By Crystal Boyles
Office of Creative Services

Sergio Marchant, Claudia Holguin, Jose Orellana, Milagro Marroqui, David Esguerra, Tanya Beat (National Chapter Manager), Alfredo Picado, Yenory Hernandez and Adrian Villalta pose after receiving the 2010 Role Model Chapter of the Year award at the SACNAS national conference at Anaheim, Calif.

Clemson’s SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) chapter has a lot to live up to. The past two years, the group has received excellence awards from the national organization for their chapter’s work and community involvement.

In its award announcement letter, the national organization told members that “your example has made the Clemson group an outstanding chapter; one that we will continue to expect great achievements from.”

They are poised to continue that trend as they work with the local community and help encourage students young and old to be engaged in science research and leadership of the highest caliber.

SACNAS members have teamed up with co-adviser Bob Lippert, who is already involved in community outreach to Hispanic populations in Greenville. The group has been doing outreach to local high and middle schools, specifically those with large Hispanic populations.

SACNAS members work to encourage minority students and scientist to advance to the highest level in their chosen field, said chapter president Alfredo Picado, who’s working on his Ph.D. in chemistry.

SACNAS Clemson chapter members talk with students at Berea Middle School in Greenville. A large part of the group’s community outreach occurs in schools with large Hispanic populations.

Clemson’s chapter is composed of mostly graduate students, though undergraduates are welcome to join. Monthly meetings typically have a speaker or academic topic or a seminar to help students prepare for their post-graduation careers.

“These students are going to be doing great things, and they’re going to be pulling each other up,” said co-adviser Alex Feltus.

This year, nine SACNAS Clemson members will be presenting their research at the national conference, which Picado is extremely excited about. Everyone in the group who applied for the travel award, received it — another brag point for this up-and-coming organization.

At the 2010 national conference, in addition to the Clemson chapter’s “Role Model Chapter” recognition, two Clemson students were recognized for their outstanding research (Jose Luis Oreellana, a graduate student in the chemical engineering program for his work on polylactic acid-cellulose nanocrystal composite films; and Claudia Holguin, an entomology graduate student, for her presentation on insect diversity in switchgrass grown for biofuel in South Carolina).

If you have a story you’d like to see appear on the Clemson website, e-mail your idea to writer Crystal Boyles at boyles@clemson.edu.