Remembering Daniel Salazar

This past August, we lost a member of our Familia, Daniel Salazar. Daniel worked for SHPE as an Accounts Payable Specialist from 2015 – 2019, and his presence among our staff made a lasting impression. While he was serious about living a life of service and faith, his wit and quiet enthusiasm surrounded him with a lightness that was a privilege to work with.

Daniel Salazar was born a proud Angelino on June 17, 1984 at Los Angeles County General Hospital. Although his childhood was full of challenges, his approach was full of the same humor and zeal he became so well known for. As his wife, Vera Pinzon, put it, “He grew up in South Central Los Angeles during the crack epidemic of the 80’s and 90’s. He loved mentioning this because, although one would say that is a terrible thing, Daniel was proud of his upbringing and his family. His ability to later celebrate the fact that he overcame obstacles that not everyone would, is proof of his resilience and secretly optimistic nature.”

From 2002 – 2007 Daniel attended the University of Southern California (USC) and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science and Government. He would forever be a very proud fighting Trojan. 

In the years that followed, Daniel started working professionally as an accountant, which eventually led him to his role at SHPE. Here, he met many friends who would later become more like family. Whether it was celebrating Trojan football wins over rivals UCLA and Notre Dame with Josue Sandigo, Director of IT, or laughing during SHPE events with Ana Rodriguez, Daniel considered his colleagues more like cousins, aunts, and uncles than coworkers.

Some of his closest SHPE friends to shared their memories of Daniel in their own words:

“Collaborating together toward a mission of serving our members was a daily conversation. He would joke that every time I didn’t order off the dollar menu, I was taking away from a SHPE scholarship. Daniel was made for SHPE, as he knew his role was in service to others. It was never just accounting to him, rather always about our members. I will miss him terribly but always cherish our SHPE Familia bond.” –  Laura Rangel, Events (former)

“I loved seeing the pride he took in printing the checks for the contest winners, especially those who asked for a photo with him. Daniel loved going to mass after each conference, he shared  his faith and that is something I appreciated so much. I hope to continue maintaining his legacy. Tu amistad fue un regalo para todos los que te conocimos y me siento afortunada de haber tenido la oportunidad de conocerte. Amigo!” – Alma Meneses, Finance

“In loving memory of Daniel, a man of few words but a heart full of kindness. He was not only a friend but a chosen brother, whose witty nature brought people close to him like a magnet. One cherished memory is from his wedding day, where the rare smile on his face spoke volumes and it was evident that this day was the best day of his life. … I miss him everyday.” – Amanda Tovar, HR (former)

“Daniel was such a great coworker and friend during our SHPE years and as I spent time with him and his wonderful wife, Vera. I am so grateful I got the chance to know him and go on adventures in the various convention cities we attended together or to a magic show on the Queen Mary ship. To this day when I get ready for a trip I always say out loud and hear his voice in my head “Pack Snacks Nicole!” That was his joking way of telling me not to spend money on expenses. I always think of him when I see a basilica or beautiful Catholic church as I know he enjoyed going to them wherever we were. He will be greatly missed and no words can express my feelings without being sad.” – Nicole Knoderer, Events

Daniel personified the essence of SHPE’s mission. It was so evident he loved both his work and the people he worked with and for. And the feeling was certainly mutual. He will be remembered with deep fondness and forever missed.

SHPE Commends Reps. Cardenas and Salazar for Reintroducing Hispanics in STEM House Resolution

Today, Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar and Congressman Tony Cardenas reintroduced their Hispanics in STEM House Resolution calling for an increased presence of Latinos in STEM fields and increased support at the federal level for initiatives aimed at accomplishing this goal. 

Among its provisions, the resolution states that the House— 

(1) supports the goal of increasing Latino individuals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as a way to promote economic empowerment and sustainability, not only in their community, but in the overall U.S. economy; 

(2) acknowledges that, while Latino individuals have been a foundation for the United States economy, they are underrepresented in STEM fields to the detriment of these industries and the broader U.S. economy; and 

(3) encourages increased Federal support for initiatives aimed at boosting the number of Latino students who pursue STEM education and career paths, particularly engineering. 

