STEM Students Recognized for their Research and Presentation Skills at 2020 SACNAS – The National Diversity in STEM Conference


Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) awarded 102 graduate and undergraduate students for their research and presentation skills at 2020 SACNAS – The National Diversity in STEM Conference during a live-streamed ceremony presented by Huawei USA on Saturday, October 24Out of 930 total presenters during the six day conference, 742 were first-time presenters and 503 are first-generation college students.  

“The SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference partners with institutions by providing a venue where students and professionals are able to enhance their science communication skills. As a multidisciplinary scientific society, the opportunity to present research to a general scientific audience fosters skills needed to not only build public support for science but also ensure that science is accessible to everyone. Through the Presentation Awards, we recognize and celebrate presenters that make STEM accessible and inclusive,” said SACNAS President Dr. Sonia Zárate. 

The Presentation Awards recognize the next generation of scientists and STEM leaders from historically excluded populations, while giving visibility to their research and home institutions. The awards also encourage students to continue pursuing the STEM fields. 

2020 SACNAS – The National Diversity in STEM Conference Presentation Awardees are as follows: 


Chemistry, Physical Chemistry 

Jacob Garcia, Arizona State University  

Chemistry, Organic Chemistry 

Jason Saway, Seton Hall University 

Computer & Information Sciences, Computer & Information Sciences 

Juniper Lovato, University of Vermont

Engineering, Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering 

Erika Davidoff, Rutgers University

Xilal Y. Rima, The Ohio State University

Life Sciences, Biochemistry 

Alfredo Valencia, Harvard University

Dominique Baldwin, Indiana University School of Medicine

Life Sciences, Biology (general) 

Yeraldi Loera, University of California, Los Angeles

Life Sciences, Cancer Biology 

Ashley Velez, University of Michigan

Life Sciences, Cell/Molecular Biology 

Jacqueline Graniel, University of Michigan 

Life Sciences, Ecology/Evolutionary Biology 

Benjamin Ha, University of California, Los Angeles

Colin Howe, Penn State University

Stephany Virrueta Herrera, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Life Sciences, Genetics  

Tomas Lagunas, Washington University in St. Louis

Life Sciences, Marine Sciences 

Angelina N. Zuelow, California State University, Fullerton

Life Sciences, Environmental Science 

Valerie Carranza, University of California, Riverside

Maveric Abella, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine

Life Sciences, Microbiology 

Jacob Steenwyk, Vanderbilt University

Rebecca S. R. Salcedo, San Francisco State University

Sofia Romero, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Life Sciences, Neurosciences 

Lauren McLester-Davis, Tulane University

Life Sciences, Pharmacology 

Anjelica Cardenas, University of California, Irvine

Life Sciences, Plant Sciences/Botany 

Juan Gonzalez, University of Florida

Materials Research, Materials Research 

Enrique Guerrero, University of California, Merced

Mathematics, Mathematical Biology  

Hector Velasco-Perez, Georgia Institute of Technology

Wencel Valega Mackenzie, University of Tennessee Knoxville

Mathematics, Algebra/Number Theory/Combinatorics 

Andrés Vindas Meléndez, University of Kentucky

Physics & Astronomy, Astronomy & Astrophysics  

Belinda Cheeseboro, West Virginia University

STEM Education & Learning 

Patricia Jaimes, Michigan State University

Traditional Knowledge 

Cheri Johnson, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry 

Alondra Moreno, University of California, Riverside 


Daniel Martinez, University of Texas at San Antonio 

Kilinoelani Montgomery, University of Colorado, Denver 

Chemistry, Organic Chemistry 

Madison Thompson, University of California, Davis 

Victoria Lerda, University of California, Merced 

Chemistry, Physical Chemistry 

Estefania Cuevas-Zepeda, University of California, Merced 

Computer & Information Sciences 

Héctor Carrión, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras 

Georgiana Wright, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University 

Engineering, Bioengineering/Biomedical Engineering 

Ada Tadeo, California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo 

Luis Santiago Mille, Division of Engineering Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School 

