SACNAS Charlotte Chapter President Shares Successes from the National Conference

Friday, January 19, 2024
Caitlin BrabbleRose recaps NDiSTEM and how SACNAS is empowering diversity in STEM

When I was a second-semester graduate student, my Principal Investigator (PI) encouraged me to get involved with an on-campus organization where she was the faculty advisor. This organization – the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) – was relatively new on campus, focusing on promoting diversity in STEM. That semester, I joined SACNAS Charlotte to act as a mentor for their SACNAS Links Mentorship Program. This small step of choosing to become actively involved with a growing student organization has led me to serve as the SACNAS Charlotte Chapter Vice President (2022-23) and the Chapter President (2023-24), where I seek to continue fostering a welcoming environment for our members to grow their careers in STEM, particularly those from underrepresented groups.

Annually, the national SACNAS organization hosts the National Diversity in STEM (NDiSTEM) Conference, the largest STEM diversity event in the country (see for yourself!). I had the privilege of receiving a travel scholarship and presenting my research at the 2022 conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This experience was transformational for me as a graduate student, and I was determined to bring as many of my fellow SACNISTAs (the term for SACNAS members) with me to the 2023 conference. Our university chapter hosted a writing event in the spring for our members to work on their travel scholarship applications and abstracts for the upcoming conference in Portland, Oregon. Acceptance letters rolled out a few months later, and our members received:

  • 7 Travel Scholarships

  • 6 Officer Leadership Scholarships

  • 1 Postdoctoral Leadership Institute Scholarship

  • 12 Abstract Acceptances

…totaling approximately $35,000 in travel funding! These awards covered registration, flights, hotels and leadership training for our officers. Funding for two other members was provided by Charlotte’s ADVANCE Office, and another by the Department of Biological Sciences. In total, 16 SACNAS Charlotte members attended the 2023 conference from October 25-29, 2023.

SACNAS members that participated in the Chapter Officer Leadership October Retreat (COLOR). From left to right: Ruth Wright (Ph.D. Student), Caitlin BrabbleRose (Ph.D. Candidate), Janki Bhalodi (Ph.D. Student), Ashley Choi (Undergraduate Student), Prashant Jha (Undergraduate Student), and Kaitlin Klotz (P.h.D Student). 

At the conference, our members were able to attend a variety of sessions and workshops, ranging from information about graduate school, internships, and postdocs, to applying for government jobs. Along with the sessions, hundreds of booths are available from institutions around the country, ready to provide you with any information that you may need about joining their graduate program or working for their company. On top of it all, many of our members participated in poster presentations and graduate talks to showcase the research that they are conducting as students at Charlotte. 

All attendees of the SACNAS NDiSTEM 2023 Conference. From left to right: Row 1: Kaitlin Klotz (Ph.D. Student), Ruth Wright (Ph.D. Student), Kayli Jablonski (M.S. Student), Andrea Kirk (Ph.D. Candidate), Lena Marcus (Ph.D. Student), Janki Bhalodi (Ph.D. Student), Ashley Choi (Undergraduate Student), Caitlin BrabbleRose (Ph.D. Candidate) Row 2: Maria Wang (M.S. Student), Cline Ortiz (Undergraduate Student), Megan Mitchem (Ph.D. Student), Sydney Birch (Postdoctoral Researcher), Auston Rutledge (Ph.D. Candidate), Alicia Williard (M.S. Student), Prashant Jha (Undergraduate Student), Elizabeth Abedi (Undergraduate Student), Hannah Adam (Graduate Admissions Counselor), and Yvette Huet (Director, ADVANCE Office). 

The few years I have spent as a SACNAS member have been irreplaceable for me as a graduate student and as a scientist. Next year, I hope to help even more of our members attend the 2024 conference. Applications for the SACNAS NDiSTEM 2024 Conference will open in February 2024, and we would love to help even more people apply for travel scholarships to attend. I encourage you to consider becoming a member of SACNAS Charlotte to stay informed about our upcoming events and for reminders about next year’s conference! Additionally, if you decide to apply for the conference, you can book with me as a Doctoral Writing Fellow through the Graduate and Postdoctoral Writing Center, where we can work together on your application materials. For any additional questions you may have about SACNAS, please email me at or SACNAS Charlotte at

Article Written by Caitlin BrabbleRose
Caitlin is a Doctoral Writing Fellow for the Graduate and Postdoctoral Writing Center and is in the Ph.D in Biological Sciences program. She was a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Biological Sciences for five semesters and received the university’s Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award in 2023.

Caitlin completed her B.S. in Biology and B.S. in Environmental Science from North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) in 2018. She worked as a Toxicology Technologist for LabCorp from 2018-2021 and as an Admissions and Advising Coordinator for NCWU from 2020-2021. In 2021, she began pursuing her Ph.D. in Biology at UNC Charlotte, focusing on understanding the molecular internal timekeeping mechanisms of intertidal organisms.



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