News Release| SACNAS Conference; Cal State L.A.

Cal State L.A. students to show at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science’s annual meeting

Poster sessions put undergraduates on research stage amid experts at conference to advance Chicanos and Native Americans in science

ANAHEIM – A group of students from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) will present their research findings at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) annual conference, which takes place Sept. 30 through Oct. 3 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

With the theme “Science, Technology & Diversity for a Sustainable Future,” the SACNAS conference will be held in conjunction with the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) symposium. The event is expected to attract 4,000 participants.

Consistent with this year’s theme, CSULA chemistry Professor Carlos Gutierrez, who is also the director the University’s Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) programs, has organized a symposium for the conference called, “Human Creativity Through Chemistry.” The symposium brings together eight renowned chemists from across the U.S.

Gutierrez’s symposium will showcase the creative aspects of the discipline and will underscore that it is human ingenuity and innovation that are at the core of building a sustainable future.

Our universe is assembled from atoms into molecules and extended materials. Chemists seek through experimentation and understanding of this reality, and with that, the ability to describe, manipulate and create,” said Gutierrez. “Chemists are and will be at the center of creative efforts to make molecular and material processes efficient, elegant and sustainable.”

With fresh findings in biotechnology, environmental engineering, mathematics, chemistry, psychology and other realms, students and teams from 17 CSU campuses will present 98 posters, some representing multi-institution and multi-nation collaborations. Overall, nearly 1,000 research posters will be presented by university students. Five CSU students will make oral presentations.

CSULA students will present their research findings at the conference’s poster sessions, which help the students prepare for science careers and the rigors of discipline-focused professional conferences. The sessions will be from 3:15 to 5:45 p.m. Friday and from 9 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. The public is invited to the Saturday session and discuss research with the students.

Two CSULA alumni will also speak at the conference; Jose Nuñez was an honors student who conducted undergraduate research with Professor Linda Tunstad before earning his Ph.D. at UCLA. Alejandro Briseño graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from CSULA and completed his master’s degree in chemistry with Professor Feimeng Zhou, before earning his Ph.D. at the University of Washington. Both are rising stars in academic chemistry and material science.

According to Laura Robles, interim dean for the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences at CSU Dominguez Hills, “Dozens, indeed hundreds, of CSU students have the opportunity to participate in this important conference because of a deeply ingrained commitment to research-mentoring among CSU faculty. These teachers know that a student’s ultimate success as a scientist is often rooted in early, strong guidance from professors who clearly care about the student’s future.”

The conference, said Robles, a former member of the SACNAS board of directors, also helps students establish contacts and mentors beyond their own campus by deliberately interspersing the poster presentations among exhibits from major universities, research institutions, and potential employers.

Also at the meeting, CSU faculty will serve on panels addressing a variety of topics, including efforts to produce food with genetically modified crops, biodiversity in the sea, exploring the universe, math in games and puzzles, creativity in chemistry, the convergence of geography and biology, and opportunities for career support. Other CSU professors reviewed the students’ abstracts in biology, chemistry, environmental science and social/behavioral sciences.

Helpful links:

SACNAS 2010 National Conference:

SACNAS news release:

Student abstracts for 2010 conference (8 MB .pdf file):

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