The SACNAS staff is a group of dedicated individuals passionate about advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science. SACNAS employees work to facilitate and support volunteer-led efforts, carry out staff-led efforts, fundraise, and direct overall operations.
Join the SACNAS Staff Team!
Employment Opportunities at SACNAS:
Antonia Franco, Ed.D
Dr. Antonia O. Franco has served as the Executive Director of SACNAS since April 2014. Prior to SACNAS, Dr. Franco was the Vice President and Program Director - Arizona Transition Years, Student, Family and Community Initiatives for Helios Education Foundation. At Helios, Dr. Franco worked in conjunction with the Foundation's community investment team to identify partnership opportunities and implement the Foundation's strategic investment goals in Arizona. Prior to Helios, Dr. Franco worked at Arizona State University (ASU) advancing access and success for all Arizonans, especially, low income and first - generation students. She served in leadership roles in the University’s K-12 Outreach Initiatives and in Student Affairs – Student Life to support the matriculation, persistence and graduation of students with the engagement of families and communities. Dr. Franco received her Doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College of Education at ASU. Her dissertation research focused on the organizational implementation of a district level education reform effort in an urban high school district setting.
Executive Assistant to Executive Director
Marilú Chávez is Executive Assistant to the Executive Director (ED). She supports the ED in all administrative responsibilities and serves as the contact and support person to the Board of Directors, executive officers, and Council of Senior Advisors. Ms. Chávez graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2001 with a BA in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and has worked with SACNAS for 11 years in a variety of roles such as Student Presentations Manager, Accounting Coordinator and Human Resources Coordinator. Ms. Chávez was originally drawn to work with the organization because of the profound sense of community at SACNAS and she is proud to be part of a movement that is opening paths to science, education, and leadership to Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in STEM.
Robert Barnhill, PhD
Vice President for Science Policy & Strategic Initiatives
SACNAS’ Vice President for Science Policy & Strategic Initiatives, Dr. Robert E. Barnhill evaluates and writes on science policy issues and trends, recommends policy positions to the SACNAS board, represents SACNAS in multiple policy forums, collaborates with SACNAS’ Executive Director and department directors, and supervises SACNAS Science Policy Associates. He has been involved with SACNAS for approximately ten years, and together with his spouse and SACNAS pioneer and former president Dr. Marigold Linton, developed the conference-funding concept of “host institution.” As Vice President since 2009, he helped SACNAS establish its Washington, DC office. Dr. Barnhill received his BA from the University of Kansas and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, both in mathematics, and has had a lengthy career in academia and academic administration, always emphasizing teambuilding and robust collaborations. As an extension of this career focus, his favorite SACNAS activity is mentoring at the Summer Leadership Institute.
Accounting & Office Manager
Ms. Navarro is SACNAS’ Accounting and Office Manager, handling all aspects of invoicing, accounts payable, accounts reconciliation, payroll, internal controls and office procedures. She worked with SACNAS from 2008 until 2010, and after a two year leave from 2010-2012, she is excited to be back in Santa Cruz and working with SACNAS again. Ms. Navarro graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2010 with a BA in both Environmental and Community Studies with an emphasis in Food, Agriculture and Social Justice. For several years she has combined her passion for social change and nonprofit accounting and enjoys working with organizations such as SACNAS which champion educational equity and social justice within our communities.
Ms. Kurzweil is the Director of Communications & Marketing where she leads the development and implementation of the organization’s communications and marketing strategies within the context of the SACNAS strategic plan. Ms. Kurzweil has served SACNAS since 2001 as senior editor, publications manager, interim grant writer, and event production manager. Most recently she played a key role on the SACNAS fundraising team helping raise over $50,000. She earned her BA from the University of Washington with a focus on creative writing and training in oral history. A passionate advocate for social justice and educational/career equity, she is honored to bring her communications skills into the realm of social change. Also an author, Ms. Kurzweil has written the book Fields that Dream: A Journey to the Roots of Our Food (Fulcrum Publishing) and articles for Science Careers, Science, Winds of Change, and Hispanic Outlook on Higher Education.
David W. Moody, MFA
Communications & Marketing Manager
Mr. Moody studied journalism as the field was being reinvented by social media and participatory culture and considers himself a transmedia storyteller. He earned a BA in Journalism at the University of Oregon where his feature writing won a National Hearst Award. He then earned an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media from UC Santa Cruz where he fused social media, filmmaking, ecology, and art to create an experimental documentary film on anthropogenic climate change. Mr. Moody also worked for UPS for nine years, four of them as a Communications Specialist. At SACNAS, he plans to stay on the leading edge of technology and storytelling in support of a mission he greatly values. Having always been troubled by inequity and the cycle of poverty, Mr. Moody feels empowered to be part of a community that demonstrates the transformative capacity of opportunity every day.
