Not pictured: Selina Baeza Loya, Irma Fernandez, Tavita Garrett, Gloria Hernandez, Fauna Yarza
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has awarded Gilliam Fellowships for Advanced Study to 15 SACNAS members, including 13 students (fellows) and 2 professionals (thesis advisers).
“SACNAS played a huge role in being awarded this fellowship,” said Leslie Mateo, one of the awarded fellows and Stanford University’s SACNAS Chapter Co-President. “The Gilliam Fellowship aims to prepare future scientists for leadership roles, but they also want to see that the recipients have already demonstrated leadership potential. In solidarity with Stanford’s mission value of diversity and inclusion, three graduate students and I decided to reestablish the inactive Stanford SACNAS chapter in 2016.”
Like many members, Leslie gained valuable leadership, organizing, and professional development skills by participating in her local chapter and expressed gratitude to these experiences in securing the fellowship.
“SACNAS was one of the first organizations where I got to explore my identity as a scientist and a Salvadoran immigrant,” added Erick Velasquez, one of the awarded fellows and member of UCLA’s SACNAS Chapter. “I participated in events which really built my confidence as a scientist. The chapter also gave me access to people who helped me network in undergrad, and later helped me apply to graduate school as a DACA student.”
According to the HHMI website, Gilliam Fellows are selected every year as an adviser-student pair who are committed to building inclusive lab environments and helping increase diversity in the next generation of scientists.
“SACNAS has played a huge role in the way that I approach the mentoring of students,” said Dr. Jorge Torres, SACNAS Lifetime member and thesis adviser to Erick Velasquez. “I have learned a great deal about how to understand diverse students, their potential barriers to success, and how to go about eliminating these barriers to promote their success in STEM careers.”
This year a total of 44 recipients were selected, totaling 256 total awardees since the fellowship’s inception in 2016. Recipients will participate in online trainings, in-person workshops, and receive a $50,000 annual award for up to three years.
“This fellowship is especially unique and exciting because of the money that we will receive to improve representation of under-represented minorities in STEM, specifically at the grad school level,” said accepted fellow Sadi Quinones. “There are so many avenues to address this issue, and what’s special is that every fellow that just received this funding has their own reasons and their own experiences that drive how they approach it.”
In addition to supporting research, recruitment, and mentoring efforts at their local institutions, many of the recipients also added that they plan to use part of the funds to attend the SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference in Honolulu this October.
SACNAS Members awarded as Gilliam Fellows:
|Kellianne Alexander • University of Massachusetts Medical School|
|Justin Avila • Vanderbilt University Medical Center|
|Selina Baeza Loya • The University of Chicago|
|Gabriela Bosque Ortiz • Yale School of Medicine, SACNAS Chapter Member|
|Irma Fernandez • Cornell University, SACNAS Chapter Member|
|Tavita Garrett • Oregon Health & Science University|
|Gloria Hernandez • University of California, Los Angeles, SACNAS Chapter Member|
|Natasha Lopes Fischer • University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, SACNAS Chapter Member|
|Leslie Mateo • Stanford University School of Medicine, SACNAS Chapter Member|
|Sadi Quinones • Tufts University|
|Jacob Steenwyk • Vanderbilt University|
|Erick Velasquez • University of California, Los Angeles, SACNAS Chapter Member|
|Fauna Yarza • University of California, San Francisco, SACNAS Chapter Member|
SACNAS Members Awarded as Gilliam Advisers:
|Dr. Chris Dulla (Adviser to Sadi Quinones) • Tufts University|
|Dr. Jorge Torres, Lifetime Member • University of California, Los Angeles|