The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) held their Annual Conference October 10–14, in San Antonio, Texas. The conference attracted more than 4,000 undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The meeting was a SACNAS celebration of 45 years of diversifying STEM and building leaders, an ambitious program that included scientific presentations, professional development sessions, cultural activities, and featured keynotes from prominent leaders in STEM across academia, government, policy, and industry.
To increase the visibility of toxicology, the Society of Toxicology (SOT) was among the exhibitors at this meeting and I assisted by staffing the booth organized by the Committee on Diversity Initiatives (CDI).
Dr. Del Valle, second from left, exhibiting for SOT CDI at the preconference "Community College Day."
A special event on the first day of the conference was the “Community College Day” that was opened to all local community college students. At the SOT booth, we discussed academic and research interests in toxicology with attendees as well as our experiences in the field. Students learned about SOT as a professional and scholarly organization, the different paths in toxicology in a diversity of settings and positions, SOT diversity and component groups, the special programs for undergrads including the benefits of becoming a SOT Undergraduate Student Affiliate for free, the Undergraduate Diversity Program, and how to apply to present their research and participate at the SOT Annual Meeting. Additionally, I mentioned the potential participation of mentors, opportunities to network and interact with toxicologists, and the possibility of earning a Pfizer SOT Undergraduate travel award when presenting at the Annual Meeting. Special mention was made of SOT Regional Chapters as the local contact with toxicologists and free participation at symposia held by Regional Chapters.
These are among the undergraduate students who visited our booth.
Dr. Ofelia Olivero, SOT and Hispanic Organization of Toxicologists (HOT) Special Interest Group member, Past CDI chair, and our speaker at the upcoming Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) meeting in November 2018, was recognized with SACNAS 2018 Distinguished Award for her mentoring excellence.
SACNAS 2018 Distinguished Mentor Award Recipient Dr. Ofelia Olivero
The conference had a record of more than 4,200 attendees of whom almost 40% were undergraduate students. Approximately 56% of these undergraduates were in the Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Health disciplines. The exhibit hall gathered 461 exhibitors from academia (approximately 260), industry, government agencies, and other institutions and laboratories, as well as professional societies. Two-thirds of the undergraduate students visiting the booth were presenting a poster and were invited to present their research at the SOT Annual Meeting. SACNAS meetings are always vibrant with many opportunities for the different minorities represented at SACNAS.