This year, the National Conference of Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanic and Native Americans (SACNAS), took place at Long Beach Conference Center in Long Beach, Calif., October 13 to 15. SACNAS is one of the most diverse science societies. The Manassas Campus was represented by students and SACNAS Chapter faculty advisor and Professor Sara Mendoza.
The conference was attended by over 4,000 professionals, scientists, graduate and undergraduate students. Representing NOVA were students Angelo Eclavea, Claudia Oviedo, Kevin Mejia and Carlos Aponte and Mendoza. Some of the students were sponsored by SACNAS scholarships, funds from the chapter and Student Life. The conference brought the opportunity for students to attend oral presentations, posters, workshops and even to take a look at job opportunities and internships in different fields of science. Most importantly, students were motivated by the inspirational stories of excellent keynote speakers who shared their experiences.
Aponte, a SACNAS member from NOVA’s Woodbridge Campus, was selected to present a poster at this year’s conference. He was able to conduct research over the summer at Virginia Tech and shared a little bit of his experience.
“I had the opportunity to conduct and present research at a four-year university as a freshman from community college. I was also able to present my research in a large scientific community like SACNAS,” he said. “I received constructive feedback, which encouraged me to keep working on research. This research opportunity was a wonderful experience because I got to apply in-class knowledge to a hands-on project.”
The conference is also an open space for cultural enrichment represented by Pow Wow led by Native Americans of Long Beach land. Oviedo, Manassas chapter vice president, said, “This was an eye opener experience; I met so many people in the professional field who inspired me to strive for higher education. There are so many internships that I learned about that I can’t wait to apply to.”
Information about transferring to four year colleges, internships and graduate school was available. This was also an excellent environment for students to network.