Washington Update

SACNAS Conference Highlights Power of Diversity and Inclusion in STEM

By: Debra L. Bouyer
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) kicked off its week-long National Diversity in STEM Virtual Conference on October 19. SACNAS promotes diversity and inclusion by giving students and early-career faculty from underrepresented backgrounds the tools and resources needed to maximize their talent in their pursuit of a career in STEM. SACNAS is best known for hosting the largest multicultural STEM diversity event in the country, providing participants with full access to motivational speakers, professional development sessions, student research symposia, career expos, networking opportunities, and more.

The program offered a wide range of educational sessions intended to inform and inspire. One session, “Overcoming Obstacles — How to Navigate Your Career and Empower Yourself for Success as Women in STEM,” focused on understanding the struggles and triumphs a successful group of women professionals in biotech faced. Speakers Joselyn Del Cid, PhD, Research Associate II at Genentech; Patty Leon, PhD, Clinical Scientist, PDPO, RWD, at Genentech; Maria Mouchess, PhD, Scientist at 23andMe; and Catherine Velazquez, Associate Director at MyoKardia shared their journey navigating the challenges women of color continue to face in STEM and offered strategies for taking control of your own destiny. Key advice included:

  • Establishing a personal board of directors to grow your support system and help you navigate different facets of your life
  • Not allowing anyone to prevent you from embracing your authentic self; doing so suppresses your talent and what you have to offer
  • Finding innovative ways to make yourself visible to others and, in turn, growing your career