From small island university to elite national conference


Jocelyn Santiago reads her psychology book while sitting on the beach.

Chaminade University of Honolulu has much to offer its students due to the new efforts of the Office of Health Professions Advising and Undergraduate Research. With the leadership of Pattie Lee-Robinson and Dr. Janet Davidson students like Jocelyn Santiago are guided along the way to achieve their goals of higher learning. Jocelyn Santiago, a senior in her last semester at Chaminade, has always been in her words “persistent” in her academic goals.

“If I want to pursue something I will make it happen,” Santiago said. “I’m a mover and a shaker.” This past June, Santiago applied to the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science 2013. SACNAS, as it is called, states on its official website that the conference “motivates, inspires, and engages participants to achieve their highest goals in pursuing education and careers.”

SACNAS accomplishes this through its participants, like Santiago, presenting a poster and an oral presentation on their research. Another student who will be attending this conference is Annalise Ferreira whose research topic was entitled “How Hawaii’s schools are implementing the comprehensive student support system to assure students are getting what they need.” Ferreira conducted her psychology research with Dr. Fryxell.
Santiago stood out from other applicants across the United States because of her work ethic and exceptional grades, as well as the research she had done at Purdue’s Summer Research Opportunities Program. According to Dr. Davidson these qualities were enough to earn her a recommendation from Dr. Davidson to apply to SACNAS, and also receive a travel grant to San Antonio, Texas where the event takes place.

Once there, on Oct. 3 Santiago will have a full schedule including meetings with representatives of graduate schools, keynote speakers, banquets, and a tour of San Antonio. According to Santiago her journey towards attending this conference was long and tedious.

“To be considered for the travel grant to the SACNAS program I had to come up with a proposal and abstract on my research topic,” Santiago said. “I also had to apply for an official SACNAS membership.” Santiago’s research was in psychology, particularly focusing on ostracism and its effect on people. During the Purdue Summer Program she worked an average of nine hours per day collecting surveys. These surveys generated data for her research, however Santiago had to work hard to gain enough willing participants.

This hard work justified her excitement when on June 30th Santiago checked her e-mail late at night and found her acceptance letter to the SACNAS program.

“When I opened up the e-mail I was screaming out of joy that I got in and that the trip would be paid for,” Santiago said. “I felt so happy because this was my first time applying for SACNAS.” Santiago hopes that her participation in SACNAS will give her a competitive edge to get into graduate schools, and attain research experience. “I want to be able to write down on my resume that I had the experience of presenting at this national conference,” Santiago said. “Your hard work will distinguish you from others so take initiative and have goals in mind.”