SACNAS 2019- The National Diversity in STEM Conference was held October 31 - November 2, 2019 in Honolulu, Hawai'i, at the Hawai’i Convention Center. SACNAS is the “largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the country.” The 2019 event was a 3-day conference which focused on activities to equip, empower, and energize participants for their academic and professional paths in STEM. SACNAS has been around for 45 years, but this was the first time iDigBio as a project has participated. The project sent Jeanette Pirlo, Alnycea Blackwell, and Molly Phillips as representatives. They coordinated the iDigBio outreach display in the SACNAS Exhibit Hall in collaboration with our booth partners the Florida Museum and the University of Florida Biology Department. The exhibit team was blown away by the amount of precollegiate, collegiate, and graduate students in attendance, and found that many of the students were excited to learn about the plethora of “open” biodiversity data sources available through iDigBio and other projects that can be used for independent research and study.
The team was also overwhelmed by the incredible programing at the conference. There are so many professional development opportunities for both students and mentors/allies alike! Not only is this conference an amazing opportunity to engage with students around the country to increase awareness of biodiversity resources, but it is a unique professional development opportunity for iDigBio staff to learn about how to be better allies and mentors. This conference is also an incredible opportunity for iDigBio to learn how to better practice and promote inclusive practices in our collections community.
As soon as SACNAS 2019 concluded, planning for SACNAS 2020 began with hopes of facilitating a biology careers workshop in association with the next meeting in Long Beach, California. Stay tuned!