National Committees


For SACNAS to effectively and efficiently carry out its mission, it is necessary to have a streamlined committee structure that allows the engagement and input of the board, members, and volunteer experts. Committees help organize the work while allowing enough flexibility so the organization can adapt quickly to the changing demands of the environment.

There are five main functions that committees serve:

  1. Divide up the work of the organization
  2. Utilize the specific talents and knowledge of board members and volunteers
  3. Make recommendations to the Board of Directors via the Chair
  4. Convey high-level Board decisions to the Staff Liaison via the Chair
  5. Communicate regularly with the Board via written reports twice each year

Expectations of Service

Committee Chairs can expect to contribute 12 – 15 hours annually.
General committee, subcommittee, advisory groups, and task force members can expect to contribute 10 – 12 hours annually.

Most committees meet every other month via video conference call. Each meeting lasts approximately 1 hour.
Additional meetings (phone or virtual) may be required to attend to other committee business.

Must be a Professional or Postdoc to participate. Preference will be given to SACNAS members.
Sign-Up to Serve on a SACNAS Committee

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Standing Committee?

Standing Committees are established on a permanent basis. These committees strategize and analyze issues within their areas of focus and make recommendations. A standing committee also monitors and evaluates the performance of the whole organization in relation to its responsibility.

A standing committee is chaired by a board member and is composed of the chairs of its corresponding subcommittees. A standing committee may have additional members, as needed and appointed.

What is a Subcommittee?

A Subcommittee is tasked to strategize around targeted issues or campaigns that work in sync with the larger committee to which it reports. A subcommittee makes recommendations to the committee through the subcommittee chair, who is a member of the standing or general committee.

A subcommittee is chaired by a either a board member or volunteer/member and is composed of other members, volunteers, and experts, as needed and appointed.

What is a Task Force/Ad Hoc Committee?

A Task Force or Ad Hoc Committee is a temporary grouping of volunteers for the purpose of solving an issue and/or accomplishing a defined objective. A task force is not permanent and has a defined start and end date (e.g. 4 months). A task force, or its members, may always be reinstated if future relating objectives need to be accomplished.

What is an Advisory Council or Group?

An Advisory Council or Group provides strategic guidance to advance priorities, initiatives, projects, or services by bringing unique knowledge, helping gain new insights, and maximizing past and current experiences.

Which Committee, Subcommittee, Task Force/Ad Hoc, or Advisory is right for me?

Take a moment to read the descriptions below and then submit interest around which committee, subcommittee, task force/ad hoc, or advisory aligns best with your skill sets, expertise, and passion. Use the Sign-Up to Serve Link above.

Standing Committees and Subcommittees

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee plans the work of the board. The committee approves board meeting agendas and other guidelines for board actions. This committee also provides guidance for the organization between board meetings. When necessary, the Executive Committee assumes broader functions and makes key policy decisions and acts on behalf of the board and/or organization. The Executive Committee reports its actions to Board of Directors.

The Executive Committee is composed of the board officers, as specified by the bylaws. Members of the executive committee are limited to the President, Immediate Past President, President-Elect, Treasurer, and Secretary.


Chair, Board President – Charla Lambert
President-Elect – Healani Chang
Treasurer – Austin Shelton
Secretary – Dena Smith-Nufio
Staff Liaison – Executive Director, Juan Amador

Governance Committee

The Governance Committee oversees the identification, recruitment, orientation, training, and retention of board members. The committee oversees and evaluates general board governance. This committee looks for opportunities to strengthen and evolve the board’s effectiveness, build capacity, diversify composition, and enhance the ability to lead the organization into the future.

President-Elect – Healani Change
Staff Liaison – Executive Director Juan Amador
NAIAC Chair/Liason – Yowelunh (Lauren) McLester-Davis

Board Nominations Subcommittee

The Board Nominations Subcommittee is composed of past SACNAS board members, founders, and/or elders. This subcommittee is charged with identifying and recruiting the next class of top-tier STEM leaders to serve on the board of directors. This subcommittee is charge with the develop of the slate of candidates and presentation to the board of directors for review and approval.

Co-Chairs – Healani Chang & Pamela Padilla
President – Charla Lambert
Former President – Maria Elena Zavala
Board Member – Austin Shelton
Board Member – Martha Davila-Garcia
Staff Liaisons – Executive Director, Juan Amador & Board Liaison, Marilu Chávez

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is led by the board treasurer to oversee the budget process, monitor and report on the financial status and activities of the agency, ensure the financial policies and practices are followed, and oversee investments.

Chair – Austin Shelton, (Board Treasurer)
Previous Chair – Martha Davila-Garcia
Founder – Lydia Villa-Komaroff
Former Board of Directors Member – Allyn Kaufmann
Board Member – Lisa Treviño
Former Board Member – Monica Basco
NAIAC Representative – Ben Clarke
President-Elect – Healani Chang
President – Charla Lambert (ex-officio)
Staff Liaisons – Executive Director, Juan Amador & Deputy Director, Aidee Farias

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee provides accountability for the organization’s independent audit. The committee is not involved in the nonprofit’s daily accounting functions, but instead oversees the independent audit process which often entails hiring and evaluating the independent auditor(s). Where applicable, the audit committee may also be accountable to make sure that recommendations made by the auditor (e.g. statements that appear in the auditor’s letter to management) are implemented.