“The re-introduction of the Hispanics in STEM House Resolution is a renewed commitment that underscores the vital role of the Hispanic community in shaping and cultivating a strong and skilled domestic workforce. As the fastest growing demographic in the nation, Hispanics are crucial to driving innovation and meeting the demands of key industries in the economy. SHPE is grateful for Representatives Cardenas and Salazar for taking steps to get Congress on board with our agenda” said Miguel Alemañy, SHPE CEO. 

“Investing in education and workforce development is critical and having more Latinos pursuing STEM degrees will help grow our economy when it is desperately needed,” said Congresswoman Salazar. “Latinos, who are currently underrepresented in STEM fields, can and should help fill our country’s need for more highly skilled and technical workers. I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan resolution recognizing the importance of Latinos in STEM.” 

“STEM education changed my life,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “I had teachers tell me that I wouldn’t be able to cut it at University of California Santa Barbara and that I should train to be a mechanic rather than aiming for a degree in engineering. I overcame that negativity and ignorance, and I am proud to have seen other San Fernando Valley trailblazers like Senator Alex Padilla and Assemblywoman Luz Rivas use their STEM educations and knowledge to lead. This is why Congresswoman Salazar and I are fighting to empower more Latinos to pursue STEM careers. Enhancing opportunities for Latinos in STEM roles will strengthen our country and build the next generation of astronauts, inventors, leaders, and more.”

The Resolution builds upon the unanimous passage of a similar Hispanics in STEM House Resolution by the U.S. Senate in May 2022 that was introduced by Senators John Cornyn and Alex Padilla. 

It also notes that the Hispanic population reached 62.5 million, constituting 19% of the total U.S. population and that projections suggest this number will reach 111.2 million, representing 28% of the U.S, by 2060.  While the overall number of STEM graduates has increased in recent years, Latino workers remain underrepresented in the STEM workforce, making up 18% of total employees across all occupations, but only 8% of all STEM workers. 

Download a printable version of this press release.

2023 SHPE-LDC U.S. Latinos in Engineering and Tech Report

2023 SHPE-LDC U.S. Latinos in Engineering and Tech Report cover image

We are honored to share the inaugural 2023 SHPE-LDC U.S. Latinos in Engineering and Tech Report produced in collaboration with the Latino Donor Collaborative (LDC).

The collaboration between the LDC and SHPE embodies a spirit of unity and shared purpose essential to overcoming challenges and seizing the opportunities presented by the ever-evolving landscape of engineering and tech. Together, we have embarked on a journey to explore the experiences, achievements, and aspirations of Latinos in these fields.

This report delves deep into the experiences of Latino students and professionals, highlighting their contributions and challenges and discussing the untapped potential within this dynamic and rapidly growing community. It provides invaluable insights that inform our organizations and catalyze change across the broader engineering and tech ecosystem.

At SHPE, we have long recognized the critical importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation and fostering excellence in the STEM fields. We understand that the future of engineering and tech depends on our ability to harness the vast talents and perspectives the Hispanic community offers. This report is a testament to our commitment to that vision.

As we navigate the path ahead, let us remember that diversity is not merely a buzzword. It is also a critical business tool to accelerate growth and creativity; it impacts the bottom-line and is a wise business decision. The richness of the Hispanic community’s experiences, culture, and perspective is a source of innovation waiting to be tapped. By fostering inclusivity, we not only empower individuals to reach their fullest potential but also propel our industries and society to greater heights.

SHPE’s overarching goal is to expedite the achievement of parity in engineering degrees awarded to Hispanic students. While the current trajectory suggests that Hispanic engineering enrollment will reach parity with Hispanic workforce numbers by 2035, our aspiration is to attain equity in engineering degrees awarded well before the projected year of 2060.

Together we can contribute to the growing Latino commitment to higher education and achieving excellence by increasing the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees Latinos in engineering and tech earn.


