Seven students from California State University, Dominguez Hills presented posters detailing their research during the annual Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference in October at the Los Angeles Convention Center
They were among 25 students who took part in the conference’s four days of scientific research presentations, professional development, networking and exhibits—including 14 Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) and Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) scholars. SACNAS is considered one of the largest annual gatherings of minority scientists in the country.
Physics major Jeff Guevara, a MARC scholar, presented his research, “Growing and Characterizing 2D Silica Bilayers on Graphene Epitaxially Grown on Ruthenium(0001)/Sapphire,” which he conducted through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at Yale University. Guevara said his experience at SACNAS not only honed his presentation skills but allowed him to make connections with individuals who may help him advance his career.
“Going to SACNAS and presenting a poster of my summer research experience in materials science gave me the opportunity to showcase my work in front of the scientific community,” Guevara said. “I received offers from industry and university recruiters who were interested in me and my research. Meeting the faculty from other universities also helped me figure out which schools share my research interests. I also enjoyed reconnecting with faculty and students that I met while I was in the 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program at Yale University.”
Biochemistry major and MBRS scholar Anthony Jones, who was part of the SURF program at CalTech also presented a poster on his summer research, “Split-GFP as a tool for Membrane Protein Expression.”
“I found SACNAS to be a truly rewarding experience,” he said. “I particularly enjoyed the student oriented atmosphere that I have not experienced at other conferences.”
Sociology major and MBRS scholar Ceilique Hathcher, presented the poster “The Anomie of Social Networking: Feelings of Isolation through Social Media” on research she conducted with Katy Pinto, CSUDH professor of sociology.
“Participating in the SACNAS has given me insights on what to expect in my academic goals. I am glad to have met with many different people wanting to advance in their education like I am doing,” she said. “This was a great experience.”
Other MBRS scholars who presented poster presentations at the conference were biochemistry major Cassandra Maddux’s “FTIR Study of Anaplastic Sarcoma of the liver in mice,” on research she conducted with CSUDH assistant professor of chemistry Kenneth Rodriguez, and psychology major Chelsea McElwee’s “Parent-Child Communication and Sexual Behavior in Adulthood,” which she conducted with CSUDH professor of psychology Keisha Paxton.
In addition psychology major Claudia Aguilar presented, “To Catch a Criminal Online: The Relationship Between Narcissim and Delinquent Act Posts on Social Media,” on research she conducted with psychology professor Larry Rosen, and anthropology major Rita Kirkpatrick, who presented “Subsistence Pier Fishing and Food Insecurity in Los Angeles County,” on research conducted with anthropology assistant professor Ana Pitchon.
Other SACNAS attendees included:
Logan Baughman III (MBRS scholar, psychology)
Victor Bell (MBRS scholar, biochemistry)
Juan Cardenas (MBRS scholar, physics)
Hector Carranza (MARC scholar, physics)
Liliana Delaguila (biology)
Elizabeth Grotemeyer (MARC scholar, biochemistry)
Thalia Jimenez (MARC scholar, biology)
Louinellie Matulac (computer technology)
Warren Nanney (MARC scholar, biochemistry)
Liv Nguekap (computer science)
Christopher Orciga (computer technology)
Garrett Poppe (computer science)
Samori Price (computer science)
Andrew Soto (MBRS scholar, psychology)
Setu Taase (computer science)
Erica Tinsley (computer technology)
Louis Varga (computer technology)
Arisdelzy Villanueva (MARC Scholar, biochemistry)
Of his first SACNAS experience Baughman said, “The atmosphere of SACNAS compels you to dig deeper inside the scholar in you to encourage and remind yourself that you have not only what it takes to get to the next level, but to excel in it when you get there.”
For Soto, it was inspiring to see and meet scientists in the field who are like him was a great.
“My experience was…awesome because I met neuroscientists who are first-generation Hispanic descent, which increased my motivation to achieve a Ph. D. in neuroscience, since I am also a first-generation Hispanic individual,” he said.
The students were accompanied by Leonardo Martinez, professor of chemistry and MARC/MBRS program director, Laura Robles, acting vice president of research and funded projects, and Mohsen Beheshti, professor and chair of computer science.