Influential club seeks to recruit engineers

SHPE serves as base for STEM awareness

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

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After a successful first year on campus, the Society of Hispanic Professionals Engineers (SHPE) plans to remain one of the most active clubs, expanding its outreach and influence while improving the academic goals of its members.
Founded in the mid-70s in Los Angeles by a group of city engineers, its aim was to form a national organization of professional engineers to serve as role models to the Hispanic community.
Since then, the group has changed lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential through science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) awareness.
Its vision is a world where Hispanics are recognized for the influential scientists and innovators that so many of them are.
After only one year on campus, SHPE is already one of the more active clubs on campus.
“Last year, (former President) Valeria Avila organized a lot of college seminars and resume building workshops with SHPE chapters from other universities,” current SHPE President Alejandro Romero said. “She got so much done, but we have a lot of things planned for this year.”
Other clubs on campus are still in limbo. Some have yet to solidify leadership positions or hold any meetings.
Romero is already working with other clubs to hold STEM Day workshops to assist physics, chemistry and computer science students.
SHPE also continues to raise money to send members to the SHPE national conference, held this year at Oregon State University.
“At the Inter-Club Council (ICC) meetings I try to encourage smaller clubs to collaborate with the more active clubs on campus,” Student Life Coordinator Erika Greene said. “Some clubs don’t have national leadership even though they may have chapters on different campuses that doesn’t always mean they have objectives and mission statements to guide them.”
SHPE makes the most of its national image and uses the platform to promote STEM education at the highest levels.
According to whitehouse.gov, President Obama announced that over $240 million will be allocated for new STEM commitments at the 2015 White House Science Fair.
The money includes $90 million for the “Let Everyone Dream” campaign. It is designed to expand STEM opportunities to underprivileged youth.
SHPE employs a four-point strategic plan in its chapters in order to unify its positions. First is economic and technological with the idea that the United States economic and technological positions will be improved with more Hispanics entering to and graduating from SHPE degree programs.
It also looks to attract influential membership to advance the communities impact on STEM fields. Third is increased graduation rates. Lastly, the group aims to mirror the demographics of the United States population in STEM related fields, in corporate America, government and academia.
According to the United States Census Bureau there are 50.5 million Hispanics in the U.S. Also, between 2000 and 2010 the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, 10 times the growth of the total population.
Hispanics make up 16 percent of the U.S. population yet only account for 7 percent of the national STEM workforce.
At CCC, the scope and expectations the club has for itself may give other clubs a distorted sense of how organizing works.
“I don’t want the new clubs to overextend themselves and fizzle out,” Vice President of Club Affairs Safi Ward-Davis said. “I don’t pinpoint successful clubs like Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS) or Puente or SHPE to try to get them to match fundraising or participation. I point to them as something to strive to be.”

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