Passions for Biology with the Tri-Beta

By: Miguel Massas

The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez (UPRM) is known for having outstanding students that assist all of its departments, and the department of biology isn’t an exception.  The bachelor degree for biology was granted to the UPRM in 1942 and since then, it’s been a field ofstudy for students in the UPRM. Due to outstanding students in this field, it gave a new beginning to an organization called the “Beta Beta Beta” (Tri-Beta) to form those outstanding students that studied biology. Since then, it’s been a popular fraternity for those interested injoining.

The Tri-beta is an honor society for students who study biological sciences and it’smostly for undergraduates. The goal has been to improve the understanding and appreciation of biological study and human knowledge. It was founded at Oklahoma City University on 1922 byDr. Frank G. Brooks and his group of students. The idea of this honor society was such a big success that in 1925 it turned into a national organization. It wasn’t until 1945 that the Tri-Beta formed part of the community of the UPRM because of the date the bachelor degree became partof the community as well.


 The logo that represents the Tri-Beta, very little is known about its meaning due to it being explained only to official members.

This fraternity enables students to explore their own biological interests through student-planned field trips, guest speakers and projects. Ever since this honor society has been working with the UPRM community, it’s been taking new members in events at least once every year.This year wasn’t any exception; an activity was held  October 11 in the department of biology at 10:30 a.m. where the new candidates were going to be announced.

Official members weren’t announced during the activity due to it being a warm up ofthings to come if they become members. This activity was organized by members of the Tri-Beta to get to know the candidates better. These students have already had their grade point average checked to see if they qualified as an honor students. This activity is only their first step of the initiation process. Later, the candidates have to attend activities which they would be invited to if the members were not only impressed by their personality but by the way they express themselves and how they interacted with others.

Furthermore, after the brief introduction, the students were divided into five groups: each named by a color which represented something about biology. The five colors were red, blue, yellow, green and purple. Each team had to give a speech of the subject that represented the colors. They had to give this speech in front of everybody present indicating their knowledge in the area of biology.

One of the new candidates present was Jose Hawayek, a few generations of his family had been part of the Tri-Beta before him, and was present in the event in hopes of being able to join this honor society. After the activity was over, he was able to talk a bit more about this fraternity and his reasons for joining it. He stated; “Being a son of two doctors that have both been in this organization, it’s important for me to keep the tradition goin.” He later continued by saying, “Not only am I doing it to keep a tradition going but  I’m also doing it because for medical schools this association has a big reputation which could help me out in the long run like it did to my parents.”


High ranked members of the Tri-Beta getting ready for the presentation.

Later Jose Hawayek, father of the student Jose Hawayek and previous member of the Tri- Beta, expressed the importance this fraternity had in his life. “Well it did have importance because it boosted my interest in my biology studies. Also I started to spend time with people that had the same passion as me and even now, some of them are really close friends of mine.” This explains why the Tri-Beta has over 200,000 members that have been accepted for a lifelong membership. The Tri-Beta not only chooses the best students that could be of big importance in biology in the future but it brings the same passions for a lifetime.


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