Since the chapter at NC State was founded in 1996, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) has been providing resources and opportunities to many Hispanic students on campus in an effort to contribute to minority student success in STEM fields.
The SHPE at NC State is part of a larger national organization that invites companies to speak, leads career workshops, provides mentorships and sends members to regional and national SHPE conferences to gain connections as well as experience in STEM fields.
There are professional and academic development opportunities for all majors and concentrations, whether it be through the national organization or the college chapter.
Axel Flores-Roman, a fourth-year studying industrial engineering and president of the University’s chapter of SHPE, said the chapter uses the pillars of the organization in order to emphasize a core fundamental for members: development.
“We're trying to make sure that people can transition from student to professional as easy and straightforward as possible,” Flores-Roman said. “So bringing in companies from all sorts of industries, also different functions in life, for them to give us all different types of workshops.”
According to Cynthia Rios, a third-year studying electrical and computer engineering and the chapter’s community outreach chairperson, said she enjoys the meetings because of the environment and people.
“It never feels uncomfortable,” Rios said. “We always know it's gonna be a successful event because we have a really good, relaxed environment. So although we're getting work done, we're still having fun.”
The involvement of the chapter goes further than just meetings and events that help students academically and professionally; they are also involved in community service events.
One community in particular that the club wants to help out is its Hispanic and Latinx students who, due to being the minority on a predominantly white campus, are looking for a place to belong.
“We go to a predominantly white university, so naturally, there's that search for community within a lot of minorities on campus,” Rios said. “We offer students a place where they can be surrounded by others from a similar background.”
Armando Rosas, a second-year studying computer science and the webmaster at SHPE, said joining an organization like SHPE not only helps him take steps toward his goals for the future, but also makes him feel welcome in a space where others can relate to him.
“This really allows me to kind of overcome the imposter syndrome that a lot of us students have here at the college and university,” Rosas said. “It really has allowed me to build my skills and public speaking [and] just my overall confidence in how I carry myself. I [also] did not have a resume before joining SHPE. Through SHPE, I was able to build my resume which then translated over to career fairs, as well as applying for internships and things of that nature.”
According to Flores-Roman, an important part of the club is giving Hispanic students the opportunity to come together as a familia.
“It is important just because it's a good source to find a space here on campus, to make sure that you're not alone,” Flores-Roman said.
The club is looking to expand its membership for all students, and they want more people to join their familia.
“It's a great place to be,” Rosas said. “It's a place where everybody wants to be at and really where the Latino and Hispanic community can come together. It's not exclusive to Hispanics, it's not exclusive to just engineering students. However, the community is like no other. It's the place where we all come together, congregate and build each other professionally, as well as building bonds outside of our academics.”
As of right now, there are 250 members receiving the weekly newsletter from the club, but SHPE is looking for more members to join and attend events.
If students are interested in learning more about SHPE, they can go to the NC State SHPE chapter website for more information. The president, Flores-Roman, can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Students can connect with SHPE on Instagram and can also subscribe to the weekly newsletter subscription by reaching out to any of the club’s officers.