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Awards / Honors

College of Natural Sciences students take top honors at national conference

December 1, 2009

The CSU-SACNAS chapter was awarded the Role Model Chapter of Year at the National SACNAS conference. Each year, the SACNAS Chapter Committee honors a number of chapters for their outstanding level of achievement in public service, mentoring, leadership, and/or community outreach. This is the third year in a row that the CSU-SACNAS chapter has won this coveted award.

This year 15 students along with two advisors from CSU-SACNAS attended the annual conference held in Dallas, Texas. The conference offered a forum for students to network with other scientists and gain exposure to graduate programs and scientific research.

Poster presentation award winners

Two CSU-SACNAS members won the poster presentation awards in their discipline.

Mathematics scholar

Awardee Andreea Luisa Erciulescu is a junior Mathematics major with a concentration in Math Information. Andreea received an award for her undergraduate research in mathematics. 

Erciulescu and her advisor, Alexander Hulpke, worked on an algorithm which solves a puzzle known as Kakuro. Kakuro puzzles are NP-complete (standing for Nondeterministic Polynomial time), a complexity class that is often found in the computational complexity theory.

Upon graduation, Erciulescu plans to get a masters degree in mathematics.

Chemistry whiz

Juan Martinez, a junior chemistry major, won in his discipline. Juan presented his undergraduate research on indigenous natural medicine. He was recognized for his outstanding contribution and research presentation at the conference. 

Martinez and his mentor, Stephen Thompson, chemistry professor and director of the Center for Science, Math, and Technology Education at CSU, have been working with the heartwoods of three trees known for their natural fluorescence and kidney ailments.

After graduating from CSU, Martinez will attend graduate school in natural products chemistry with the intent to go into academia and teach chemistry.


The mission of SACNAS - Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, is to encourage Hispanic/Chicano and Native American students to pursue graduate education and obtain the advanced degrees necessary for science research, leadership, and teaching careers at all levels.

Although the organization’s name speaks to certain populations, people from all ethnic and racial backgrounds who want to work with diverse populations in the sciences are welcome to join SACNAS.

The CSU-SACNAS chapter is the first of its kind to be established in the state of Colorado. The organization receives guidance through a faculty-advisory board which is comprised of professors and administrators from diverse academic backgrounds.

Congrats CSU-SACNAS!

Contact: Rhonda Harley
Phone: (970) 491-1603