My First SACNAS Conference was a Success

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Contact Info: christa.reynolds@nih.gov

By Amanda Roberts, B.S., M.A. Roberts is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science- Society (SACNAS) is an inclusive organization committed to foster Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in attaining advance degrees, successful careers, and holding leadership positions in STEM field. As an African-American Ph.D student and the Secretary for the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) SACNAS Chapter in Fort Worth, Texas, I had the opportunity to present my visual science research project and volunteered at a mentor judge at the 2018 SACNAS conference which was held in my hometown, San Antonio, Texas on October 10-13th.

I took part in the reception and social mixer that was hosted by National Institute of Health (NIH)- Diversity Program Consortium. The interactive event: Diversifying the Biomedical Scientific “Thinkforce” through Training and Partnerships inspired me to continue my career path in becoming a biomedical scientist. I was honored to be a panel member of the NIH-National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) Meet and Greet reception. Here I shared my positive mentoring experience as an NRMN mentee and answered questions from undergraduates and graduate students who were interested in mentorship. In addition, I spoke at the Biomedical Sciences Networking Session with UNTHSC and informed prospective students about UNTHSC Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS). To gain further networking and career development opportunities, I participated in other seminars, workshops, and receptions at SACNAS.@3AmandaRoberts

Overall I truly enjoyed my first SACNAS conference experience. I increased my professional network, inspired the next group of scientists as mentor judge and as a NRMN panel member. In addition, I learned valuable tools to catalyze my professional development in becoming an independent biomedical research scientist. I am looking forward to the 2019 National Diversity in STEM Conference (SACNAS) in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I also participated in the pre-conference workshop sponsored by the University of Oregon. The “COACh-Professional Skills Training for Minority Graduate Students and Postdocs” workshop was led by Nancy Houfek and Lee Warren, Ph.D. from Stanford University and Harvard University. The hands-on and team-interactive workshop helped me to find my own personal negotiation style to advance my research and career objectives in both group and one-on-one settings.

 

Jonathan Mendez (CEC), Amanda Roberts (UNTHSC), Christa Reynolds (NIH_DPC), Damaris Javier (NRMN) , Nancy Calderon (CEC), Katie Stinson (NRMN), Alexis Short (NRMN)

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The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.