Kristine M. (Tina) Garza, Ph.D. Named Executive Director of SACNAS

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Kristine M. (Tina) Garza, Ph.D. Named Executive Director of SACNAS

The Board of Directors of the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Kristine M. (Tina) Garza, Ph.D., as Executive Director of the organization, effective July 9, 2012.

Kristine M. (Tina) Garza, Ph.D. Named Executive Director of SACNAS

Kristine M. (Tina) Garza, Ph.D., named Executive Director of SACNAS, the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science

The Board of Directors of the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is pleased to announce the appointment of UVA Microbiology alumna Kristine M. (Tina) Garza, Ph.D., as Executive Director of the organization, effective July 9, 2012. Dr. Garza will be based at the national office in Santa Cruz, California. She succeeds Ms. Judit Camacho, who served as SACNAS’ Executive Director for nine years, and who is leaving the organization to move with her family to Mexico.

In making this announcement, SACNAS president Ernest Márquez, Ph.D. stated, “The SACNAS Board warmly welcomes Tina to her new role as our Executive Director. We have full confidence in Tina’s ability to lead our organization to the next level. As a scientist, a mentor, and a longtime SACNAS member, she brings experience, talent, passion, and drive to the job.

“Tina’s appointment is in a sense the SACNAS mission ‘come full circle,’ in that the mission of SACNAS is to support its members in achieving advanced degrees and in attaining positions of leadership in science. That is exactly what Tina has done, with the support and participation of the SACNAS community. She will continue to be a great role model and a strong leader. We are truly fortunate to have her as our next Executive Director.”

SACNAS is a national nonprofit organization with a 39-year history of fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists, from college students to professionals, to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership and to increase diversity in the scientific workforce and academia. SACNAS serves an ever-increasing community of over 25,000 members, partners and affiliates from diverse disciplines, institutions, ethnic backgrounds, and levels; it hosts chapters at nearly 70 colleges and university campuses throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and brings over 3,600 students, postdoctoral fellows and professional scientists, administrators, and program directors to its national conference every year. The 2012 SACNAS National Conference will be held October 11–14, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.

An immunologist, Dr. Garza holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Virginia, did her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Immunology at the Ontario (Canada) Cancer Institute, and comes to SACNAS from the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), as an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Deputy Director of the Border Biomedical Research Center.

Garza is a third-generation, U.S. born “Chicana,” and an El Paso native. Since childhood she has been intrigued by science. “I love science because science creates knowledge. And I absolutely love working with students,” Garza said. “Throughout my own educational path, I have been exceedingly fortunate to have had the exceptional guidance of dedicated and caring mentors and family. Their personal involvement in my education contributed greatly to my advancement as a scientist. I know, from personal experience, the obstacles a minority student must overcome, and I know of the importance of exceptional mentoring. As a result, I have always wanted to become involved in minority education, with an emphasis on science because of my love of biology.

“I am passionate about SACNAS. I am delighted to serve as SACNAS’ Executive Director, and see this role as a tremendous opportunity to continue to give back, and to give forward, to help young scientists along the way. I possess a long-standing commitment to promoting diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through efforts focused on student learning, training, and mentoring as well as in raising awareness of faculty and administrators of the need for cultural competency. I look forward to working with the SACNAS community to continue to advance the mission of the organization, to strengthen SACNAS’ policy presence, and to support scientists at all stages of their education and careers.”

For further information on SACNAS, please visit sacnas.org.