Marco Leon | Staff Writer

SACNAS, which stands for The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, is largest multicultural and multidisciplinary STEM diversity organization in the country is. Each year SACNAS organizes the National Diversity in STEM Conference. This year the conference will be hosted by Hawai‘i at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. This will be the first time SACNAS has selected Hawai‘i as its host state.

The 3-day conference will be held from Thursday to Saturday. More than 4,000 STEM professionals, scientists, engineers, and college students are expected to be in attendance.

The conference aims to expose underrepresented college-level minorities in STEM to trailblazing scientific research presented in poster sessions and live talks, which students can apply to participate.

Four Kapiʻolani Community College, students will be presenting their research in the poster session this year.

Keanu Rochette-Yu Tsuen will be presenting his work, “Testing the Protective Effects of Naupaka Kahakai Juice (Scaevola taccada) on Saccharomyces cerevisiae Against UV Radiation.” The purpose of this research was to determine whether Nauapaka juice protected the yeast from ultra violet radiation. Sheri Marzan is presenting “Designing a Water Meter to Track Water Consumption in Real Time to Visualize Water Usage” in an effort to conserve water by gathering water consumption data. Jaynine Parico will be presenting an “Application of Geographic Information System (GIS) Data in an Augmented-Reality Sandbox to Illustrate and Map the Maunalua Bay Watershed.” The goal of her project is to simulate rainfall flow paths and locate watershed basins and prevent pollution to Maunalua Bay. Alden Fernandez, an engineering student, will be presenting his work on “Designing 3D-Printed Models of Geographic Locations to Use with the AR Sandbox.” Fernandez’s work will demonstrate real-world effects on Hawaiʻi’s Maunalua watershed.

Instructors Mike Ross and Aaron Hanai will attending to support their students. Other faculty members like John Berestecky and Carin Tamayo will be attending as well.

A Graduate School & Career Expo Hall will also be available for students to network and explore options with graduate school recruiters. Multicultural celebrations include a Día De Los Muertos Ofrenda (Day of the Dead Altar) and a Pow Wow presented by the University of San Diego.

SACNAS was founded in 1973 and continues to grow year after year. The goal of this organization started on the basis of helping Chicano, Hispanic and Native American students obtain advanced degrees that will lead to careers, leadership roles and equality in the STEM field. The organization is open to Asian-American, African-American, and white students as well.

SACNAS has professional and student chapters across the nation, which provide a local community, support, opportunities in science, leadership, and development for members.

The ʻIlima SACNAS Chapter at the University of Hawai‘i hosts community outreach events, seminars and scientific symposiums throughout the year. The chapter is open to all Oʻahu undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and professionals in STEM. For more information contact the chapter via email at