HSC Chapter of SACNAS Receives $10,200 Grant for Speaker Series

By Kathryn Lytton

Sacnas Officers Web

When graduate students tell someone they are getting their doctoral degree, many times they are met with the response, “What are you going to do with that?”

To help answer that question, students involved in The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) chapter set out to bring back a career-focused speaker series that had existed a few years back.

The series, called “Career Seminar Series: So, You Got a PhD…What’s Next?”, will invite at least six School of Biomedical Sciences (SBS) alumni with a broad range of industry experience to talk about how they have applied their doctoral degrees in areas outside of academia.

The first event in the series will be hosted on Wednesday, March 16, with Lauren Elolf, PhD, who graduated in 2011 from SBS, as the first speaker. Dr. Elolf is the Director of Commercial Business Development at The Jackson Laboratory in Dallas.

“The funds were not immediately available to support our goal for the series,” said Megan Williams, Vice President of SACNAS and a third-year PhD student in SBS. “One of our advisors pointed us to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. It’s an independent private foundation that provides funding for biomedical research, STEM education and career development.”

“It was the first time our organization applied for a grant,” Williams said. “To create the proposal, we had to come up with a budget by identifying six speakers and the associated costs to bring them in, such as meals, travel and lodging, and we came up with a budget of $10,200. We applied outside of their traditional grant application cycle, so we were awarded an ad hoc grant allowing flexible support for our career and professional development initiative.”

The series aims to accomplish three main objectives – honoring SBS alumni for their accomplishments, providing the graduate student body the opportunity to discover diverse careers that reflect their broad interests, and allowing current SBS students to network with alumni.

The overall goal of SACNAS is to foster the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in STEM fields and support the next generation of STEM talent. While the chapter originally started in SBS, students from all HSC schools are welcome.

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