Programs and Scientific Professional Advancement
Marina L. Ramon, PhD
Senior Program Manager for Postdoc & Professionals
Marina L. Ramon, PhD, is Senior Program Manager for Postdoc and Professionals and has been a SACNAS member since 2005. She coordinates, manages and develops leadership and professional development programs for SACNAS’ postdoctoral fellows and professional scientists. She earned her PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. As a research scientist she used molecular approaches to investigate fundamental processes in evolution and ecology of marine fishes. Before joining SACNAS, she was a NSF Minority Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southern California. Dr. Ramon has participated in several programs to increase the number of underrepresented minorities and women in science and has mentored students at different stages of their science careers. She continues to be active in biology research and mentoring.
Student Program & Regional Meeting Manager
As the Student Program and Regional Meeting Manager, Mr. Moreno serves the SACNAS community by providing year-round programming to undergraduate and graduate students, overseeing the chapter program, and working with the SACNAS chapter committee to provide high quality programming to chapter members. After attending his first National Conference in 2009, he continued his involvement with SACNAS as the University of California, Santa Cruz Chapter President and thereafter as the Chapter’s National Liaison. In 2011 he earned his BS in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and joined the SACNAS staff. Having witnessed first-hand the support that SACNAS provides to its members, and the impact of that support, both at the National Conference and through year-round programming, Mr. Moreno is proud to promote the SACNAS mission.
Exhibits & Advertising Program Manager
As Exhibits Program Manager, Ms. Danch provides year-round direct service to SACNAS National Conference exhibitors through exhibits event planning, sales, and program development. She joined SACNAS in 2013 and has eight years of experience in the public sector. Ms. Danch holds a BA in Communications and Political Science from Villanova University where she focused on communications as a driver for social system change. Before joining SACNAS, Ms. Danch worked for Clean Ocean Action where she developed and implemented science and policy programs to educate and inspire diverse populations to understand the importance of coastal conservation. Ms. Danch is passionate about empowering the next generation with the necessary knowledge and tools to make a difference in the world we share.
Senior Manager of Sponsorships & Events
As Senior Manager of Sponsorships & Events, Ms. Contreras is responsible for the sponsorship management and event logistics organization-wide and also performs duties associated with the SACNAS National Conference, including registration, travel, and lodging. A native of Santa Cruz, California, Ms. Contreras joined SACNAS in 2004 and has served in various capacities over the years. Throughout her ten year tenure at SACNAS, Ms. Contreras has continually drawn inspiration from stories of perseverance shared by our members. She fully understands the barriers and struggles confronting many underrepresented youth, and is passionate about motivating and supporting students to achieve their educational dreams in the hope that they will give back and make a difference in their communities.
Jessica Macias is the Programs Manager who handles all aspects of student research presentations at the SACNAS National Conference. Involved with SACNAS since 2010, she joined the staff in 2013. Ms. Macias earned her BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Chemistry and participated in a student mentoring program, where she had the opportunity to conduct research in a Biochemistry/Biophysical and Paleo-Oceanography lab. Ms. Macias worked with the STEM Diversity Programs at UCSC as an office assistant and gained experience in program development. As SACNAS staff she assisted multiple program managers with projects involving data entry and organizing the SACNAS Leadership Institute. Ms. Macias is delighted to be part of the SACNAS community to increase diversity and promote higher education in the sciences.
Eben Lindsey, MA
Conference Program Manager
As Conference Program Manager, Eben Lindsey works with the staff and the National Conference Program Committee to develop and deepen the programmatic elements of the SACNAS National conference. Mr. Lindsey holds a Master's Degree in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and has a long-time interest in the intersection of science and policy. Prior to joining SACNAS, Mr. Lindsey worked on policy issues at the Naval Postgraduate School and served on the Secretariat of the Biological Weapons Convention and the United Nations, where he helped organize their annual meetings-including a meeting of national scientific experts--in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Lindsey is excited to be working with SACNAS because he believes in in the importance of a diverse and representative scientific community in the formation of equitable science policy.
American Indian Affairs
David R. Wilson, PhD (Diné)
Director of American Indian Affairs & Policy
As Director of American Indian Affairs and Policy, based in Washington, D.C., Dr. Wilson manages multiple programs, services and outreach related to American Indian programs and initiatives, and works closely with Federal agencies to collaborate and promote opportunities for the SACNAS membership. Dr. Wilson has held this position for two years. He earned a PhD in molecular immunology from Arizona State University. As senior research scientist at the National Institutes of Health, he participated in SACNAS Summer Leadership Institute in 2010, which profoundly impacted his life and career, prompting him to join SACNAS. Dr. Wilson continues to create opportunities and programs to diversify the STEM fields that will lead to a stronger and more economically viable nation.