Brandeis hosts the 2019 New England SACNAS Regional Meeting

March 8, 2019

On Saturday, March 23, Brandeis will be hosting the 2019 New England SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) Regional Meeting from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The goal of this organization is to create opportunities for students to pursue the sciences during the academic year, the summer and after individuals have graduated. SACNAS strives to increase the number of Chicanos and Native Americans in the science field and raise awareness towards the lack of opportunities that Chicanos and Native Americans receive in the STEM field.

The SACNAS national organization was created 45 years ago by individuals who were part of the Chicano and Native American civil rights movements and desired to promote the representation of all individuals in the STEM field. In general, SACNAS strives to aid underrepresented individuals, such as Native Americans who have less access to education, economic prosperity and public health. SACNAS hopes to eventually have governmental support in aiding Chicanos and Native Americans in the science field. The National SACNAS has 20,000 members and 110 chapters in colleges across the country. SACNAS strives to achieve these goals by aiding precollege (K-12) and college science education through precollege teacher training workshops, post-doc programs, job placements and many more programs. The SACNAS Regional Meeting will include professional development workshops, research presentations, speakers and dance performances from numerous Brandeis dance teams.

Sabrina Carrero ’19, president of the SACNAS chapter at Brandeis, hopes that after the conference, individuals are more educated on what SACNAS strives to do and desire to become more involved in the club. Carrero describes how during her first year at Brandeis, she participated in many of the SACNAS events and was educated on the various ways in which this organization provides opportunities for Chicanos and Native Americans in the field of science. She initially became an inter-club council representative as a sophomore and then became the president. In the future, she hopes to become a physician’s assistant and eventually aid communities that are in desperate need of medical care. Her aspirations display the positive effects of being involved in SACNAS and the many opportunities that individuals can gain from this organization.

Previous SACNAS events at Brandeis have been mostly academic-based. Events have included a meeting regarding summer opportunities at Brandeis with the help of Professor Anique Oliviera-Mason, a professor in the department of chemistry at MIT, who received her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from Brandeis University. In addition, SACNAS has also hosted a GRE and MCAT workshop with Kaplan to aid students in their preparation for standardized tests. SACNAS has also partnered with the Brandeis Latinx Student Organization and Dr. Sucheta Thekkedam, a clinical psychologist, and hosted a discussion about how suicide rates have risen in the Latinx community and actions that can be taken to stop this rise. Last year, the SACNAS E-board collaborated with Dr. Melissa Kosinski-Collins and hosted an event explaining how to apply for a Travel Scholarship to attend the 2018 SACNAS National Conference for free.

Overall, national leaders of SACNAS believe that “[w]ithout a concerted effort to diversify the amount of students earning and using their degrees in the U.S., America’s competitive edge—and a huge amount of potential—in the STEM fields will be lost.” SACNAS aims to change the STEM field by allowing individuals who may not have the resources or the ability to speak up for themselves to access opportunities.

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