SACNAS Reflection by Francine Gabriela Morales (Compass)

Prior to attending SACNAS I had many doubts on if pursuing a STEM field was still right for me. There is a huge lack of diversity in STEM Majors at UC Berkeley, so it was very easy for me to feel alone and isolated. Being able to attend SACNAS completely turned me around and helped me push the feelings and negative thoughts of Imposter Syndrome out of my head. At SACNAS, I was able to make connections with other undergraduate students, scientists, and even Cal Alum. SACNAS had me step out of my comfort zone and explore fields I had never even heard about. I developed better interpersonal and networking skills as a result of interacting with so many people. Meeting people that have been in my same place and hearing how they not only survived, but thrived at the institutions they attended changed my attitude coming back to Berkeley. Even though I am only a freshman in college, being exposed to so many summer research opportunities was also a huge deal to me. Although it was overwhelming having so much information being thrown at me, I am very excited to apply and start doing research in studies that interest me. I am forever thankful for this experience and forever thankful to Access Network for funding all of it. I know that I would not have been able to attend this conference without Access Network.

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