Thirty members of the ʻIlima Society for the Advancement of Hispanics, Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter at the University of Hawaiʻi recently returned home from the 2014 SACNAS National Conference in Los Angeles, California. The event was a consortium of over 3,500 students and professionals from numerous science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Two UH chapter members won individual awards for their outstanding scientific research presentations—James Murphy (Marine Biology Graduate Student Award, UH Mānoa) and Melanie Keliʻipuleole (Genetics Undergraduate Award, Kapiʻolani Community College).

Dignitaries at the 2014 SACNAS national conference in Los Angeles

Conference keynote presenters included University of California President and former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and highly regarded scientists. Hundreds of graduate school programs and industry employers from across the country came to recruit top prospects in the SACNAS community of 3,500 attendees.

“I am extremely grateful for having the opportunity to attend the 2014 SACNAS National Conference and present my research in marine biology on a national level,” said ʻIlima SACNAS officer Murphy. “SACNAS was also an invaluable platform for me to explore post-graduate faculty, industry and government positions, giving me greater confidence in navigating my passion for research toward a future career.”

Added Diaz, “It was an amazing experience presenting my research at the SACNAS Conference. The endless opportunities shared by graduate schools and industry professionals really offer a bright future for underrepresented students interested in science careers.”

Read the UH Mānoa news release for more.