SACNAS is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM.



There is one question that drives everything we do at SACNAS: What will it take to achieve true diversity
in the STEM fields? When we say true diversity, we’re talking about the creation of a robust, diverse, and competitive domestic STEM workforce, including leadership positions, that reflects the demographics of the U.S. population. Seeking the answer to that big question led to the development of our five-year (2016 – 2021) strategic plan with five key goals:
SACNAS 1-5 Goals

This last fiscal year, we began to dive into these goals as an organization and as a community. This annual report is an illustration of our accomplishments and the momentum we’re gaining toward achieving true diversity. For regular updates on our progress, view our “True Diversity Updates” on our YouTube channel.




Nothing captivates a group of 4,000 SACNISTAs like the discovery of ripples in the fabric of space and time. When LIGO Scientific Collaboration spokesperson Dr. Gabriela González took the stage at 2016 SACNAS – The National Diversity in STEM Conference, you could hear a pin drop.

The audience was rapt as she described the tango of black holes and the detection of gravitational waves first predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916. Even more thrilling was the fact that several SACNISTAs were at the heart of this groundbreaking moment in science. González’s lecture was representative of major scientific contributions made by SACNAS scientists nationwide.


Dr. Dorn Carranza saw a problem in his industry. Multimillion-dollar programs that support students, engineers, and scientists in becoming innovators and entrepreneurs showed little or no participation from underrepresented minority communities. To address this problem and learn to leverage participation from government, higher education, and industry, Carranza participated in the SACNAS-HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) Advanced Leadership Institute.

With his new skills and connections, he’s now working on initiatives that address the awareness gap so underrepresented minority students in STEM can take advantage of resources and opportunities on their campuses and join the innovation economy.

Dorn Carranza

“Developing an entrepreneurial mindset and understanding of how to participate in the innovation economy will be critical for SACNISTAs to become competitive and to make a significant impact on society.”
– Dorn Carranza, PhD, MBA, Director of Innovation & Industrial Partnerships at VentureWell

SACNAS Chapters at Philadelphia Science Festival


SACNAS chapters create visibility and support for aspiring and emerging minority scientists across the country. Student and professional chapters serve as a source of motivation, professional development, community, and leadership as members further their education and careers. We welcomed 35 new SACNAS chapters in 2017!

The SACNAS chapter at the University of Pennsylvania had two standout events this past year: hosting Dr. Alison Gammie for a lecture on the benefits of diversifying the scientific research workforce and teaching the community about epigenetics using hands-on models and games at the annual Philadelphia Science Festival.

“It’s very easy to feel isolated as an underrepresented student at a big institution such as Penn. Creating a strong community through our chapter ultimately leads to greater retention of underrepresented students at our institution.”
– Kevin M. Alicea-Torres, PhD candidate, SACNAS University of Pennsylvania Chapter president



On April 22, 2017, over 1 million people participated in the March for Science in Washington, D.C. and 600 satellite marches worldwide. SACNAS members were an important and visible presence, representing the vision for true diversity in STEM.

Dr. Lydia Villa-Komaroff, a founding member of SACNAS, was named national co-chair of the March for Science. Dr. Villa-Komaroff is a prominent molecular biologist who was part of a diverse team showing that insulin could be made from bacteria. She was joined on the national stage by Dr. Mary Jo Ondrechen (Mohawk), Life Member of SACNAS and Professor of Chemistry at Northeastern University.

Lydia and Mary Jo

“We shortchange our future when we do not provide sufficient public support for scientific research. Mr. President, members of the House and Senate! Reverse this trend! Support science! Invest in our future!”
– Lydia Villa-Komaroff, PhD, founding SACNAS member, Founder and Principal Intersections SBD

Narrissa Spies and Sylvia Earl


Ask Narrissa Spies (Native Hawaiian) how she got the chance to present at the United Nations or give a talk at the Explorer’s Club alongside her heroes Sylvia Earle and Nainoa Thompson, and she’ll tell you it started with a trip to the White House. In 2015, Narrissa and her colleagues from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa won the Chapter of the Year Award and got to meet President Obama’s chief scientific advisor, John Holdren. The meeting opened her eyes to how science policy could help confront issues facing her community.

In 2016, Narrissa returned to Washington, D.C. to advocate for the expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea marine sanctuary, meeting with the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Two weeks after her visit, President Obama announced his intention to expand the sanctuary.

Now, more than ever, I feel a sense of urgency regarding science in my community. Being involved in science policy makes me feel that the work I do can actually make a difference, and that I can leave a positive legacy behind that will benefit future generations.”
– Narrissa P. Spies,PhD candidate, University of Hawaii at Mānoa Biology Dept, pictured here with world-renowned marine biologist, Sylvia Earle


I volunteer for both selfish and culturally relevant reasons,” says Dr. Corey Welch (Northern Cheyenne), program director for the STEM Scholars Program at Iowa State University and secretary of the SACNAS Board of Directors. In addition to countless volunteer hours, Welch served as a trainer at the Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute. “It makes me happy to help others, to share what I know, and eliminate barriers to individuals. More importantly, to knock down the institutional barriers. Culturally, we are communal peoples and it is a responsibility and honor to serve your family and your community.”

Without the nearly 7,000 volunteer hours contributed every year, our work would not be possible. Volunteers mentor students and young professionals, review abstracts and travel scholarship applications, share their stories through our STEM + Culture Chronicle, and sustain the impact of SACNAS programs.

SACNAS Volunteers meeting | Photo by: Stephen Waldron/AAAS

– In addition to countless volunteer hours, Corey Welch, PhD, served as a trainer at the Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute.


2016 SACNAS: The National Diversity in STEM Conference

Attendees icon 4,120 Attendees
Numbers Presentations 1,045 Student research presentations
Numbers Judges 200 Student presentation judges
Numbers Awards 92 Student presentation awards
Numbers Travel Scholarship 686 Travel scholarshiprecipients
Presenter took group selfie at the SACNAS conference

Teresa Ramirez, PhD, after her speech “Straight Outta Compton to an Ivy league School” to students
at 2016 SACNAS: The National Diversity in STEM Conference

Linton Poodry

2016 Linton–Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute

With our Linton–Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute (LPSLI), SACNAS has trained a cohort of 30 PhD-level scientists each year since 2009, creating the largest cohort of emerging STEM leaders of color in the country. As of 2017, we have 269 graduates of the LPSLI.

Elena E. Hernandez Ramon, PhD, Director of Pre-Medical Programs in the Office of Intramural Training and Education at the National Institutes of Health (NIH,) with her mentor, Joseph E. Garcia, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Western Washington University, LPLSI Advisor

SACNAS Chapters

Student chapters give back to our communities through mentorship, building peer networks, creating professional development opportunities, and supporting each other in STEM research. Being a part of a chapter helps members feel connected to a strong community, where they can find support to overcome the barriers many underrepresented minorities face.

115+ Chapters

SACNAS Chapters posting with signs


Fiscal Year 2016 – 2017 Revenue & Support

horizontal line

Listed by type

Government Grants




Conference Sponsorships


Conference Registration


Conference Exhibition


Conference Advertising


Dues and Memberships


Underwriting and Other Income


In-Kind Revenue


Interest and Dividend Income


Net Assets Released From Restrictions

Total Expenses $4,464,391

Fiscal Year 2016 – 2017 Expenses

horizontal line

Listed by type

Program Services





Total Expenses $4,325,908