SACNAS UCSB Grad Student Chapter

Mission Statement:

SACNAS, the Society for Advancement of Chicanxs and Native Americans in Science, is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of underrepresented minorities in attaining degrees and positions of leadership in STEM. The vision of the SACNAS graduate chapter of UCSB is to provide a community that provides support,  and resources, and opportunities for graduate students in STEM through professional development, and social, and outreach events. 


Community Building:

The SACNAS community at UCSB is made up of people with diverse voices, experiences, and backgrounds. We seek to harbor an inclusive and welcoming multicultural space in which people can come together as their authentic selves. We hold a variety of events to cultivate a social network amongst our peers, some of which include: coffee hours, happy hours, mental health activities, game nights among many more!


Officers of SACNAS Grad Chapter for 2020-2021:

Braulio Castillo: I was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico and did my undergrad in upstate New York where I majored in Biology and French. I am now starting my third year as a PhD student at UCSB in the Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology department studying microbial ecophysiology. I work on microbes in the ocean and salt marshes and enjoy exploring cinema in my free time. I have been a member of SACNAS since I started my PhD and have enjoyed my time helping the group with our workshop last year in Hawaii at SACNAS national as well as our annual wine mixer. Fun fact: My drag name is Dee Dee Dagger (If this is inappropriate then I'll go with"I only like citrusy deserts like key lime pie and lemon bars")

Liliana Sierra Castillo: I was born in Honduras and graduated from the National University of Honduras (UNAH) in 2015, with a Bachelor of Science in aquatic and marine biology. My passion for marine resources management, and more specifically small-scale fisheries management is so great that she decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University. I am currently a second year PhD in Environmental Sciences and Management at the Bren School of Environment where I hope to continue contributing to the knowledge gap in small-scale fisheries in Latin America assessment and management. Fun fact: I cannot ride a bike and I really hate tomatoes! 

Tobias Mazal: I am graduate student in Chemical Engineering in the Michael F. Doherty group, where my research is focused on developing theory and simulations to study crystallization in the presence of impurities. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and climbing, though you may also see me walking around campus playing PokemonGO. I have been involved with the SACNAS graduate chapter since I arrived at UCSB in 2018, and am eager to help it grow during my time here!

Steven Gomez: I am a second-year, first-gen Ph.D. student in the Materials department, where I research exotic magnetic materials for applications in quantum information technologies. Before UCSB, I studied Chemical Engineering at UCLA, and also grew up not too far from Los Angeles in Diamond Bar, CA. Beyond research, I love teaching chemistry, playing and performing music, and cooking. I joined SACNAS Grad shortly after starting at UCSB and it's been the most supportive and friendly community I've found on campus so far. My fun facts are that (a) I am a mariachi and (b) I published a Drake meme in an academic journal.

Lena Capece: Hi! My name is Lena! I am a PhD student in the Raven NOISE Lab in the Department of Earth Science where I study the carbon and sulfur cycling in mangroves and in marshes. Prior to UCSB, I earned my MSc in Geology at UC Davis where my research investigated carbon sequestration in seagrass meadows along the coast of California. When not in the field, lab or classroom; I am either climbing, running, or drinking coffee. 

Jannine Chamorro: I am a PhD student in the Hofmann Lab in the Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology department. My research involves trying to understand how ecologically important marine organisms will cope with global climate change. In my free time I enjoy camping, backpacking, and exploring tide pools!

Roman Aguilera: Hi all! I am a 4th year PhD student in Computer Science in the Dynamic Robotics Lab with Professor Katie Byl. My research is in the intersection of artificial intelligence, robotic manipulation, and legged locomotion. I did my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at UC San Diego. I was born and raised in Santa Maria, California (located just one hour north along highway 101 from UCSB). When I'm not thinking about robots, I like to play basketball, practice tricks on my skateboard, watch anime, and play video games. A fun fact about me: I learned to ride a bike on my first try at the age of 6. In the past, I have been involved with other organizations that seek to promote diversity, such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Hermanas Unidas, and Hermanos Unidos. I look forward to meeting you all and fostering our diverse community in science at UCSB. Do not hesitate to reach out to me about anything! :)

Emmanuel Kayede: I am a PhD student in the Mishra Lab in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. My research is on developing highly efficient Nitrogen-polar GaN HEMTs for use in solid-state millimeter-wave power amplifiers. In my free time, I enjoy climbing, hiking, mountain biking and photography.


  • Voice: 805.893-7472
  • Fax: 805.893-6132


Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-6105