Eight McNair Scholars and one faculty mentor attended the 2018 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference in San Antonio, Texas. From Left to Right: Yelixza Avila, Olivia Enriquez, Dominic Carrillo, Juan Mora, Kaylee Plowman, Anissa Garcia, Itzel Soto, Noheli Gutierrez, Dr. Alicia Trotman.
SACNAS is an organization that promotes diversity in STEM disciplines. Their annual conference is a place of openness, in which every person is welcome to be exactly who they are. From recognition of National Coming Out Day on Thursday, October 11 to two days of student research presentations to the Native American Pow Wow on Friday, October 12 to the Pachanga! on Satuday, October 13 – all were welcome at the 2018 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference.
The Sul Ross McNair Scholars Program sent eight scholars and one faculty mentor to this year’s Diversity in STEM Conference. When the students returned from the conference this Sunday, October 14, they were asked to reflect on their experience.
The main thing I am taking away from SACNAS is that who we are matters. We are allowed to have feelings and emotions, and those influence the science we do and our story matters. – Yelixza Avila
It doesn’t matter where people are from or what they identify with, when we are able to come together as one, for the greater good and advancement of science, big changes can happen in the world. – Anissa Garcia
SACNAS has created a platform where everyone is perfect and brilliant in their own unique way. – Noheli Gutierrez
Perhaps the thought that stuck with me most is that scientists solve problems because problems can be solved. However, predicaments cannot be solved, they are obstacles that must be overcome. Coming from a low income household cannot be “solved,” it is a predicament that is worked around. Being a minority cannot be “solved,” it is a definite state that doesn’t change. As most of us at the conference were low income minority students, we listened to speakers that were able to overcome their predicaments to solve much bigger problems in the state, country, and even the world. – Olivia Enriquez
I loved that I actually got to talk to a person instead of going through a website. I discovered schools I hadn’t heard about. I feel more confident about presenting my research and knowing that I am able to follow a lot of the presenters. Testing my knowledge by seeing and hearing the others research gave me the confidence to pursue a NP/PhD. – Juan Mora
SACNAS made me realize that I am capable of achieving more than what I already have, and being a woman in a male dominated career path shouldn’t discourage or alter my belief in myself. Because I am adept in STEM where women like me have been told “no” continuously. – Kaylee Plowman
The SACNAS conference made me realize there are a lot of us minorities in the STEM fields. It made me feel empowered and I realized success in a STEM field is possible for anyone. – Itzel Soto
Next year’s SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference will be October 31 – November 2, 2019 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
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