Miguel Alemañy, Interim Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Kimberly D. Douglas, Chief Research & Impact Officer
Dr. Dayna L. Martínez, Senior Director, Research & Impact

A Special Note of Thanks: The data in this report is based on the research gathered from SHPE past and current members through the annual SHPE Needs Assessment. It would not be possible without the generosity of those who took the time to complete the surveys. We are thankful for you and we hope that it’s as rewarding to you as it is to us to see the results of your efforts.

WATCH THE RELEASE | The 2023 SHPE-LDC U.S. Latinos in Engineering and Tech report was presented live by SHPE and the Latino Donor Collaborative at the L’ATTITUDE Conference in Miami, Florida on Thursday, September 28. Watch the recording >

SHPE Hosts Webinar with Academic Partnership Council on Preventing Misinformation: Understanding the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Affirmative Action

Guest speaker from the Department of Justice

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights, SHPE hosted a highly anticipated webinar dedicated to members of its Academic Partnership Council (APC). The purpose was to offer Deans from Engineering, Science, or Technology schools a valuable opportunity to gain clarity on available resources. These resources are aimed at breaking down information barriers and preventing the spread of misinformation, especially as higher education institutions seek equitable paths forward following the Supreme Court’s decision on Affirmative Action.

Shaheena A. Simons, Chief of the Educational Opportunities Section of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, joined us as guest speaker. Her office’s role is responsible for enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which deals with complaints and concerns related to potential discrimination in educational institutions. In our recent webinar, her expertise was instrumental in clarifying the misconception that efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion are universally prohibited. It’s essential to emphasize that community advocates must stay organized and actively engage in ongoing discussions to effectively adapt to new on-campus policies.

With leadership of Dr. Kimberly Douglas, Chief of Research and Impact Officer and APC Co-Chairs Lance Perez and Robert Keynton, the group carried out a meaningful conversation about further guidance on how life experiences, different viewpoints, talents, and backgrounds can be considered in admissions processes, scholarships, and financial assistance. Most importantly, the conversation encouraged participants to remain committed to working with community partners on expanding access to a higher education, improving a sense of belonging, while continue to create opportunities for economic mobility for all students.  

As part of our ongoing efforts to establish SHPE as a valuable resource for our partners, the Academic Partnership Council and the Research & Impact team will collaborate with SHPE’s Government Relations department to host a series of informative webinars. These webinars will primarily focus on providing tools and resources that can best support our members. Our goal is to ensure that this webinar series provides valuable information that enhances the success of SHPE’s members in higher education institutions, as it pertains to community outreach, access pathways, and retention programs. 

SHPE’s Academic Partnership Council is a forum of Deans with similar interest in serving Hispanic students and actively contribute to the success of Hispanics students in STEM by partnering with SHPE on new and innovative programs, and positively impact SHPE’s 14,000+ members.

ScholarSHPE Recognized by Excelencia in Education for Its Proven, Positive Impact on Latino Students in Higher Education

City of Industry, CA – Excelencia in Education has named the ScholarSHPE program as a finalist for the 2023 Examples of Excelencia, recognizing the program’s intentionality in serving Latino students through culturally relevant, evidence-based practices. ScholarSHPE is among 19 Examples of Excelencia finalists across the country.Lack of funds is one of the most critical challenges facing Hispanic students in college. With the ScholarSHPE program, SHPE puts our money where our mouth is, and distributes over $1.8 million in scholarships annually to our members. As a result, our ScholarSHPE program demonstrates that our SHPE Familia values them as members of the STEM community and is invested in their future. SHPE awarded scholarships to 346 students for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Examples of Excelencia is the only national effort to identify, aggregate, and promote evidence-based practices accelerating Latino student success in higher education. As one of this year’s finalists, ScholarSHPE demonstrates intentionality and impact in improving degree outcomes for Latino and other post-traditional students. The program’s efforts can inform institutional leaders and practitioners that are proactively seeking ways to build and sustain practices tailored to their students and their communities.

