Graduate student group honored for professional development efforts

The national Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) has recognized the UT Southwestern chapter with the 2017 SACNAS Role Model Award for Outstanding Professional Development.

UT Southwestern’s SACNAS chapter, comprised of 38 students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ Division of Basic Science, were honored Oct. 19 at the national meeting of the organization in Salt Lake City.

The award recognizes the chapter’s effort to host eight professional development events that drew more than 650 attendees in 2016-17. Six of the events focused on UTSW graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, while two targeted area high school students interested in science. At each seminar, the power of diversity in advancing biomedical research was emphasized.

“We have seen a clear benefit of the leadership and professional development of our students by the SACNAS chapter efforts: 18 of our current 38 Hispanic and American Indian students have been awarded prestigious fellowships,” said Dr. Nancy Street, Associate Dean, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Graduate School.

For 40 years, SACNAS has been dedicated to making certain that populations underrepresented in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – have the support necessary needed to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership.

Nationwide, UTSW is one of five chapters receiving an award. The SACNAS honors promote the sharing of best practices across the entire network of the organization.

 “Our chapter awards recognize STEM students who are emerging as leaders at SACNAS and their universities,” said Dr. Antonia O. Franco, Executive Director of SACNAS. “With 115 SACNAS student chapters nationwide, chapter members carry out much of the grassroots work in the movement to diversify STEM in the United States. Our chapter members are changing the face of science in communities every day.”

On their respective campuses, SACNAS chapters develop programming that focuses on community service, networking, professional development, and scientific engagement.