From pretend lab to topping the Chemist Licensure Exam

November 12, 2021

As a young boy, Mac Ivan Dominic Fang (BS Chem, BS MSE 2020) was already channeling his inner Dexter, the eponymous hero of the animated television series. "I remember mixing whatever stuff I came across, such as cologne, powder, lotion, or glue, among other things, pretending I was Dexter," he recalled. The appeal of doing chemistry experiments effervesced when he reached high school with his teachers making classes "both fun and easy as they could make it." Inevitably, when it was time to pick a college major, Fang pursued a BS Chemistry with Materials Science Engineering degree at the Ateneo de Manila University.

He was supposed to take the exam in May 2020, but the exam was called off due to the pandemic. In October 2021, Fang took the Chemist Licensure Examination and ranked first among the 134 passers.

"It has always been my dream to be listed as one of the licensure exam topnotchers, but I didn't think I'd actually top it. Up to now, it still feels surreal!"

On the day of the release of the results, Fang, like his fellow Gen Z'ers, was on YouTube watching a random video.

"I received a notification from the Professional Regulation Commission's Twitter page saying that they had already released the results. So, I visited the link and started panicking when I couldn't see my name on the list." The dread turned into confusion when a friend sent him a congratulatory message for topping the boards. As it turned out, Fang was checking the wrong list- the Chemical Technician roll.

For Fang, who spent his last semester online, the situation was "most exhausting not just for the students but also for the professors who tried their best to find a way for us to still learn given the situation." Transitioning from brick and mortar to online learning had its challenges, and Fang felt they would not graduate on time.

"Thank God Ateneo made sure that we did," he said.

With the licensure exam canceled in 2020, Fang started looking for a job and found one as a lab technician. He resumed reviewing on his own by June 2021, balancing work and online classes.

"Our review classes were done online, and my friends and I were demotivated because we weren't physically together to study just like in college, and I didn't have a lot of time allotted for studying anymore because I was already employed. But over time, I got used to it. I also had the support of my family and friends to keep me going."

 After passing the licensure exam, Fang has become an analyst for San Pablo City Water District: “My main responsibility is to monitor the quality of water from difference sources in San Pablo, Laguna. Some of the parameters that we regularly monitor are turbidity, pH, total dissolved solids, total suspended solids, and the presence of residual chlorine, manganese, and iron.” 

Fang admitted that this achievement would not have been possible without the support of his family and some people who helped along the way.

"I offer this achievement to my family for believing in me, especially in times when I felt like no one else did. Thank you also for constantly reminding me to take a break from time to time, that I didn't have to study so hard because you knew I'd do just fine on the exam. Special thanks to my mother and my sister for being my prayer warriors since Day 1."

A recipient of the Moraza-Aboitiz Endowment, Fang offered this major coup to alumnus Antonio Moraza (BS Management 1977) for giving him the opportunity to study at Ateneo.

"I offer this to Mr. Moraza for being my benefactor until the end of my stay in Ateneo. Like I always say, you are why I am here, sir. I also offer this to all my science/chemistry teachers/professors, coaches, and thesis mentors for teaching me everything I know now and inspiring me each day. This achievement is for my friends for constantly reminding me to never underestimate myself. And lastly, I offer this achievement to our almighty Father for the gift of wisdom and for being my light in times of darkness."