The ʻIlima Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter at the University of Hawaiʻi and its members were big winners at the 2015 SACNAS National Conference held October 29–31 in Washington, D.C.
Hawaiʻi science students and professors received an Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award, Distinguished Mentor Award and three Best Student Presentation Awards.
Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award
Representing their Outstanding Chapter of the Year, UH graduate students Narrissa Spies and Austin Shelton visited the White House and met with John Holdren, assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Spies, a graduate student at UH Mānoa’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory, said the experience opened her eyes to “new opportunities, and I am now considering an internship, and how my experiences in Hawaiʻi can shape national science policy.”
One of 115 SACNAS chapters nationwide, the local ʻIlima Chapter hosts community outreach events, seminars and scientific symposia throughout the year. The chapter is open to all Oʻahu undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and professionals in STEM. There are more than 50 ʻIlima Chapter members from UH Mānoa, UH West Oʻahu, Kapiʻolani Community College, Honolulu Community College and Chaminade University of Honolulu.
Distinguished Mentor Award
Healani Chang, ʻIlima SACNAS chapter advisor and a research specialist at the Pacific Biosciences Research Center of UH Mānoa, was awarded the Distinguished Mentor Award for her dedication to the mentorship and professional advancement of the students and community of Hawaiʻi.
Best Student Presentation Awards
Three chapter members won individual awards for their outstanding scientific research presentations.
- Narrissa Spies—Graduate Student Award in Biological Sciences, UH Mānoa
- Kimberly Kahaleua—Undergraduate Student Presentation in Biology, Kapiʻolani Community College
- Nalani Kito-Ho—Undergraduate Student Presentation in Animal Sciences, UH Mānoa
Chapter members also had the opportunity to meet with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono. They discussed the importance of diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce.
More than 3,200 students and professionals attended the conference. SACNAS is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary STEM diversity organization in the U.S., reaching a community of over 20,000.
Conference travel sponsors included the SACNAS National Organization and the UH Mānoa Student Activity and Program Fee Board.
SACNAS is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary STEM diversity organization in the U.S. reaching a community of nearly 20,000. Representatives from colleges, universities, government agencies and industry across the nation share thousands of opportunities with attendees at each annual conference. The 2016 SACNAS National Conference will take place in Long Beach, California.
To become involved with the ʻIlima Chapter, visit the SACNAS website.