Society for Hispanic/Chicano and Native American Scientist, 2014 Conference

  Why is SACNAS, Society for Hispanic/Chicano and Native American Scientist, so AMAZING?




About 4000 diverse professionals attended the 2014 SACNAS National Conference and about 1300 of these professionals were undergraduate student presenters.  Of the 1300 undergraduate student presenters, 18 of them were Biology Scholars Program (BSP) undergraduate student presenters.  Of the 18 BSP undergraduate student presenters, 15 were SACNAS Travel Awardees.


Cal Faculty, Administrators, and BSP alumni were spotted and added to the excitement.

  • Sandy Rosales, a BSP student won a Microbiology Award for her research poster and presentation.


Our very own BSP Director, Dr. John Matsui and BSP Coordinator, Dr. Corey Welch left SACNAS with impressionable memories:

  • Dr. John Matsui

  • Dr. Welch Corey

    • Keynote Speaker

    • Facilitator of the “Insights to Success” Panel


  1. THE EXPERIENCE by Quan Tran, Kendall Lee CalhounGustavo Garcia

Our had the opportunity to present their research, gain professional development skills and to be recruited to post-graduate PhD, MD/Phd, and MD programs.

Hear it from students who went, they know the true impact of the SACNAS experience!


QUAN TRAN, Student Presenter



Author: Kristina Kangas

Kristina came to Cal as an undergraduate and joined the Biology Scholars Program after being a part of the Biology Fellows Program. She received her BA in 2011 and is currently a graduate student in UC Berkeley's Department of Integrative Biology. Her research in the lab of Dr. George Bentley is investigating if melatonin, the "hormone of darkness", is able to communicate seasonal information (i.e. the length of the night) to an invasive, temperate species of bird (the European starling), and if seasonal melatonin could influence transitions between life history stages (specifically between breeding and non-breeding) in birds. Outside of lab, she enjoys teaching and learning from students, reading German and Italian literature, and thinking about how research can be made more accessible.

Kristina KangasIt is a bizarre, strange loop to desire to be different and unique and yet still be considered a part of a single, structural social unit. The tug-of-war between the commercialistic drive to “Expressyourself”, but, “do it the same way as everyone else by buying this product,” can leave a maturing young adult in the dust of monotonous homogeneity. This was my dilemma before I even heard of the Biology Scholars Program (BSP). It changed my worldview. The words that follow will attempt to articulate how.

The Non-Traditional Path: Francisco Solorio

Author: Maggie Cobian-Perez

Maggie is a rising 5th year student at UC Berkeley and a BSP Peer Advisor.  Her non-traditional path and interest in literature fostered an early passion for the lives and stories of others, steering her towards a degree in English.  She hopes to improve the health narratives of underserved communities in the future as a primary care physician.


The numbness came like a cold embrace, creeping slowly into the solace of his lungs and soul.   A whisper of life escaped in a hard breath of exhalation.  The encroaching winds of the unfaithful snowstorm were not to be trusted.

These were the final days of Francisco’s paramedic preceptor training.  The calamity of the child reverberated throughout Shaver Lake, like the murmur of the first gush of spring across the icy river’s winter carcass.  In the distance, stood the reflection of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, proudly poised against the menacing horizon of the challenge ahead.

The child had suffered a series of seizures-- Status Epilepticus.  The fate of Francisco’s unconscious passenger now anxiously lied in his hands.  So fragile was the pendulum of life.

He was pensive, but calm as he hurriedly placed the child onto the ambulance gurney. His sense of urgency was magnified by the stubborn pang of perspiration permeating into the abode of his eyes.    Time raced against the velocity of the ambulance van; the premonition of defeat loomed in the distance.

They had radioed a helicopter, but the wrath of the snowstorm could not be quelled.   Her relentless vehemence kicked up violent sheets of heavy snow, enveloping both the van and Francisco’s mind.

His eyes drifted towards the IV lines extending out of the child’s pallid hand. It was hard to believe that even after advanced life support training, all he could do for his passenger was breathe for him. 

He slowly fixed his gaze on the rhythmic compression of his hands on the ambu-bag.  On that long drive to the ER, all he could think about was getting through the next hour and a half without any further complications.

But what clamored louder was the ruminating thought that still lingered from his last day in paramedic school. Only 19 years old, as his pen inscribed the last morsels of knowledge onto his notebook, his conscience erupted with dissatisfaction, “Is this it”?

Francisco gave a long look through the ambulance windshield; the immaculate frost was beginning to give way.  And it all became clear…

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