By: Rocio Vergara Torres
At a very young age Denise Lopez wanted to become a successful engineer. Now she is in her second year of Computer Engineering (ICOM) in the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (UPRM) and she decided to find more opportunities for her future by entering in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
As stated in the official web of SHPE , the objective of this association “is to form a national organization of professional engineers to serve as role models in the Hispanic community.” But why should students choose SHPE?
“SHPE is an organization for students of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in which they can develop their leadership qualities to take them to a better future,” said William Viel, the recruiting director of SHPE and a student of Industrial Engineering (ININ) in UPRM. That is why the theme of the organization is “Engineering for success.”
The amphitheater S-113 was cold and quiet; approximately 20 people were there in attendance at the third meeting (SHPE) which took place on October 20, 2011. That day, Denise arrived earlier than usual to attend the meeting and to get informed about the activities to be done in the rest of the semester.
In the meeting, the members basically talked about the future activities for the rest of semester. Some of the activities are the SHPE Conference 2011, the Christmas Gift, the initiation and many others.
‘The Christmas Gift’ is an excellent opportunity to share with kids in need and to show the leader inside you. This gift is basically a shoe box with toys, personal articles, among others that are going to be sent to a poor kid. Just a simple shoe box with some details can make a child smile.
According to Viel, “SHPE activities are based in 5 areas: professional, academic, leadership, intern chapter and community service. Each activity should have at least one of these areas.” Each area emphasizes an aspect of how to become a successful professional a successful. One of the most important aspects of these areas is community service because it is needed more than the academic side in order to be a professional.
In the meeting, the organizers were encouraging the members, especially the new ones, to get involved in the activities so they can benefit themselves more with the events. At this university level, students need to get involved in so many things as they can because these opportunities are unique. Also, those opportunities, which are as simple as becoming a member of an association, can open many doors in a future.
They mentioned that SHPE has two important conferences through the year. Those conferences are recommended to any student that wants to expand their knowledge and get prepared for the professional area.
First, is the National SHPE Conference. This year, it is going to be in California. This conference is the best opportunity to network with companies and obtain internships or full time jobs. “The National Conference is the biggest conference for Hispanics in United States. More than 200 companies attend to the career fair looking for Hispanic talent,” according to the web of SHPE.
The other one is Eastern Technical Leadership Conference (ETLC). This is the opportunity for the new leaders of the chapter to increase their leadership abilities and network with the leaders of the region. Puerto Rico is part of the Region 4. ETLC is going to take place the next semester in Puerto Rico. SHPE-UPRM encourages members to participate of this experience, get new knowledge and meet other members of SHPE from other states of the United States.
“When I entered to SHPE, I was looking up for an association that fulfills my expectations and will help me in my future. Also, I wanted an association where I can meet students that are interested in the same areas that I am interested in,” said Denise. Also, she said that she likes to be a SHPE member because the activities that SHPE do can take her to become a better professional.
At the end, William Viel said “SHPE is emphasized for STEM students but everyone can take advantage of it. I recommend it for any student that wants to be well prepared for his or her future.”