Chair, External CPA – Henry O. Hernandez
Former Board Member – Healani Chang
Financial Expert – Dorthea Montoya
Board Member – Romie Morales
President – Charla Lambert (ex-officio)
Staff Liaisons – Executive Director, Juan Amador (ex-officio) & Deputy Director, Aidee Farias (ex-officio)

External Relations Committee

The External Relations Committee provides expertise and insight, around fundraising, marketing, communication, branding, and government relations to staff. The committee takes an active lead on raising funds, amplifying our national voice/branding, and evaluating legislation and policy (internal and external) all in relation to the organization’s mission, goals, and strategic plan.

Chair – Dena Smith-Nufio
Chapters Subcommittee Co-Chairs – Adán Colón-Carmona, PhD & Ingrid Montes
NAIAC – Desire Whitmore
NAIAC Representative – Casey Dorr
Staff Liaison – Eben Lindsey (ex-offcio)

*Includes all members of the Grants and Development Subcommittee, Government and Industry Relations, and Public Policy Subcommittee.

Grants and Development Subcommittee

The Development Subcommittee works closely with staff to create and implement the resource development plan that will help guide organizational activities in seeking out and securing funding from diverse sources. This subcommittee also takes an active lead in cultivating new relationships, stewarding existing relationships, asking for money, and strategizing ways to increase existing revenue streams and create new revenue streams (e.g. annual campaign, earned revenue, planned giving, etc.)

Chair – Adan Colón-Carmona, PhD (NSF+NIH WG)
Co-Chair – Jani Ingram, PhD (NSF WG)
Treasurer – Martha Davila-Garcia (Board Member)

Staff Liaison – Desiree Salazar

Members: Kevin Keys, Marc Velasco, Ruben Michael Ceballos, Ivonne Vidal Pizarro, Natalie Nevarez, Charla Lambert (President), Lee Bitsoi (Board Member)

Government and Industry Relations and Public Policy Subcommittee

The Government Relations Subcommittee works closely with the Executive Director on monitoring key legislation that could have positive or adverse effects on the organization’s ability to carry it its mission. This committee also advises the board of directors on which legislative and/or policy positions the organization should take. This committee takes an active role in cultivating and stewarding relationships with politicians and key political staffers at the federal and state levels.

Members: Fabio Milner , Ana Vergara, Stephen Jett, Ariel Vaughn, Andrea Arias

Staff Liaison – Executive Director, Juan Amador

Programs Committee

The Programs Committee is composed of STEM leader across all sectors. The committee provides expertise around cultural competency, and program development, provides insight on cross-sector programming, and takes an active lead in helping cultivate and steward relationships with programmatic partners.

Chair – Dena Smith-Nufio, PhD
Chapters Subcommittee Chair – Adán Colón-Carmona, PhD
Conference Subcommittee Co-Chair – Ingrid Montes
NAIAC – Desire Whitmore
NAIAC Representative – Casey Dorr
Staff Liaison – Director of Programs, Eben Lindsey, MA (ex-officio)

Chapters Subcommittee

The Chapters Subcommittee provides strategy, advice, and support to staff around year around chapter programs, including but not limited to chapter applications, chapter reviews, awards, and best practices/trainings, and chapter activities at the annual conference. This subcommittee will make recommendations to staff on which chapter applications should be approved for provisional status (first year). This subcommittee will make recommendations to the Board of Directors through the Programs Committee Chair on chapter applications that the board should consider for full approval.

Co-Chairs – Adán Colón-Carmona, PhD & Lauren Yowelunh McLester Davis
Staff Liaison – Angel Rebollar (ex-officio) & Daniela Bernal (ex-officio)

Lorissa Saiz (Board Member), Shannon Manuelito (Board Member), Joseph E. Hibdon, Jr., PhD, Jose Antonio Cabrera, PhD, Erik Menke, PhD, Brenda Andrade, Alberto Vasquez (Board Member), Jason Doles
Albert Hinman

Conference Subcommittee

The Conference Subcommittee of the Programs Committee provides strategy, advice, and support to staff around the development of the annual conference. Its work is organized into four working groups.


Chair – Ingrid Montes
Staff Liaison – Director of Programs, Eben Lindsey


Conference Program Working Group

The conference Program working group of the Conference Subcommittee provides strategy, advice, and support to staff around the conference program including but not limited to the conference agenda, recruitment and vetting of high-level speakers, symposia, and professional development breakout sessions.

