FRIB participates in SACNAS 2023 National Diversity in STEM Conference

30 October 2023

FRIB participated in the 2023 National Diversity in STEM Conference (NDiSTEM) held 26-28 October in Portland, Oregon. During NDiSTEM’s graduate school and career expo, FRIB showcased its graduate programs and research internship opportunities for undergraduates. Ana Becerril, senior academic specialist for visitor outreach at FRIB, and Pablo Giuliani, research associate at FRIB, represented FRIB at the conference.

Organized annually since 1973 by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos, Hispanics, and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), NDiSTEM is the largest Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) diversity event in the United States. 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.

The conference provided a comprehensive showcase of diversity across STEM disciplines. Plenary sessions, a graduate school and career expo, a poster session, and numerous parallel sessions covering science, professional development, mentoring, and networking were among the multifaceted offerings. Complementing these were cultural and community-building events, underscoring the holistic approach that SACNAS takes toward fostering an inclusive scientific community. This year, more than 6,400 participants attended the conference. Approximately half of the attendees identified as Hispanic, with women constituting around 60 percent of attendees.

“The environment in general was collegial and incentivized plenty of meaningful interactions among participants,” said Becerril. “I am glad I participated in the conference and got some ideas of things we could do at the lab to help us support each other so we can all thrive in our roles.”

The graduate school and career expo featured more than 400 booths from universities, laboratories, government agencies, and private sector entities. The U.S. Department of Energy's booth provided a "scavenger hunt" activity, encouraging participants to visit related booths and fostering a sense of interconnectedness within the STEM community.

NDiSTEM 2023 not only marked the annual gathering but also celebrated the 50th anniversary of SACNAS, highlighting its monumental contributions in fostering a supportive environment for scientists while preserving and celebrating their rich cultural heritage.

"The conference was an awesome experience,” said Giuliani. “It brought together folks from many different places, all doing amazing science and bubbling with ideas on how to make a better community for us all.”

FRIB's involvement in NDiSTEM underscores its commitment to increasing participation in science and technology and fostering an inclusive scientific community where individuals from all backgrounds can thrive and contribute meaningfully to the advancement of STEM fields.