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Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Conference

by Gina Bolaños, Class of 2018

The University of Rochester’s Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) chapter promotes the development of Hispanics in engineering, science, and other technical professions to achieve educational excellence, economic opportunity, and social equity.

We had the honor of attending the National SHPE Conference this past year in Seattle, Washington. Being able to go to this huge conference was an eye-opening experience for all members that attended. This opportunity allowed us as members to understand the importance of professional development and networking.

UR SHPE selfie
On the first day of the conference! (That’s me in the front.)


For many of us, this was the first conference we were a part of and we had no idea what to expect from it. We had to do research and apply to positions before the conference, customize our resumes to make them unique, prepare an agenda of goals and tasks to complete, and be confident. Although no one was offered a position from the conference, we learned a lot and some of us did get interviews.

Experiencing the conference and going through the interviews is what allowed us to be successful at other conferences and job fairs. However, this is not the main reason we went to the conference.

RIT and UR chapter reps with name badges at conference
UR and RIT chapter representatives


The biggest reason we went to the conference was to learn ways to make our chapter ever better, and we’ve done so.

Last semester, we saw an increase in active membership, and this was directly related to working with the Hajim School of Engineering and the David T. Kearns Center. They helped promote SHPE to first years and upperclassmen at Rochester throughout the year.

Additionally, we collaborated with the Kearns Center and Upward Bound to create a SHPE Jr. chapter, allowing us to mentor high school students from the Rochester area and demonstrate various STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities such as building circuits with an Arduino kit.

Finally, collaborating with other engineering organizations and planning events throughout the school year allowed our members to network. One example is the Student and Faculty Brunch, which we hosted with the National Society of Black Engineers. We invited professors, faculty, and students in STEM fields to network.

UR SHPE with faculty advisor
We love our faculty advisor, Nick Valentino (right).


Such opportunities have allowed our members to grow professionally and academically within their respective fields. Even though we have learned and grown so much, there is still room for improvement. So being able to go to the 2017 SHPE National Conference allowed us to keep moving forward.

UR SHPE at lunch
Having lunch at the conference!


The significance of attending this conference is much more than gaining opportunities for jobs. As a chapter, going to the conference means growth and success. We are brought together by our common goal to succeed in STEM fields and to make our presence known at the University of Rochester. We are the definition of an engineer. We build things from the ground up and improve the lives of not only the Latino community but the Rochester and engineering communities as a whole.

Executive board group photo
Our executive board leaders!


It’s been five semesters since the birth of SHPE at Rochester, and our job as leaders is nowhere near complete. We continuously set goals for ourselves to make this organization ever better, and this year is no different. We are beyond excited for our next SHPE conference!

Thank you to our sponsors enabling us to attend the conference, including the Office of Admissions!

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