SACNAS at Duquesne dedicated to diversity, equity in STEM

Courtesy of Sara Hernandez. SACNAS members attend events and join other nonprofit organizations in community service work.

Emily Ambery


The message of diversity and inclusion is important at Duquesne, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is no exception.

SACNAS is a national organization dedicated to inclusion, diversity and equity by fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM.

Established in 1973, SACNAS has been working all over the nation to diversify the science work force. Now, with over 115 school and professional chapters, SACNAS’s outreach has grown, and has its own chapter at Duquesne.

SACNAS supports the undergraduate level and beyond by helping college students and professionals in attaining advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership in STEM.

“We wanted to bring their mission of reaching true diversity into the Duquesne campus,” Sara Hernandez, president of the Duquesne chapter of SACNAS, said. “We also wanted to create a space for our members to feel supported and guided throughout their time here in Duquesne.”

The SACNAS organization emphasizes “untapped potential,” and offers opportunities, networks and connections for the Latino and Native American community to build a workforce in STEM that is innovative, powerful and inclusive.

“The end goal is to encourage members to let their voice be heard, as our different backgrounds provide new perspectives and ideas that enhance our desired professional careers and our immediate environment,” Hernandez said.

SACNAS at Duquesne promotes professional and personal growth within the ethnic minorities on campus.

“My favorite thing about SACNAS is the close-knit community we have created,” Mariana Pacheco, community service chair for the Duquesne Chapter of SACNAS, said. “As student minorities, it is comforting to have a sense of belonging on campus while being far away from home. Having a strong support system is important for your career as a student.”

To encourage professional and personal growth, SACNAS at Duquesne offers many cultural events, invites guest speakers and encourages engagement in community service with nonprofits that have similar missions as the club.

SACNAS at Duquesne has also collaborated with the Brother’s Brother organization, where the two organizations worked together to package medical supplies for disaster relief to communities in need.

In previous years, SACNAS at Duquesne has hosted a Salsa Night, where it brings in professional salsa dancers from the Pittsburgh community to teach students the basic steps, and then spend the rest of the night dancing with the students.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, SACNAS at Duquesne has created alternative virtual events, like the Virtual Cooking class with member and cook, Felipe Crespo, where he will be teaching the club how to make a classic Puerto Rican dish: Arroz con Gandules. The event will be held this Saturday, Oct. 17.

SACNAS at Duquesne has worked hard to support and encourage the Latino and Native American community in STEM to achieve their goals.

“SACNAS has provided me with a group of people that strive to perform their best academically and professionally, while motivating others to do their best as well. I truly hope SACNAS continues to grow on campus so everyone can have access to our resources and opportunities,” Pacheco said.

For more information about SACNAS, visit