“We bring national attention to the Examples of Excelencia finalists because they show what is possible when serving Latino students in their higher education journeys,” said Adriana Rodriguez, Vice President for Programs at Excelencia in Education. “Beyond enrollment, these programs implement replicable practices that answer questions of how best to reach Latino students and support them to and through college in today’s landscape.

ScholarSHPE and the other finalists were selected through a robust review process of 103 program submissions representing higher education institutions and community organizations across 20 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organizations. Since 2005, Excelencia has received over 2,000 program submissions, recognized over 400 programs for their impact, and raised and awarded over $2 million to the programs making a difference for Latino students to sustain their work.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious recognition for our ScholarSHPE program,” says SHPE Chief Research & Impact Officer Dr. Kimberly Douglas. “The generosity of our corporate and individual donors makes these scholarships possible and the commitment of our staff makes the program more effective every year. ScholarSHPE truly changes lives for Hispanic students pursuing their STEM degrees.”

All finalist programs will be featured online in Excelencia’s Growing What Works Database — the only national, searchable database for institutional leaders, funders, policymakers, and others interested in effective programs for Latino students.

To see the full list of the 2023 Examples of Excelencia finalists visit:


About Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, advancing institutional practices, and collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders. For more information, 

About SHPE
SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) is a nonprofit organization serving and advancing Hispanics in STEM. With more than 13,000 student and professional members, SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development. To accomplish this, SHPE provides a variety of programming, services, resources, and events, including hosting the largest Hispanic STEM convention in the nation.  For more information, visit

National Summit on Equal Opportunity in Higher Education

The U.S. Department of Education gathered community leaders on Wednesday, July 26th in Washington, D.C. to discuss the new landscape of student success following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Affirmative Action. The discussions centered around crucial topics, including navigating college affordability, advancing equal opportunity, and enhancing college readiness through community outreach. The biggest takeaway from the summit was that education non-profit organizations and higher education institutions have an urgent task at hand: redesign access approaches and establish intentional tools that ensure colleges and universities remain as engines of economic mobility, especially for students from often marginalized communities. 

Notably, SHPE, one of the education non-profit organizations, spoke to successful experiences of partnering with academic and industry sectors to deliver intentional programming for the Hispanic community from K-12 all the way through their college experience. 

Keynote speaker, U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona gave powerful welcoming remarks where he emphasized the importance of building diversity on college campuses, advancing college affordability, and reimagining recruitment and retention policies among higher education institutions. Secretary Cardona envisions robust collaborations between community leaders in the K-12 and higher education sectors to find effective pathways for recognizing excellence in students most impacted by the inequities exacerbated by the Supreme Court’s ruling. Drawing from his experience as a former public-school educator, Secretary Cardona acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead but expressed unwavering confidence in the ability of community leaders to rise to the occasion. 

The summit fostered crucial conversations among community leaders, focusing on scalable practices that can promote and instill a profound sense of “Belonging” for students considering higher education. Among the key approaches discussed were simplifying the college application process, incentivizing dual credit opportunities, and strengthening partnerships between non-profits and schools to creatively expand college readiness, affordability, and recruitment. Particular attention was paid to supporting at-risk students with historically disadvantaged backgrounds.  

In addition, leaders from the Civil Rights Office at both Department of Justice and Department of Education provided an essential overview of the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Kristen Clarke, and Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary for the Civil Rights Office at the Department of Education, underscored the need for increased community outreach and awareness mobilization of legitimate resources and implementation practices, particularly concerning Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, to prevent misinformation and ensure equitable admissions processes. 

Overall, the National Summit on Equal Opportunity in Higher Education served as a pivotal platform to galvanize collaborative efforts towards making higher education accessible, inclusive, and transformative for all students, regardless of their background. The collective dedication demonstrated by the attendees promises lasting positive change and equal opportunities in the higher education landscape. SHPE will remain vigilant and responsive to the evolving changes stemming from the Court’s ruling. Particularly, as the leading voice for the Hispanic community in STEM, we are focused to continue making a significant impact in advancing diversity and inclusivity in higher education.  

