Fall break weekend usually gives students a little breathing room to take in a movie, catch up on homework, and even venture off for a quick weekend road trip before the temperature begins to drop. However, for a group of SLCC students, a trip to Southern California was a nice mix of both business and pleasure.
From Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 16 SLCC students and a total of 30 college students from colleges across Utah attended the 2010 Society for Advancing Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference held in Anaheim, CA.
SLCC Sophomore Rose Yazzie had been looking forward to the event for months and had a pretty good idea of how her five days would be spent in Orange County.
Yazzie, a Cognitive Psychology major, attended last year’s conference in Dallas, TX and was sure to come to this year’s conference with a plan.
“I had [the conference] mapped out, the [SLCC] group was more efficient this year,” Yazzie said.
SACNAS is an organization committed to the success of underrepresented minorities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The 37-year-old organization promotes the continuing education of its members into graduate and doctorate programs.
SACNAS invites science students, professionals and researchers from all over the country to participate in developmental sessions and workshops over the course of the conference.
Opportunities to network with other students in related disciplines and one-on-one mentoring with professionals advancing in their fields are other benefits for those attending the conference.
Keynote speakers at the SACNAS conference included University of Utah Assistant Professor of Psychology Monica Tsethlikai and NASA Engineer Kobie Boykins of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.
Scientific symposia sessions at the conference ranged from “Exploring the Universe” and “Psychosocial Findings from 600 Native Cancer Survivors”, to “Organic and Inorganic Chemistry” and “Engineers in Sustainability and the Environment,” Attendees were also able to view student research projects.
Exhibitions featured information about internships, fellowships, and on-site opportunities to meet admissions advisors from schools across the US. Yazzie networked and made connections at the conference; she was even able to discuss graduate study programs with a Brown University admissions advisor.
SLCC Academic Advisor Sadie Tsosie said students leave the conference with a better understanding of what major they would like to pursue. Tsosie feels SACNAS helps the self-esteem of some students still trying to navigate their way through their college education.
A few of the workshops geared toward students at the conference included: ‘Applying to Graduate School and the Interview Process’, ‘Create a Winning Resume’, and ‘Getting the Most from Mentoring’.
“It makes students look at the bigger picture to see what they can accomplish in a graduate school program or post doctoral,” Tsosie said.
Next year’s SACNAS National Conference will be held in San Jose, CA. Additional information about the organization can be found on the SACNAS website at sacnas.org or by visiting Sadie Tsosie in the Career and Academic Advising Center at SLCC’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus in the Student Center.