Marther Davila-Garcia, Kevin Keys, Robert Dearth, Carlos Escalante, Diana Azurdia (Former Board Member), Nazune Menka (Former Board Member), Steven Semken, Kermin Joel Martínez-Hernández, Lee Bitsoi (Board Member), Romie Morales (Board Member), Efrain Rodriguez

Staff Liaison – Conference and Events Coordinator, Liliane Neubecker (ex-officio)


Student Presentations Working Group

The Student Presentations working group of the Conference Subcommittee provides strategy, advice, and support to staff around on the student presentations program (graduate and undergraduate). It outreaches and ascertains potential reviewers for student presentation abstracts and potential judges for evaluating student presentations, and it also advises on the rubric and criteria for scoring student presentations.

Chair – Nana Ankrah
Staff Liaison – Student Programs Manager, Emily Pavlik

Members: Rosa Leon Zayas, Alfredo Picado, Jorge Ramos, Shaimar Gonzalez, Elda Rueda, Jennifer Valdivia Espino, Patricia Silveyra


Distinguished Awards Working Group

The Distinguished Awards working group of the Conference Subcommittee provides advice and counsel on the scope, requirements, and rubric for selecting SACNAS Distinguished Awardees. It outreaches to the community to obtain nominations in each award category and uses their expertise as scientists, STEM leaders, and SACNAS members to review and score nomination packages.

Chair – Maytee Cruz-Aponte
Staff Liaison – Associate Director of Member Services, Daniela Bernal

Members: Casey Dorr (NAAC), Jose Vega-Guzman, Sam Silva, Ralph Gomez, Gabriel Montaño,  Kelly Rose (Former President)


Community College Day Working Group (not active)

Leadership Initiatives Subcommittee

The Leadership Initiatives Subcommittee provides advice and support to staff around the current leadership initiatives (Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute, Executive Leadership Institute, Chapter Leadership Institute (Chapter Officers Leadership Academy)), and the development of future leadership initiatives. This subcommittee also outreaches to the community for applications to participate in the institutes: uses their expertise as scientists/STEM professionals and SACNAS community members to review and score application packages; and as required, suggests speakers, mentors and other individuals to assist in the execution of the leadership initiatives.

Chair – Desire Whitmore
Staff Liaison – Leadership Initiatives Manager, Elizabeth Aguilera

Members: Dena Smith-Nufio, Sara Del Valle, Lee Bitsoi, Elena Hernadez-Ramon, Jason Doles, Stephen Jett,

Native American/Indigenous Affairs Committee

The Native American/Indigenous Affairs Committee provides strategy, advice, and support to staff around the creation of programs and initiatives specifically for native and indigenous populations (e.g. Native American, Native Alaskan, Native Pacific Islanders) and native programming. Additionally, this committee serves in an advisory capacity to SACNAS around cultural competency and relevance in regard to native communities. This committee also outreaches to help cultivate new relationships with native communities, native owned businesses, Tribal colleges, etc. to develop new partnerships and revenue.

Chair – Lauren Yowelunh McLester Davis (Board Member)
Staff Liaison – Mission Program and Native Initiatives Associate Director, Darryl Monteau, EdD

Members: Agnes Attakai, Benjamin Clarke, Lee Bitsoi, Casey Dorr, Kristen Barnett, Mose Hern, Jani Ingram, Maeghan Murie-Mazariegos, Judith Simcox, Lorissa Saiz (Student Board Member)

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee provides strategy, advice, and support to staff around aspects of membership, including new member acquisition, existing member retention, and education. This committee is charged with helping SACNAS grow its membership based. This committee also evaluates membership benefits and any potential changes to the membership model to make official recommendations to the Board of Directors.

Chair – Elena Hernandez-Ramon 
Staff Liaison – Associate Director of Member Services, Daniela Bernal

Members: Esequiel (Zeke) Barrera, PhD (Previous Chair), John Augusto, Lelemia Irvine, Mayra Pastore, Mary Salcedo, Sam Goodfellow, Luma Melo, Mario Bañuleos, Maeghan Murie-Mazariegos (NIAIC Representative

Advisory Council or Group

Council of Senior Advisors (COSA)

The Council of Senior Advisors is a select group of SACNAS founders, elders, past board members, and leaders that provide strategy, counsel, and advice to the board of directors and executive director based on their history and institutional knowledge.

Chair, Immediate Past President - Pamela Padilla, PhD

Co-Chair, SACNAS President - Charla Lambert, PhD
Staff Liaison, Executive Director – Juan Amador

Members: Lino Gonzalez, David Burgess, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Maria Elena Zavala, Gabriel Montano, Maggie Werner-Washburne, Clif Poodry and Marigold Linton

Conference Advisory Group (CAG)

The Conference Advisory Group is a group of SACNAS members who are local to the conference site who provide advice and guidance to the SACNAS staff in relation to planning the conference in that area. The CAG can connect SACNAS with potential partners, the city, local leaders and cultural groups, as well as provide cultural advice.

Chair – Local Market Leader

Co-chair – Local Market Leader

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