The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is an organization that strives to provide guidance, support, and opportunities to Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists, from college students to professionals seeking advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM. The organization held its annual conference at the Long Beach Convention Center this year and the CCHF hosted a booth along with the other Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI). The national Conference is an exciting opportunity for scientists of all levels, from undergraduate to professorial, from these underrepresented groups to engage with the broader scientific community. The 3.5 day 2016 conference boasted approximately 4000 attendees from the aforementioned groups and their allies and provided myriad activities for all involved to share science and network, including provided lunches and dinners, scientific symposia, informal meet and greet events, and a bustling exhibition hall.
The CCHF collaborated with the other NSF-funded Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI's) to staff an exhibition booth primarily showcasing the undergraduate research opportunities available to SACNAS attendees, including the CCHF's Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and Virtual Institute for C–H Functionalization International Research Experience for Undergraduates (VICHF-IREU). The engagement from the undergraduate visitors to our booth was truly inspiring and we hope to see some of these young scholars in this coming SURP class.
There were interesting panel discussions that covered many topics ranging from negotiation techniques to self-identity and technical talks by the students. In addition, the Exhibitor Hall has a lot to offer in terms of information about career opportunities.
The CCHF sent three representatives to the 2016 SACNAS National Conference, Lloyd Mujanja, Maisha Kamunde, and Julian West, who all assisted with the CCI exhibit in the conference hall. Additionally, these representatives were able to participate in a variety of other events at the conference and forged strong connections with many attendees.
Authors: Maisha Kamunde Devonsih, Julian West