Web Site Review: SACNAS

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is an advocacy organization that helps underrepresented minority students attain professional positions in research and academia. SACNAS has established programs to mentor college students and spur interest among K-12 level students in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. In addition, summer research opportunities and internship and job placement resources continue to prepare young minority scientists to enter their respective fields.

The SACNAS Web site (http://www.sacnas.org) serves as a communications hub for SACNAS members and beneficiaries. The site's straightforward navigation makes its abundant content easily accessible to users. Information about SACNAS members, events, and programs is available online and is free to the public (see box). SACNAS members receive reduced conference fees, biweekly E-nouncements (providing timely information about job, grant, internship, and fellowship opportunities), voting rights in SACNAS administrative elections, the "SACNAS News," and access to member home pages.

Annual Conference and Teacher Support

Details about the SACNAS National Conference and K-12 Teacher Workshops are located on a separate but internal site. The SACNAS National Conference is a forum that allows science students, professionals, and educators from all levels to gather together to share research, discuss the accomplishments and challenges of minorities in science, network with mentors and colleagues, and receive access to educational and career opportunities. Exhibitors from higher education to private industry may reserve booths at the conference to meet and recruit students and professionals for internships, graduate schools, fellowship programs, and postdoctoral positions. Speakers discuss research, career building, and issues relevant to minority researchers during professional development sessions.

The SACNAS K-12 Education Program is a national, multilateral effort designed to ensure that elementary, middle, and high school students from traditionally underrepresented minority backgrounds receive superior educational opportunities and have role models who will provide the encouragement needed to pursue careers in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. The SACNAS K-12 Teacher Workshops take place at the society's annual national conference, and the SACNAS Teacher-Scientist Partnerships Initiative connects K-12 teachers with scientists by means of the Internet.

The "SACNAS News," the society's triannual newsletter, is available as a PDF and explores the concerns of minority scientists, celebrates the achievements and contributions of members, and provides resources for academic and professional development. It is located in the "About SACNAS" section along with information about the organization's history, mission, board of directors, and bylaws. Past and future conference dates and locations are also provided along with a link to the conference site. In addition, the site contains a link to a Web page dedicated to Frank Dukepoo, one of the founders of SACNAS.

The "Student Programs" section contains academic and career resources, including information about internships, graduate programs, scholarships, fellowships, and conferences. Browsers may view member Web pages, become a member, or start a new SACNAS student chapter. "Postdocs and Beyond" contains informative articles and provides important employment links for postdocs and junior professionals. "Career Advancement" lists current job postings with position descriptions. The "SACNAS Biography Project" is an educational resource for K-12 teachers. It provides profiles of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans with Ph.D.s and is written for middle or high school students. The profiles are arranged in alphabetical order by academic field and ethnicity. There is also a separate section devoted to women in science.

The SACNAS site contains a wealth of information about the organization. This thoroughness helps users, especially novices. However, some of the sections and the information contained within them overlap unnecessarily and may confuse users. This already excellent site would benefit from a more uniform layout, such as the excellent design of the conference section.

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