The 2001 meeting of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) took place in Phoenix, Arizona, September 27-30. The AMS was among the conference sponsors and was one of approximately 160 societies, agencies, institutions and companies that provided information about educational programs, careers, internships and job opportunities in the sciences.
"SACNAS has re-dedicated its efforts to encourage Chicano/Latino and Native American undergraduates to pursue graduate degrees in science, mathematics and engineering. This goal permeates the entire conference. The first night of the conference begins with 'Conversations with Scientists', a SACNAS innovation. Undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals sit around large tables to talk about their careers, the process of applying for graduate school and how to fund these studies. At this latest conference, we had four mathematics tables filled to overflowing. Not only was it gratifying to see so many students at these tables, it is also noteworthy to see so many mathematicians there talking to the students. In particular, the American Mathematical Society sent two representatives to this meeting.
As a member of the AMS, I am pleased to see the AMS talking to these students. This presence will encourage our students to pursue graduate degrees and at the same time it will impress upon them a sense of professionalism. My hope is that the students at these tables will become members of the AMS in the not too distant future." --- William Yslas Velez, President of SACNAS (1994-96)
The Conference began with a number of K-12 Teacher Workshops, and many of those attendees stopped by the AMS booth, where they picked up our 'Guide to Online Resources for High School Students' flyer and a packet of the Mathematical Moments posters. Following the Welcome Reception, all gathered for a Native American Blessing, President Maria Elena Zavala's Welcome Address, and a dynamic keynote address by Eloy Rodriguez (Prof. of Biology and Environmental Science at Cornell University). The SACNAS Annual Meeting Program included addresses, scientific symposia, workshops, poster sessions, exhibits, and also breakfasts, lunches and dinners that offered the opportunity for students and other participants to mingle and hear other keynote speakers.
"As a longtime member of both SACNAS and the AMS, I have been delighted to see the way the two organizations have been working together in recent years toward getting more Latino, Chicano, and Native American students through the educational pipeline that leads to advanced degrees and research careers in mathematics. SACNAS has made an intensive effort to get more grad-school-bound mathematics undergraduates to its national conference, so that the number of such students at the conference has grown from a handful a few years ago to several dozen now. The AMS's active participation in the conference has helped make it a valuable activity for these students, and I know from my own conversations with the students that they are very appreciative of the friendly, personalized career information they receive from AMS personnel at these meetings, and of the interest that the AMS participants take in the students' own work on display at the poster presentations. We look forward to seeing these students back as professional mathematicians at both SACNAS and AMS meetings in years to come, and as leaders in both organizations. The support the AMS has shown for SACNAS's efforts is one of the factors that is going to make this possible." ---Robert Megginson, Prof. of Mathematics, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Undergraduate and graduate student poster presentations (listed below) were incorporated into the exhibit area. It was great to see and hear the mathematics students, nearly all of whom stopped by the AMS booth to request information on resources for undergraduates in mathematics, employment and career services, assistantships and graduate fellowships, Society activities and AMS membership. Several of the students had participated in REUs (Research Experiences for Undergraduates), and hoped to attend the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, January 6-9, 2002. It was also encouraging to see professional mathematicians at SACNAS, interacting with the students at poster presentations, meals, and social events, and sharing their experiences and encouraging the students in their pursuits.
"The SACNAS atmosphere has whetted the students' interest in attending the Joint Mathematics Meetings [January 6-9 in San Diego] so as to have an opportunity to interact with other students who share their interest in the mathematical sciences, to find out about mathematics programs, to discover "what's hot," to learn about options for graduate study and, to hear about career options. The extraordinary student and mentorship focus of the SACNAS meeting has created an interest in opportunities to have a different kind of experience, one that will engage them in experiences that will help them become even more successful in their educational programs and careers. My student participants saw and spoke about the mentoring of younger professors by senior professors, of graduate students and teachers by professors, of undergraduate students by everyone. It was the NSF VIGRE model of "vertical integration" in the flesh." --- Kenneth C. Millett, Prof. of Mathematics, Regional Director, California Alliance for Minority Participation Director, South Coast Community Teaching Fellowship in Mathematics and Science, University of California, Santa Barbara
"SACNAS has become the leading group in the promotion of graduate education in scientific disciplines among minority students. The presence of mathematics activities at the SACNAS annual conference has increased steadily in recent years due largely to the involvement of mathematician SACNAS members and to the support by organizations like the AMS." --- Ricardo Cortez, Asst. Prof. Mathematics Department, Tulane University, New Orleans
Carlos Castillo-Chavez, professor of biometrics at Cornell University, was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Scientist Award by SACNAS. He specializes in mathematical biology, social dynamics and mathematical and statistical approaches to AIDS epidemiology and other epidemic diseases. At Cornell, he is the director of the Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI), which provides research opportunities for minority undergraduate students--several of whom presented posters at this SACNAS meeting. In 1997, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Bill Clinton. Castillo-Chavez also received a Presidential Faculty Fellowship Award in 1992 from then President George Bush, and in 2000 he received the Quality Education for Minorities Network's Giants in Science Award.
The Undergraduate and Graduate Poster Presentations in Mathematics (with the presenter's name listed first) were:
Thanks to Robert Megginson for photographs of the SACNAS meeting.