SHPE Statement on SCOTUS Ruling Against Affirmative Action

City of Industry, CA – SHPE firmly disagrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action and its impact on our vision of inclusivity and opportunity. As the largest organization in the U.S. of Hispanic students and professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), SHPE strongly believes that diversity and inclusion in our domestic STEM workforce can only make our country stronger. We are deeply disappointed by this ruling, which poses a burden on building an equitable society and promoting educational and economic mobility for underrepresented generations.

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down affirmative action admission policies of Harvard and University of North Carolina and deemed them as unconstitutional, decades of progress in diversifying higher education institutions by removing race, as one of many determinant factors, in the college admissions process was undone. This decision undermines college admission policies that aimed to level the playing field for qualified students of color, including Hispanics, when seeking a formal education.

Affirmative action has been instrumental in breaking down persistent barriers and providing equal opportunities for often overlooked communities pursuing higher education. It has embraced the essence of fairness and inclusivity for over four decades. At its core, affirmative action harnessed belonging for students on college campuses.

SHPE remains committed to our mission of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion for all our members. We will continue to advocate for policies that ensure fairness and create pathways for Hispanic students and others who are underrepresented to thrive in all STEM fields nationwide. While this decision sends a disheartening message to students dreaming of a brighter future with equal opportunities, SHPE stands resolute in expanding our reach and making a lasting impact.


SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) is a nonprofit organization serving and advancing Hispanics in STEM. With more than 13,000 student and professional members, SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development. To accomplish this, SHPE provides a variety of programming, services, resources, and events, including hosting the largest Hispanic STEM convention in the nation.  For more information, visit

The Benefits of Attending a Summer Bridge Program

Congratulations to all high school graduates!

The summer is a great time to connect with friends, maybe find a new passion project, volunteer and get involved within your community, and much more. For students getting ready for their first college semester, summer also brings an opportunity to join a summer bridge program.

Summer bridge programs are a great way to prepare high school students transition to college life, helping them feel more comfortable and confident to officially start the fall semester. These programs help with academics, general aspects of college life, networking and social opportunities. For first-generation students, summer bridge programs can be especially helpful as they can serve to provide a sense of belonging.

The content covered during these programs varies, but in general, they are meant to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in college, including studying and time management skills, learn about on-campus resources and support services. Some programs also offer accelerated academic experiences, and even offer college credit for attending.

In addition, it’s a great opportunity for students to start building their on-campus network by meeting peers, mentors and faculty. Connecting with other students with similar interests and creating a community before the official start of the semester can help provide a sense of belonging, which is key for a successful college journey.

How long do they last, costs and how to find out more
Summer bridge programs typically last between four to six weeks. Some universities require that the student has been accepted at the university to participate, but others might host summer programs that offer a similar experience.

Although the programs may come at a cost, your student might qualify for financial assistance or scholarships. To get started, the first step is to reach out to the Office of Admissions as they’ll be able to connect you with the right people. We also recommend doing a quick web search with “X University bridge program.”

Regardless if your student decides to participate in a summer bridge program, encourage your student to take advantage of their summer break with a variety of activities. The summer, in addition to providing time to rest and relax, is a great time to build their resume through volunteering opportunities, summer jobs, and more. Happy summer!

Government Relations Report – May 2023

Bringing You Up to Speed

In July of last year, the government relations department was established to fulfill the third pillar of SHPE’s strategic plan. In less than a year, our dedicated team has successfully cultivated new relationships with multiple agency STEM offices, influential members of the Biden-Harris Administration, and Congressional Members representing Hispanic heritage or significant Hispanic constituencies. Expanding our outreach efforts, we actively engaged with relevant Committee members and leadership in both the House of Representatives and the Senate to gain a comprehensive understanding of the decision-makers shaping STEM education and workforce development opportunities for the Hispanic community.   

Our efforts have contributed significant and valuable insights to advancing and prioritizing K-12 STEM education access, college readiness, private and public partnerships, and fostering a sense of belonging within the industry. Grounded in local, evidence-based research, our initiatives have provided relevant and indispensable data in shaping strategic decision-making for the Hispanic community. 



