“The conference was everything I would have benefited from when I was an undergraduate thinking about a future in research. I hope we can bring that experience to Chapman and Schmid so that our students can feel belonging and supported as they journey through their own future plans in STEM.” 

This past weekend, three Schmid professors and one student participated in the National Diversity in STEM Conference (NDiSTEM) in Portland, Oregon. This year’s conference coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of its organization, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). 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 fields.

The largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the country, NDiSTEM attracted more than 6,000 attendees from across the United States and its territories. 

According to SACNAS, NDiSTEM is “a gathering which serves to equip, empower, and energize participants for their academic and professional paths in STEM.” The conference allows attendees to present their research, network with other scientists, and celebrate their accomplishments.  

Over the course of the three-day event, undergraduate through professional attendees are immersed in cutting-edge STEM research, professional development sessions, motivational keynote speakers, and multicultural celebrations. Additionally, at the Graduate School and Career Expo, Schmid mathematics professors Oliver Lopez and Adrian Vajiac spoke with undergraduate students about the Computational and Data Science graduate program, as well as with graduate students and postdoctoral scholars about faculty positions in the college.  

Schmid professors Dr. Lopez and Dr. Vajiac at NDiSTEM Conference Expo booth.

At the 2023 NDiSTEM conference, mathematics professors Oliver Lopez and Adrian Vajiac promoted Schmid graduate programs at the Graduate School and Career Expo.

“The conference was everything I would have benefited from when I was an undergraduate student thinking about a future in research,” said Lopez. “I hope we can bring that experience to Chapman and Schmid so that our students can feel belonging and supported as they journey through their own future plans in STEM.”

Among the research presentations were two from undergraduate students working under the mentorship of Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy Richelle Tanner. Cintya Felix, a second-year political science and Spanish double major, presented a poster entitled “Búsqueda de babosas marinas: understanding barriers of environmental literacy and climate advocacy within southern California Spanish-speakers.” Ashley Lam, who is a student at UCLA, presented a poster entitled “The impacts of participatory science on environmental literacy and climate advocacy in multilingual communities.” Their research and attendance was funded by the California Sea Grant Pathways to Inclusive Research Training.  

According to Greg Goldsmith, Associate Dean for Research and Development, the conference provides an opportunity for the college to advance its goals in diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“NDiSTEM allows our students to build community amongst students from similar backgrounds, allows our faculty to learn about best practices in creating a more equitable and inclusive environment, and allows the college to attract diverse new talent,” said Goldsmith, who was in attendance as a representative of the Ecological Society of America.