(March 7, 2013) -- UTSA administrators, faculty and students recently welcomed representatives from the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) to the Main Campus.
The visit comes as the national organization, serving a community of more than 23,000 at 1,000 institutions nationwide, looks forward to celebrating its 40th anniversary at its annual conference Oct. 3-6 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. The theme of this year's conference is "Strengthening the Nation through Diversity, Innovation and Leadership in STEM."
UTSA Provost John Frederick complimented the organization on a longstanding relationship with UTSA that has included several College of Sciences faculty among its members.
Biology professor Luis Haro is a former president of the organization and enjoyed mentoring Hispanic and Native American students to introduce them to the scientific pipeline and provide them with exposure to more research opportunities.
"When I first started with SACNAS, we had about 200 attendees at our conferences; now we average almost 4,000," said Haro. "We have really expanded through our partnerships with the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and other federal departments and entities."
A society of scientists, SACNAS is dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists -- from college students to professionals -- to attain advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership.
George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences, said the October conference will be beneficial to the diverse San Antonio community.
"This really addresses a bigger issue in our community -- to have a broader array of educational opportunities in the technical fields, said Perry. "Most of the high-paying jobs of the future are going to have a technical foundation in either science, engineering or related fields. One of the critical issues for the development in San Antonio is to not be a low labor point, but a destination for a labor force that has broad skills in a variety of different areas."
SACNAS President Maggie Werner-Washburne said the organization has a great deal of experience with mentoring and has different approaches that they think can help empower students to be become strong and self motivated.
SACNAS and its members have won numerous national awards for mentoring including the White House Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) and the National Science Board Public Service Award.
Werner-Washburne also spoke about the value of and importance of diversity. "When people really honor who they are and where they come from, they bring their experiences and their creativity to the table," she said. "That is when diversity can lead to innovation."
The SACNAS 40th Anniversary Conference will be an economic boon for the Alamo City with several thousand visitors expected to attend the three-day event.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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