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 to participate.
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
Staff Liaison – Executive Director, Juan Amador

Members: Pamela Padilla (Immediate Past President), Fabio Milner (Secretary), Martha Dávila-García (Treasurer)

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.

Chair, Immediate Past President - Pamela Padilla
Staff Liaison – Executive Director Juan Amador

Members: Charla Lambert (President), Roberta Pokphanh (Nominations Subcommittee Chair), and Lauren Yowelunh McLester Davis (Native American/Indigenous Affairs Committee Chair).

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 – Roberta Pokphanh & Pamela Padilla
Staff Liaisons, Executive Director, Juan Amador, and Board Liaison – Marilu Chávez

Members: Aaron Velasco, Maria Elena Zavala, Austin Shelton, Martha Davila-Garcia, Healani Chang, and Charla Lambert, SACNAS current President (ex-officio member).

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 – Martha Davila-Garcia, (Board Treasurer)
Staff Liaisons, Executive Director and Deputy Director – Juan Amador and Aidee Farias

Members: David Burgess, Esequiel Barrera, Pamela Padilla, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Austin Shelton, Allyn Kaufmann, Lisa Trevino, and Charla Lambert, SACNAS President (ex-officio member)

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
Staff Liaisons, Executive Director and Deputy Director – Juan Amador and Aidee Farias

Members: Healani Chang (Former Board Member), Esequiel Barrera (Board Member), Ana Vergara (Former Board Member), Dorthea Montoya, Lisa Trevino (Board Member), Pamela Padilla (Immediate SACNAS Past-President), and Charla Lambert, SACNAS President (ex-officio member)

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 – Adan Colon-Carmona, PhD (Board Member)
Staff Liaison, Executive Director - Juan Amador

Members: all the members from the Grants and Development Subcommittee and the 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 (Board Member)

Co-Chair - Jani Ingram, PhD (Board Member)
Staff Liaison, Executive Director - Juan Amador

Members: Dena Smith-Nufio, Kevin Keys, Marc Velasco, Ruben Michael Ceballos, Ivonne Vidal-Pizarro, Natalie Nevarez, Austin Shelton, Pamela Padilla and Charla Lambert

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.

Chair – Fabio Milner, PhD (Board Member)
Co-Chair – Ana Vergara, PhD (Former Board Member)
Staff Liaison, Executive Director - Juan Amador

Members: Stephen Jett, Lisa Trevino, Ariel Vaughn, and Andrea Arias

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
Staff Liaison, Director of Programs – Eben Lindsey, MA

Members: Lauren Yowelunh McLester Davis (Chapters Subcommittee Chair), Kamuela "Wela" Yong (Conference Subcommittee Co-Chair), Ingrid Montes (Conference Subcommittee Co-Chair), Sonia Zárate (Leadership Initiatives Subcommittee), Nazune Menka (Native American Affairs Subcommittee Chair)

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.

Chair – Lauren Yowelunh McLester Davis (Board Member)
Staff Liaison, Associate Director of Member Services - Daniela Bernal

Members: Shaimar Gonzalez, Adan Colon-Carmona, Joseph Hibdon Jr, Jose Antonio Cabrera, Brenda Andrade, Erik Menke, Yadira Perez-Paramo, Brenda Andrade, Chris Cornelius, Alberto Vasquez and Jason Doles

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.

Co-Chair - Ingrid Montes

Co-Chair - Kamuela "Wela" Yong
Staff Liaison, Director of Programs – Eben Lindsey
Members: Nana Ankrah and Maytee Cruz-Aponte


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.

Chair- Kameula "Wela" Yong

Co-Chair - Ingrid Montes

Staff Liaison, Conference and Events Coordinator - Liliane Neubecker


Martha Davila-Garcia, Kevin Keys, Sharon Rivera, Yaihara Fortis-Santiago, Carlos Escalante, Healani Chang and Austin Shelton


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 and 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: Daniel Lujan, Casey Dorr, Jose Vega-Guzman, Gabriel Montaño, and Sam Silva


Community College 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 – Sonia Zárate, PhD
Staff Liaison, Leadership Initiatives Manager – Elizabeth Aguilera

Members: Corey Welch (Former Board Member), Donna Blancero, Clif Poodry, Ric Weibl, Roberta Pokphanh (Board Member), Dena Smith-Nufio (Board Member), Sara Del Valle, and Desiré Whitmore

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, Associate Director, Mission Program and Native Initiatives– Darryl Monteau, EdD

Members: Agnes Attakai, Benjamin Clarke, Katrina Claw, David Burgess, Lee Bitsoi, Casey Dorr, Corey Welch, Kristen Barnett, Mose Hern, Jani Ingram, Maeghan Murie-Mazariegos, and Judith Simcox

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 – Esequiel Barrera, PhD (Board Member)
Staff Liaison, Associate Director of Member Services – Daniela Bernal

Members: John Augusto, Lelemia Irvine, Mayra Pastore, Mary Salcedo, Sam Goodfellow, Ana M. Porras, Luma Melo, and Alberto "Beto" Vasquez.

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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