Jannet Rivera, Mayo Clinic 

Tristan Pepper, The University of Texas at San Antonio 

Engineering, Electrical Engineering 

Menucha Winchell, Los Angeles Valley College 

Engineering, Mechanical Engineering 

Isaiah Cuadras, University of Washington 

Engineering, Other Engineering 

Kyle Skelil, University of California, San Diego 

Geoscience, Earth Science/Geology 

Avery Barnett, Grinnell College 

Lourdes Moreu, University of Texas at El Paso 

Winnie Chu, Harvey Mudd College

Health, Medicine 

Ricardo Canela, University of California, Irvine 

Health, Public Health 

Ilene Cruz, California State University, Northridge 

Meron Firma, University of Washington

Life Sciences, Biochemistry 

Ronnesha Johnson, San Diego State University 

Paulina Rios, University of Texas at El Paso 

Nicole Paz-Bracamonte, California State University, Long Beach 

Life Sciences, Biology 

Valeria Perez, New Mexico State University 

Meryl Ann Mendoza, California State University, Los Angeles 

Maria Alejandra Torres-Colon, University of Puerto Rico at Humacao 

Life Sciences, Cancer Biology 

Christian Doyle, University of New Mexico 

Ann Marie Flusche, University of Tulsa 

Life Sciences, Cell/Molecular Biology 

Cristian Sanlatte, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez 

Adrian Escobar, California State University, Fullerton 

Alyssa Wheeler, Southern Nazarene University 

Amanda Gomez , University of Texas at San Antonio 

Cristela Samaniego, University of California, Davis 

Antonio Torres, University of Central Florida 

Life Sciences, Developmental Biology 

Christian Andino Del Valle, Ana G. Méndez University – Cupey Campus 

Life Sciences, Ecology/Evolutionary Biology 

Alondra Medina, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras 

Juliana Limon, University of California, Santa Cruz 

Alisa Hernandez, California State University, Fullerton 

Nancy Ortega, Texas A&M-San Antonio 
Life Sciences, Environmental Science 

Natalie Vaughn, California State University, Monterey Bay 

Life Sciences, Genetics 

Violet Kimble, Drew University 

Andrew DePass, Quinnipiac University 

Life Sciences, Marine Sciences 

Elyse Bonner, Tuskegee University 

Michael J . Meneses, University of California, Santa Barbara 

Ahmyia Cacapit, University of Guam 

Life Sciences, Microbiology 

Casandra Salinas, Oklahoma State University 

Catarina Bromatti, University of Illinois at Chicago 

Nadia Haghani, University of California, San Diego 

Andrea Perez, Texas Tech University 

Life Sciences, Neurosciences 

Denisse Morales-Rodriguez, University of Chicago 

Rossana Sandoval, Washington University in St. Louis 

Mona Fariborzi, University of California, Irvine 

Meagan Shinn, University of Texas at San Antonio 

Mariana Rocha, Yale University 

Marissa Coppin, University of Texas at San Antonio 

Desiderio Ascencio, University of California Santa Cruz 

Life Sciences, Plant Sciences/Botany 

Madison Lalica, Humboldt State University 

Materials Research 

Dora Ogbonna, University of California, San Diego 

Wyatt Jebef, Santa Barbara City College 

Mathematics, Algebra/Number Theory/Combinatorics 

William Sablan, University of Guam 

Mathematics, Applied Mathematics 

Amanda N. Lee, San Diego State University 

Mathematics, Mathematical Biology 

Vinnie Widjaja, Stanford University 

Physics and Astronomy 

Jea Adams, Amherst College 

Ken Luu, San Diego State University 

Diego Lopez Gutierrez, Macalester College 

Psychology & Social Sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience 

Morgan Montoya, University of California, San Diego 

Psychology & Social Sciences, Psychology/Other 

Zaida Lopez, California State University, Monterey Bay 

Princess Maleeha Chughtai, Northeastern Illinois University 

STEM Education and Learning 

Annalise Guthrie, Kansas University 

Arya Natarajan, University of California, San Diego 

Traditional Knowledge 

Michael Fernandez, University of Guam 

Five graduate students were also recognized for their exemplary poster presentations: 

Life Sciences, Cell/Molecular Biology 

Diane Hernandez, University of Utah 

Kia Z. Perez-Vale, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Life Sciences, Developmental Biology 

Kayla Titialii-Torres, University of Kentucky 

Life Sciences, Neurosciences 

Sara Zarate, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine 

Geoscience, Geology 

Anahi Carrera, University of Southern California 

Click here to download the full 2020 SACNAS conference Student Research Presentation Abstract Book. 

The SACNAS Research Presentation program is supported by the Student Presentation Subcommittee: 

Nana Ankrah, PhD – Member 

Mario Bañuelos, PhD – Member 

Megan Hamilton, PhD Candidate – Member 

Rosa León-Zayas, PhD – Member 

Gabriel Quiñones, PhD – Member 

Evan Reynolds, PhD – Member 

José Vargas-Muñiz, PhD – Chair 

Kateryna Poradiuk – SACNAS Staff 

Click here for more information on the 2020 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference. 

Follow SACNAS on social media and conference updates via #SACNAS2020Facebook • LinkedIn • Twitter • Instagram • YouTube. 


For over 47 years, SACNAS has served as an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanics & Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership within STEM.

Today, the organization serves a growing community of over 28,000 supporters, including 8,200+ members, and 118+ student and professional chapters throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. SACNAS influences the STEM diversity movement through STEM outreach & advocacy, promotion of STEM leaders, and The SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference.  Learn more about SACNAS at, Facebook, or Twitter.


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