SACNAS Reflection by Edgar Ibarra (Compass)

I attended the 2017 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM conference for the first time thanks to funding from the Access Network, and I had an amazing experience! I met many graduate school recruiters who were eager to have me in their programs, and they gave me advice in order to be a competitive applicant. All the attention towards me as a graduating senior made me feel special and it boosted my confidence about applying to graduate school. In addition to SACNAS, I attended Día de la Física and found community with physicists from all
over the country! I enjoyed hearing faculty share their research and talk about the amazing physics they study. I especially valued the mentorship workshop we all participated in. It made me reflect on my network from a holistic perspective, and I left with concrete steps to begin improving my mentor relationships.

I met so many new people at SACNAS, as well as reunited with many friends and colleagues. My dinners I spent with either my summer research cohort or with members from Access; we caught up and shared riveting conversation. I appreciated the support and helpful advice about my plans after graduation. I felt less confused about my future, and excited about my prospects. Not only did I return to Berkeley rejuvenated, I came back with three new freshman friends: Vanessa, Jorge, and Francine. SACNAS motivated us all to become more involved in our local site Compass, and I cannot wait to begin organizing with them. Attending SACNAS was an invaluable experience. The inspiration I gained will help me finish strong my final year here at Berkeley. Thank you Access for making this possible!

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