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Padilla elected head of largest STEM diversity organization in the country

Pamela Padilla

Pamela Padilla, UNT associate vice president for research and innovation, was elected president of the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. She will serve a four-year term as president-elect (2020), president (2021-2022) and past-president (2023).

Padilla is the fifth woman to hold the office of president in SACNAS’ 46-year history. Padilla, professor of biological sciences and former associate dean of research and graduate studies for the College of Science, took office Jan. 1.

“The work that directors engage in is critical to achieve true diversity in STEM, meaning that the demographics at all levels and in all STEM sectors better reflects national demographics,” says Sonia Zárate, president of SACNAS. “Changing the face of STEM may be considered hard work, but for SACNISTAS it is actually ‘heart work.’”

Padilla was featured as part of the SACNAS Biography Project in 2019. She recently was featured in a video about her impact mentoring graduate students at UNT. She became involved with SACNAS as an undergraduate student, transitioned to faculty volunteer and was elected to the SACNAS Board of Director member and Treasurer (2016, 2018). Padilla and Andrés Cisneros, professor of chemistry, serve as faculty advisors for the UNT SACNAS Student Chapter.  

“SACNAS was instrumental in my becoming a scientist and professor – I am truly honored to serve the SACNAS membership and in particular the students,” Padilla says.

With more than 6,000 members worldwide, SACNAS is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership in STEM.