SACNAS is committed to leveraging the knowledge we have garnered through 40 years of direct service activity to inform and influence public policies and governmental funding that will support the advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in science. It is through this combination of direct service and policy work that SACNAS can have the greatest impact.
Science Policy Defined
Science policy is an area of public policy usually concerned with the funding of science and the regulation of technology produced by scientific research. Science policy is the intersection between scientific research and public policy.
SACNAS’ Science Policy Goals
- increase resources and opportunities that support our mission and goals to advance Chicanos and Native Americans in science
- reduce barriers to accessing already existing resources
- establish practices that support equity of access for Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans and other under-represented minorities
SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2014
- Opinion: Online Learning: An Opportunity For Minority Serving Institutions? - SACNAS News,
- Peer Review as Scientific Community Dialogue - SACNAS News, winter/spring 2014
SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2013
- Diversity Fueling Excellence in Research and Innovation: A Report from the Gender Summit 3, North America - December 2013
- Affirmative Action: Post Fisher v. University of Texas - November 2013
- SACNAS Opposes Government Shutdown - October 2013
- Sequestration: Uncertainty...and Opportunity - summer/fall edition of SACNAS News - July 2013
- Opinion: The Importance of Funding Basic Research - July 2013
- Scratching the Surface: A Report from the Recent Women of Color in Stem Meeting - July 2013
- SACNAS Science Policy Associate Position Trains Future Professionals - June 2013
- Leadership in Action: SACNAS Participates in Council of Scientific Society Presidents Semi-annual meeting - June 2013
- SACNAS Participates in AAAS S&T Policy Forum - June 2013
- SACNAS Appointed to Hispanic Council on Federal Employment - May 2013
- SACNAS Joins CHANGES - March 2013
- Sequestration Revisited - February 2013
- Congressional Committees & Science Policy - winter/spring 2013 edition of SACNAS News
- SACNAS Scientists at the Table: Profiles of Emerging Policy Leaders - winter/spring 2013 edition of SACNAS News
- New Diversity Initiative Presented at NIH - January 2013
SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2012
- Two SACNAS Scientists Serve on NSF Committees - December 2012
- Sequestration and SACNAS - November 2012
- Two SACNAS Women Serve on NIH Committee, Council - September 2012
- Leadership Institute Alumnus Contacts President Obama on Science Policy - July 2012
- Affirmative Action: At the Intersection of Politics & Education - By Patty Talahongva and Ruth Hopkins, summer/fall 2012 edition of SACNAS News
- Disparities in Grant Awards at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - By Dr. Estela Gavosto, summer/fall 2012 edition of SACNAS News
- SACNAS Attends AAAS Science & Technology Forum - By Yándary Zavala, July 2012
- SACNAS President Attends Council of Scientific Society of Presidents (CSSP) Meeting - By Dr. Ernest Márquez, July 2012
- Supporting Underrepresented Minority Males in STEM - by Drs. Robert Barnhill & LeManuel Bitsóí, March 2012
SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2011
- Vision, Confidence, and Science Policy - by Dr. Robert Barnhill, summer/fall 2011 edition of the SACNAS News
SACNAS Policy Articles & Reports 2010
- SACNAS Science Policy Report - by Dr. Robert Barnhill, summer/fall 2010 edition of the SACNAS News
- SACNAS and "Social Entrepreneurship" - by Dr. Robert Barnhill, winter/spring 2010 edition of the SACNAS News
SACNAS Policy Updates & Activities
- Comments on NSF Draft Concept Paper: Comments on the proposed changes by NSF in its Broadening Participation Programs: the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP), the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) and the Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP), July 29, 2010.
SACNAS has collected selected materials as an introduction to key science policy issues related to the Hispanic/Chicano and Native American science community.
Getting Involved in SACNAS Science Policy Activities
There are a couple of current avenues for policy engagement:
- Chapters - The local avenue is to get involved with your local SACNAS chapter (Don’t have one? Start one.). As Tip O’Neill said, "All politics is local."
- Cultivate Your Science Policy Understanding - A more global approach to become knowledgeable about science policy is to read the SACNAS policy updates and columns, especially including the source documents listed with those and, more generally, on the policy website. Join the AAAS and read the science policy e-updates that come with a membership, as well as the AAAS Science magazine when you are offline.
An important issue with SACNAS itself is that we are a community of scientists. Thus we advocate on behalf of science itself, and especially the strength caused by the inclusion of diversity of all kinds in science, but we do not advocate on behalf of political candidates or political issues not directly related to science.
Science policy internships: For students, there are sometimes science intern possibilities at the state or local levels, e.g., with state science consortia and state high-tech business consortia or as the "science person" for your mayor or city council. Your university can help in finding these kinds of opportunities. Another route is through volunteering after learning about local needs in science.
For Scientists Considering a Career in Science Policy
There is no one way to begin a career in science policy. Many scientists complete a PhD and then begin work on Capitol Hill for a committee. However, obtaining work on the Hill is extremely competitive. Most start out with some kind of fellowship, sponsored by a nonprofit organization like SACNAS, AAAS, ACS, etc., and possibly an internship prior to a fellowship.
What is a Career in Science Policy Like?
A science policy career is fast-paced and exciting. The area of science policy is also less crowded than other hot-button policy arenas. However, science and science policy are essential for the nation, and this will become an increasingly important area.
How does/can science policy impact my science education/career, as a science student or science professional?
One word. Funding. At every level. In the US, science policy has typically focused on funding the supply of scientists in the pipeline (funding scholarships, fellowships, postdocs, etc.) and maintenance of science (grants for research).
To be optimally effective in science policy, one must know about postgraduate science itself (at least some). Science policy can’t really be learned from books and writings, it is more of a contact sport. The optimal route is spending a year in a AAAS Science Policy Fellowship or equivalent, perhaps preceded by an internship year, as described above.
Whether you’re a student presenting research & connecting with mentors or a professional giving back to the next generation, membership means taking part in something greater than yourself. With SACNAS, you're part of a community of scientists; you belong.
Contribute to SACNAS
Each year, over $1.5 million in sponsor, grant, and individual donor funding supports SACNAS programs and brings over 800 students to the conference on travel scholarships. Help change the face of science today by making a contribution.
Be a Volunteer
Be a part of the SACNAS community by authoring a SACNAS News article, sitting on a committee, or joining the SACNAS board. Enjoy public speaking? Consider chairing or speaking in a conference session. Want to offer your support, guidance, and feedback? Be a mentor-judge for student presentations in your field. Update volunteer interests in your user profile to get involved.