SACNAS Conference

SACNAS is the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. SACNAS promotes the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American students to obtain advanced degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

Kimberly Lopez '23, '27 earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Marine Biology. As a member of the SACNAS student chapter at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, she attended and presented a research poster at the National Diversity in STEM Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico (October 27-29, 2022). Her poster focused on research she has done with Dr. Jose Baca, an electrical engineering assistant professor at TAMU-CC, which centers on astronauts’ performance in space “research has shown that many coordination skills, like attention, motivation, and sensory motor tend to deteriorate in space so what we are doing is we are trying to identify any key indicators of decrements in their performance,” Lopez said. The next stage of this research will consist of collecting data from participants who will be doing a series of movements while wearing a suit with markers for tracking. Using the camera system in the Collaborative Robots and Agents Lab (CORAL), which has VICON motion tracking system and k-invent force sensors, the markers’ position will be tracked in space to look for any key indicators of decrements such as attention, motivation, and motor coordination.

At the conference, Lopez attended workshops, heard motivational speeches, and participated in a one-on-one mentoring workshop with a STEM professional. Through involvement in SACNAS, she learned skills such as how to present a poster and how to communicate a speech with a science audience and with non-science audiences and heard from motivational speakers. She was also involved in community events such as the Big Event at TAMU-CC and beach clean ups.