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After 40 years of quality service to society, SACNAS is committed to deepening our impact by ensuring a rich slate of innovative, year-round programming that will support the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students, professionals, and leaders. SACNAS is the premier organization for information and policy that impacts the educational and career attainment of our target populations while respecting community, science, and culture. 


SACNAS student and professional chapters have grown nationally from 32 in 2007 to 70 in 2012. Chapters provide year-round, local support and leadership development. There are currently two independent chapters in Los Angeles with USC being one. Meet our USC-SACNAS chapter members, and consider becoming on yourself!


Priscilla Antunez

Priscilla is a chemistry graduate research assistant at the University of Southern California pursuing a PhD in Chemistry focusing her research materials for solar cell applications.   She has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and USC Provost Fellowship.   At USC, she taught the Advanced Freshmen Chemistry lab, earning a teaching award.  During her PhD, Priscilla has mentored undergraduates from USC and Cerritos community college; she is currently an officer for the Women in Chemistry Club and the USC-SACNAS Chapter (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in the Sciences)

Wilber Escorcia

I earned my BA and MS in Biology from California State University, Northridge. My graduate thesis work in Dr. Michael Summers' laboratory focused on the role of four response regulator genes in cyanobacterial cellular differentiation. I was admitted to the Molecular and Computational Biology PhD program at the University of Southern California in 2010. I am currently working in Dr. Susan Forsburg's fission yeast laboratory. My doctoral research examines aspects of genome instability during meiosis, which has fundamental implications in human reproductive health.

John Fleming

I am a 4th year graduate student in the Earth Sciences department at USC.  I arrived at USC Fall 2009 after completing a B.A. in Geosciences at Princeton University.  My focus at Princeton was biogeochemistry, so I continued on that track into graduate school where I am currently advised by Dr. William Berelson in the field of geobiology.  My current research interests include the effects of nutrient limitation/addition and photochemical alterations of dissolved organic carbon on marine microbial communities.  I am additionally interested in the effects of temperature and pH on these communities.  Specifically, through studies in San Pedro Basin within the Southern California Bight, I am determining how the aforementioned forcings influence community respiration rates through the use of O2 microsensors.  The far-reaching implications of this work include determining the potential effects of anthropogenic influences on the marine environment e.g. nutrient additions associated with wastewaters and storm waters, decreases in pH, increases in sea-surface temperature, and how projected changes in upwelling rates due to increasing sea-surface temperatures will lead to changes in upwelled nutrients and deep DOC that is exposed to photochemical alteration.

Yadira Ibarra

I am currently a PhD candidate student working with the Geobiology research group at USC. I am from East Los Angeles, CA and completed my undergraduate studies in Geology-Biology at Brown University. The focus of my research is on using freshwater carbonate rocks that form in lakes (like the tufas of Mono Lake) and via springs to try to decipher clues that will tell us about their depositional environment such as what the hydrology, climate, and microecology was like when they were forming. A part of this work is funded by the Geological Society of America. Prior to attending USC, I participated in an REU program at New Mexico Tech and was also a summer student fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Gloria Preza, Ph.D.

Currently, I am at the University of Southern California where I plan on delving into mucosal immunity. I have had prior experience in innate mucosal immunity and antimicrobial peptides, and my goal is to use this knowledge to explore the role of HIV in innate mucosal immunity. My cur-rent project involves characterizing and phenotyping innate immune cells in the rectal mucosa of men who were highly exposed, yet remain HIV negative for so many years. AIDS remains a public health threat and although there have been many advances; many questions at the mucosal barrier remain unclear.

Undergraduate Symposium

Register for the 17th Annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work. 

The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 27th. Once again, here is the link to information about the program

Become a Member!

Chapter Opportunities

WiSE Child Care Grants

WiSE Child Care Grants provide doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members in WiSE-eligible departments with grants of $1400 per semester to subsidize tuition for children enrolled at state certified daycare programs of their choice. WiSE Child Care Grants are awarded on a semester by semester basis and are available for a select number of applicants in good standing who have primary childcare responsibilities for a child in the infant through pre-school age range. Applicants may apply to renew their grant at the end of each semester, but priority will be given to new candidates. All applicants must show proof of dependency, proof of enrollment, and a copy of the facility’s state licensing permit as part of their application. 



Young Researchers Program

Attention all grad students and postdocs! Are you interested in mentoring a local high school student in research for 6 weeks this summer? It only requires part of your time each week and is an extremely valuable experience for the high schoolers. The student would carry out a research project in your lab with your guidance and present it in a poster session at the end of the summer.



2013 SACNAS National Conference:  Strengthening the Nation through Diversity, Innovation & Leadership in STEM.

Several USC entities attended the 2013 SACNAS National Conference. To get an overview and see the highlights, please read Dr. Cynthia Joseph's blog post, as a C-DEBI representative. 

Read more>>



Supporting Diversity in the Sciences

USC Dornsife has started a Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) chapter on campus to promote diversity in all scientific fields.