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

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

 

 

  1. THE PEOPLE

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.

Spotlight:

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

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT SACNAS?

The most memorable moment at SACNAS was when the assistant dean of UCLA’s medical pharmacology department came over to my poster to hear me present. We had a nice conversation about the research that I’m doing and he told me about the professors I should look into at UCLA.

 

WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE?

The deep sense of community at SACNAS was both surprising and heart-warming. I imagined conferences to have recruiters who spot out the best amongst the group and each student scrambling to stand out. At SACNAS, the atmosphere was completely different. Every individual genuinely cared about the success of his/her neighbors. I felt like I could fail a hundred times and still get back up because of this support network.

 

HOW DID THE SACNAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE HELP YOU DEVELOP AS A SCIENTIST?

The workshops trained me to have a certain mindset when going into research in the future. I learned that failure is normal in science but failure does not mean the end.

HOW DID THE SACNAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE HELP YOU DEVELOP AS A LEADER IN SCIENCE? 

I feel motivated to bring passionate people together to help the underserved and underrepresented.  I saw that with good leadership, it is possible to bring this group together.  There are people out there who care; they are the ones who are needed as leaders to rally people together for social change.

 

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR FUTURE ATTENDEES?

For future attendees, know how to balance your time! Make sure you attend workshops that are most beneficial to you and give some time to take breaks. When I was there, it was really hard to take a breather because I wanted to attend everything. As a result, I felt exhausted by the end of the day. I wished I had time to rejuvenate, this way I could have been more energetic and more focused at conference events.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS?

This conference was amazing. I’m really grateful that I had an opportunity to go to SACNAS and I’m glad SACNAS was the first conference I went to. Going to a conference is intimidating to me, but the caring community at SACNAS made it less intimidating.

 

KENDALL LEE CALHOUN, Student Presenter

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT SACNAS?

My most memorable moment was walking into the exhibition hall to see all the booths from different grad programs.  It was so busy and lively and I was really eager to jump in to see everything that was there. I met some really good people and faculty from a lot of different places and I’m so happy I got the chance to talk to them. SACNAS really opened my eyes to a lot of options and the conference got me pumped for a future in grad school.

 

WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE?

The hotel surprised me the most. I had no idea the place we were staying at with our travel scholarship would be so fancy. It was pretty amazing to stay there and explore, it kind of felt like a mini indoor city. It was also cool to walk down Figueroa street and see a small part of LA.

 

HOW DID THE SACNAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE HELP YOU DEVELOP AS A SCIENTIST?

SACNAS definitely helped boost my confidence and made me feel like a really did belong in the sciences. It made me feel a renewed sense of passion for the sciences. It helped me project where I would like to see myself in the future and led me to start thinking about the kind of research/science I want to pursue. It felt like I was a part of a huge scientific community and it was great! Talking to other undergrads interested in things similar to you from across the country feels awesome!

 

HOW DID THE SACNAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE HELP YOU DEVELOP AS A LEADER IN SCIENCE?

SACNAS presented a lot of STEM field and underrepresented community issues I was not yet aware of. I learned that the strongest leaders embrace their personal backgrounds and infuse it into whatever they do. Great leaders lead despite the obstacles put in front of them and draw strength and guidance from their pasts. I’m really glad I met scientists from backgrounds of color and from the LGBT community.

 

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR FUTURE ATTENDEES?

I would advise future attendees to definitely think beforehand about grad school/places/ things they are thinking of doing after graduating from college to get to most out of the experience.

At SACNAS, there was an exhibition hall, which is a place where exhibitors from grad schools and companies in the STEM fields gather to recruit students for their own grad programs and companies. Due to it’s large size, it is difficult to navigate without having a plan or strategy of choosing which booths to visit during open exhibition time.  So having some idea or direction can be a lot of help to make sure you’re able to hit the grad schools and booths that are high up on your list. It’s important to visit schools that you think you may be interested in working with in the future for grad school. Talking to people at the booths can open up opportunities and forming connections with possible mentors and people that can help you develop your plan for the future. Also, I’d just advise not to be shy and to talk to as many people as you can!

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Definitely recommend to anyone thinking about or considering grad school. Great first conference experience!

 

GUSTAVO GARCIA, Student Presenters

WHAT WAS THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT AT SACNAS?

My most memorable experience at the conference was presenting my research. It was such a great experience being able to present what your passionate about to students and professionals from all around the country. I gained a lot of feedback and many skills in my professional development, for example I understood the importance of networking and integrating certain communicative skills when giving a presentation. I definitely came back a more professionally developed individual.

 

WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE?

I was surprised by the amount of underrepresented students that were there. I didn’t imagine seeing that many students interested in the sciences that come from a similar background as me. There were so many individuals to meet but such little time ,nonetheless, I took the opportunity to network and tried to learn something from everyone I had the chance to meet. In addition, the amount of supportive professionals who were there to cheer on the next generation of scientists, surprised me. Being in such a motivating environment was very inspirational.

 

HOW DID THE SACNAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE HELP YOU DEVELOP AS A SCIENTIST?

SACNAS helped me believe in myself. Being able to speak with individuals who care about your success really motivates you to surpass your own goals. All the professional and leadership workshops helped me understand that I have the qualities to succeed and become the scientist that I have been working so hard to become. I also gained valuable feedback when I presented my research and I took the constructive criticism to help me develop a better presentation. Lastly, I gained a lot of information about many programs that peeked my  interest in what I want to pursue for graduate school.

 

HOW DID THE SACNAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE HELP YOU DEVELOP AS A LEADER IN SCIENCE?

I was able to learn from current and future leaders’ experiences. Throughout leadership workshops there was so much information on how to pursue and develop abilities that are considered to be leadership qualities.

 

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR FUTURE ATTENDEES?

Everyone should apply to go to SACNAS because it is a motivational experience and really helps students gain insights on how to pursue their life dreams of becoming a scientist. Throughout the conference you learn so much about yourself and I believe that alone, is the best outcome of attending SACNAS.  SACNAS helped students see their dreams as reality.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS?

I really want to thank Biology Scholars Program (BSP). Without the support of BSP, I wouldn't have imagined doing phenomenal research and attending a national conference. The Biology Scholars Program and the individuals who run it have given me focus and have heard my cry for help, in turn I have excelled further than I have expected with their unparalleled support. I would also like to thank my mentor Dr. Dawn Chiniquy for her amazing mentorship and the Shauna Somerville Lab for the opportunity to learn in such a great environment.

 

 

Posted by: Katherine Castro, BSP Program Advisor & Career Counselor

 

 

 

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