Crocodile Hunter, being outside, looking at animals and having a general appreciation of nature.
“It’s been a passion of mine since I was little,” Bruce said. “I want to be a biologist and want to work in conservation.”
The Natural Science program at Hawai‘i Community College has helped Bruce pursue that passion.
Bruce, 21, is from Belize in Central America and moved to Hawai‘i Island with his family five years ago. He began studying in the Natural Science program in 2015.
After successfully completing many courses at Hawai'i CC, he is transferring to the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in the fall of 2017 to pursue a bachelor of science in biology (Cell, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences track) and a bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies.
The Natural Science program, which prepares students to transfer to bachelor’s degree programs in science, technology, engineering and math, was a great place to start his higher education journey, Bruce said.
“I think the faculty here are the strongest aspect of the program,” he said. “I think the most important part of the Natural Science program is their willingness to take the time to help you as a student and encourage you and support you in learning whatever the subject is at hand.”
Bruce was accepted into the Scholarships for STEM (S-STEM) program at UH Hilo on the basis of academic preparation, potential, motivation, and interest in the STEM disciplines, as indicated by high GPA, standardized test scores, a letter stating interests and letter of reference.
The decision to also enter the Hawaiian Studies program at UH Hilo is not one Bruce could have predicted before attending Hawai'i CC. His discovery of an interest in Hawaiian culture was a surprise and became one of the most significant aspects of his college experience.
“The integration of Hawaiian culture and how it permeates throughout the college and the campus is something tangible and something that has captured my interest,” Bruce said. “In fact, it has prompted me to double major when I transfer to UH Hilo in biology and Hawaiian studies.”