Fellow Story

UVM SACNAS wins chapter of the year award

Editor’s note: this story originally appeared in UVM News, by Erin Adams.

In November, the University of Vermont chapter of The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) was awarded the 2022 Chapter of the Year Award

SACNAS has served as an inclusive organization for the past 50 years, dedicating its work to fostering success of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans, among other identities, in Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). They foster success for both college students and professionals by advancing scientific degrees, careers and leadership. With nearly 130 student and professional chapters across the United States, SACNAS has helped influence the STEM diversity movement through outreach and advocacy.

In October of this year, The National Diversity in STEM Conference took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The conference featured information booths, webinars, professional networking, events and award ceremonies where the UVM SACNAS chapter was awarded the 2022 Chapter of the Year Award. 

It was incredible,” said former SACNAS president, Natalia Aristizábal. “We had a total of 12 members in Puerto Rico receiving the award."

 Seeing their responses - how grateful they are for this community - and just seeing the impact this chapter has had on other people at UVM has made it all worth it...because it's been a lot of work.

Natalia Aristizábal, 2022 Switzer Fellow

Natalia, the co-founder of the UVM chapter, said that she formed the chapter at the beginning of the summer in 2020 when there was a push for increasing racial diversity and improving racial inequalities nationwide. Originally, there were 10 students involved in the formation of the SACNAS chapter at UVM, but since then, numbers have risen to almost 130 members, including students, faculty, and staff. Paola Peña, the current SACNAS president, stressed that members do not need to identify with the racial labels to join SACNAS and that allies are also encouraged to join. To be part of SACNAS, one just needs to support diversity in STEM.

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