Luis Javier Sevillano
March 27, 2012
SHPE Enriching Hispanics Lives
The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers also known as SHPE is a national organization of professional engineers whose purpose is to serve as role models in the Hispanic community. It was found in Los Angeles, California, in 1974 by a group of engineers.
The concept that moved them was “networking” which became the key basis for the organization. SHPE enjoys a strong but independent network of professional and student chapters throughout the nation. SHPE has grown from the making of only two chapters in California, to having to divide the United States into 7 regions, so that there could be representation from all the states. Additionally SHPE has three types of chapters, undergraduate, graduate, and professional.
Here on our campus the SHPE-UPRM student chapter was founded 16 years ago, by a student who had previously joined a SHPE chapter while participating in a exchange program in the United States. With hard work, enthusiasm, dedication and passion, this chapter provided a series of opportunities that the national chapter had to offer and help develop the potential we have as minorities to impact the workforce as Hispanic minorities. Fourteen years later, SHPE-UPRM has become the largest and one of most active chapters in Region IV.
Today the initiative and commitment of the members and their understanding of the benefits that their chapter brings are major components of the development and success SHPE-UPRM. Throughout the years their Executive board has been re-organized to meet the demanding needs of this chapter, and to improve their professionalism, leadership and teamwork dynamics. One of the people who has been part of this board for the last 4 years is Manuel Echevaria, who has occupied the positions of Community Outreach Activities Coordinator, External VP, President and this year represents Region IV in SHPE National, as regional Students Representative (RSR). Manuel has been part of the process of providing members with the opportunity to grow professionally and gain the preparation needed to excel in an internship/coop, classes, and/ or their future careers and experiences.
Manuel says that he joined the association because of his strong belief in SHPE’s main principle of “promoting the participation of Hispanics in Engineering and Science fields”. For this reason UPRM’s chapter members include students within all of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields and they develop activities that not only amaze the members but the general community as well. Needless to say for the past five years this chapter’s impact on the university has grown exponentially.
Since 2005, SHPE-UPRM started creating a variety of programs to motivate and guide its members, and many of these former members are still active in this programs to date. A few of this programs which Manuel has been part of for the last five years are: the Big Brother Program (BBP), a freshmen mentoring program established to develop the professional, academic, leadership, and social skills; SHPE Jr. Chapter, a community outreach program which provides activities that develop the leadership skills of high school students while, at the same time, encouraging them to pursue a STEM related field (which Manuel was part of, since one of this chapters was on his high school CROEM); and finally, The Community Adoption Program (CAP), also known today as Community Outreach Program, that he occupied this position in 2009, where SHPE-UPRM started impacting different communities, in need, all over Mayaguez.
Over the years SHPE-UPRM has been recognized nationally. Their chapter received the Blue Chip Award, the Community Outreach Award and the Most Improved Chapter, for the hard work done throughout the years. This past year, this chapter was recognized for being the Most Outstanding Chapter of Region IV in the SHPE Conference 2011, with the participation of 80 members; and also received the President Award for being Largest Chapter of Region IV in the RLDC IV. With each year this chapter creates history by leaving the ordinary behind and following our chapter values of Integrity, Commitment, Leadership, Professionalism and Passion.
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