2nd row — Kellyn LaCour-Conant, Ana Maria Porras, & Ahna Skop.
Not pictured: Raychelle Burks, Earyn McGee
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has selected 8 SACNAS members to be part of their IF/THEN Ambassador program, including 3 Lifetime members and Leadership alumni.
“I was in disbelief when I found out,” said Graduate Student Kellyn LaCour-Conant. “I am beyond honored and excited to take part in this opportunity, represent my community, and network with the many amazing STEM professionals and supporters involved with this initiative.”
According to AAAS, IF/THEN Ambassadors were evaluated for their continued contributions to their STEM field, demonstrated experience in STEM communication, and commitment to inspiring middle-school girls to be part of the next generation of STEM.
“We firmly believe that IF we support a woman in STEM, THEN she can change the world,” said Lyda Hill, founder of Lyda Hill Philanthropies which helps support the IF/THEN initiative. “The goal of IF/THEN® is to shift the way our country — and the world — think about women in STEM and this requires changing the narratives about women STEM professionals and improving their visibility.”
Among the 8 SACNAS members who were selected, three participated in SACNAS Leadership Institutes including both the Linton-Poody SACNAS Leadership Institute (LPSLI) and the SACNAS-HHMI Advanced Leadership Institute (ALI).
“I attended LPSLI in 2011 and the leadership plan that I created there has guided my diversity efforts ever since,” described Dr. Lekelia Jenkins, who participated in LPSLI in 2011.
“SACNAS has given me the opportunity to tangibly give back to the community and help support others in achieving their goals by volunteering to review abstracts, travel scholarships, and session proposals,” explained Dr. Ana Maria Porras. “I can’t say for sure whether SACNAS played a role in being selected as an IF/THEN Ambassador but I can say that it has helped increase my confidence in my ability to contribute towards fostering more inclusive STEM spaces.”
This year a total of 125 ambassadors were selected, all of whom will participate in a summit, networking opportunities, and coaching in effective STEM storytelling. They will also be added to a collection of tools used to increase the number of images of real women and girls in STEM.
“This ambassadorship will provide the opportunity for me to pay forward the tremendous assistance, support, and guidance I received as a graduate student majoring in a STEM discipline,” said Dr. Joyonna Gamble-George. “It will allow me to provide a living, breathing example of the STEM career possibilities that young women and minority students can achieve. I truly believe that if we support young women and minorities to pursue and succeed in STEM careers, then today’s research programs will benefit from diversity of thought and experience.”
SACNAS Members Announced as IF/THEN Ambassadors:
|Raychelle Burks, PhD • St. Edward’s University|
|Minerva Cordero, PhD • University of Texas at Arlington, SACNAS Lifetime Member, 2011 LPSLI Alumna, & 2017 Alumna|
|Joyonna Gamble-George, PhD • SciX, LLC|
|Lekelia Jenkins, PhD • Arizona State University, SACNAS Lifetime Member & 2011 LPSLI Alumna|
|Kellyn LaCour-Conant • Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority|
|Earyn McGee, Graduate Student • University of Arizona|
|Ana Maria Porras, PhD • Cornell University|
|Ahna Skop, PhD • University of Wisconsin -Madison, SACNAS Lifetime Member, Past Board Member, & 2017 LPSLI Alumna|