November 16, 2011
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to advancing Hispanics, Chicanos and Native Americans in science.
Texas Tech's Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) chapter received a Role Model Chapter Award for outstanding sustainability among more than 60 chapters at its national conference in San Jose, Calif.
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to advancing Hispanics, Chicanos and Native Americans in science. The nonprofit organization includes individuals and groups interested in quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research.
“I was truly impressed by the encouraging and inspirational environment of the SACNAS national conference,” said Ximena Bernal, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Texas Tech SACNAS co-faculty advisor. “It is a pleasure to collaborate with a group of dedicated and hard-working students and I am happy to see the Texas Tech chapter and Texas Tech recognized for their efforts.”
The conference featured more than 3,600 participants from across the U.S. It provided the students with the opportunity to present research on a national scale, network with faculty, scientists and researchers in their disciplines, and network with graduate schools ranging from Yale to Berkley to receive graduate admissions information.
“It’s great to come back each year to see how the conference has continued to grow,” said Jeannie Diaz, director of the Texas Tech Center for Undergraduate Research. “This is one of the top STEM conferences in the nation and we’re proud to attend and support our Texas Tech researchers.”
Jaclyn Cañas a chapter advisor and associate professor of environmental toxicology at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health, said it was an honor to receive the award.
“This was my fifth SACNAS Conference and it is amazing to watch conference attendance rise 40 percent over the last five years,” Cañas said. “The SACNAS environment is an excellent place for underrepresented STEM students to present their research for the first time.”
Alison Mathew, SACNAS’s secretary for the Texas Tech chapter, said the Texas Tech chapter has an average of 20 to 30 students attending chapter meetings. Attendance varies with each meeting since the chapter covers diverse topics that may be more relevant for different audiences.
Mathew said the chapter distinguishes itself from others by what they offer members. The chapter created a “Science in 3-D,” program, a program where professors discuss their research and offer tours of their labs.
“It was through these programs that we were able to attract, retain and sustain our chapter,” Mathew said. “We make it a priority to engage faculty members regularly within our organization, which allows students to be more active in their education.”
She said they are a growing chapter and encourage anyone interested to get involved.
The original SACNAS organization was founded in 1973 by a small group of minority scientists, and now comprises over 25,000 members, partners and friends. Texas Tech created the first student chapter in the nation and pioneered the SACNAS chapter movement in 2004.
Texas - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) is a major component of a Texas initiative to motivate and prepare more students for careers in STEM fields.
The mission of the Texas Tech T-STEM Center is to support educators in STEM disciplines by offering services and resources that support school districts and to teachers.
The center, created in 2006, has nearly $2.2 million in funding.