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USGS Expands Presence at SACNAS National Conference

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Margaret Hiza-Redsteer
Above: Margaret Hiza-Redsteer (USGS Flagstaff Science Campus) delivering a luncheon keynote address at the 2011 SACNAS National Conference. Photograph by Maria Montour, USGS. [larger version]

USGS exhibit team and guests.
Above: USGS exhibit team and guests. Left to right: Andrea Llenos, Jeff Keay, Maria Montour, Alicia Torregrosa, Director Marcia McNutt, Monique Fordham, Deb Lowe (back), Alexandra Haldey (front), Orlando Romero, Claudia Flores, Paul Hsieh, Ben Gutierrez, Judit Camacho (SACNAS Director), and Chris Andronicos (SACNAS Board Member, Cornell University). Not pictured: Walter Barnhardt, Tom Brocher, Jim Calzia, Brian Collins, Li Erikson, Eric Geist, Fawn Golden, Keith Knudsen, Jennifer Palguta, Kate Scharer, and Heather Wright. Photograph by Melanie Gárate, University of Massachusetts Boston. [larger version]

For the fifth year running, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) hosted a booth at the National Conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). The 2011 conference, held in San Jose, California, from October 26–30, was the largest SACNAS meeting yet, with an attendance of 4,000 people. Last fall’s meeting also had the largest USGS attendance at SACNAS, with 24 USGS employees attending the meeting over a 3-day period, including Director Marcia McNutt and Federal Employee of the Year Paul Hsieh (see http://soundwaves.usgs.gov/2011/11/awards.html), along with several executives and managers. Members of the USGS team not only served as exhibitors, but also gave invited presentations, participated as judges in student oral- and poster-presentation sessions, and took part in networking sessions.

The USGS was in the conference spotlight when Marcia McNutt introduced the Saturday luncheon keynote speaker, Margaret Hiza-Redsteer (Crow) of the USGS Flagstaff Science Campus in Flagstaff, Arizona (http://arizona.usgs.gov/Flagstaff/). Hiza-Redsteer, who has been active as a student mentor with SACNAS for several years, gave an inspiring account of how she became motivated to pursue a career in science to improve the living conditions on tribal lands by better understanding the environmental damage and climate-change impacts that have affected her family and her people. As a USGS scientist, Hiza-Redsteer leads the Navajo Land Use Planning Project, which is composed of a team of researchers studying relations among climate, geology, and historical land use to understand landscape-change impacts on Navajo communities (see http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/navajo/). This work has led to international collaborations in which Hiza-Redsteer has been able to work with tribal elders to understand landscape changes in locations around the world. Also on the science front, USGS geophysicist Eric Geist gave an invited presentation on USGS tsunami research in a scientific session organized by Aaron Velasco (University of Texas at El Paso, past SACNAS president) to discuss the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011.

The USGS team was able to network with many students and professionals at the meeting. Networking sessions provided students the opportunity to speak with USGS scientists one-on-one to learn more about USGS research and discuss the educational and career paths of USGS scientists. In particular, several current and former USGS Mendenhall Research Fellows (Brian Collins, Li Erikson, Andrea Llenos, Jennifer Palguta, Heather Wright) participated in a networking session on postdoctoral opportunities to provide information to and encourage SACNAS Ph.D. students to apply to the USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program. The Mendenhall representatives also attended additional sessions to discuss education and early career pathways in Earth science and to judge student posters.

Students with USGS connections also attended the meeting. Of the 1,000 student posters, two were presented by students who took part in the Partnership Education Program (PEP), which is partially supported by the USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Alicia Perez (Humboldt State University) presented her work on updating greenhouse-gas estimates for California, which was undertaken with Eric Sundquist and Kate Ackerman (USGS, Woods Hole). Jacob Cravens (Boston College) presented his research examining physiological responses of sea urchins to food abundance and predation, conducted under the direction of Shawn Arellano (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution).

The 2012 SACNAS National Conference will be held October 11–14 in Seattle, Washington. For more information about SACNAS, visit http://sacnas.org/ or contact Ben Gutierrez (bgutierrez@usgs.gov) or Claudia Flores (cflores@usgs.gov).


Related Sound Waves Stories
USGS Scientist Honored with Prestigious Federal Employee of the Year Medal for Role in Ending Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Nov. / Dec. 2011
USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Continues its Presence at the SACNAS National Conference
Jan. / Feb. 2010

Related Web Sites
USGS Flagstaff Science Campus
USGS Navajo Land Use Planning Project (NLUPP)
USGS Mendenhall Research Fellowship Program
SACNAS National Conference

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Mar. / Apr. 2012 Publications

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