  • Ongoing advocacy for early STEM education exposure, pay and gender equity, college readiness, workforce improvement, and professional development at all levels. 
  • House floor speech honoring Rod Garcia’s life by Congressman Tony Cardenas
  • Creation of a Government Relations page on SHPE’s website with news, updates, toolkits, and additional resources.
  • Successful coordination of the initial round of “Advocate con SHPE” virtual meetings with Congressional offices and SHPE members, addressing local and national STEM workforce priorities.
  • Ongoing advocacy for early STEM education exposure, pay and gender equity, college readiness, workforce improvement, and professional development at all levels. 

What’s Next for SHPE?

While we have made significant strides by earning recognition from key decision makers and opening new avenues, there is still much work ahead of us. It is important that we maintain a consistent focus on highlighting the effectiveness of our programs, the exceptional talent within our membership, and the rich legacy we have built over nearly five decades. By increasing our presence in influential spaces, we can ensure that those with the power to drive legislative changes have our support throughout the process. 

Be assured that our commitment to collaborating with members of the legislative and executive branches remains a top priority, as we’ve shown for the past year with our proactive outreach efforts and successful projects.

Stay Tuned!

In the near future, there will be ample opportunities to actively “Advocate con SHPE” either through virtual meetings or by participating in in-person events with Members of Congress during the August recess. As you host local events to which you’d like to engage with congressional representatives or join virtual advocacy meetings, we encourage you to reach out as soon as possible to Senior Associate of Government Relations, Mariana Acuña Delgado at [email protected]

Don’t miss out on the chance to make your voice heard and contribute to our advocacy efforts! 

Post-Event Report on the “Building the Next Generation of Hispanic Leaders in STEM” Briefing at the White House

The Office of Public Engagement Welcomed SHPE Members and Staff for an Exclusive Event at the White House on April 18

On April 18, 2023, fifty SHPE members joined a handful of SHPE staff at a briefing on “Building the Next Generation of Hispanic Leaders in STEM” held by the Office of Public Engagement at the White House in Washington, DC and organized by SHPE’s Government Relations department.

The purpose of the briefing was to bring together Administration officials and SHPE representatives for a meaningful discussion of how academia, the private sector, and government can meet labor needs, reduce barriers, and increase representation, while constructing a sustainable education and domestic workforce pipeline of Hispanic students and professionals in STEM.

During the opening remarks, Dr. Amy Loyd, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the Department of Education, spoke to the group about current and new higher education opportunities at OCTAE and how she believes that celebrating multilingualism and promoting holistic approaches should be at the forefront of raising the bar on STEM education.Asma Mirza, SAP and Deputy for Infrastructure Implementation Management at the White House, shared that her focus is on implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which made historic investments to improve affordable high-speed internet, clean water infrastructure, updating power grids, tackling pollution, public safety, climate resilient public transit. Not only does this law improve the daily lives of many families and individuals, but also creates STEM jobs everywhere in the country.

After thanking the Office of Public Engagement, President Biden, and the SHPE members who made the trip to DC, SHPE CEO Miguel Alemañy said, “There’s no better time than now to put a spotlight on our members. They are part of the 8% that makes up for all Hispanics in the STEM workforce nationwide. A recent report estimated that by 2031, the STEM employment projection will outpace non-STEM sectors by nearly 11%. SHPE is eager to meet that projection by preparing, coaching, and empowering our members through our proven and renowned programs.  We are committed to opening more doors and holding them open so that many more generations of Hispanics in STEM can break as many glass ceilings as possible.”

Following the opening remarks, the group split into three sessions covering early STEM education, Latinas in STEM, and workforce development –

In the first session about early STEM education, the group agreed that early exposure to STEM allows future generations to see themselves doing it, and waiting until high school to engage students is too late. It’s critical to engage students at an early age with interactive experiences, as well as equipping parents and caregivers to effectively support their pre-college children. Another important component is to be sure young people are exposed to successful leaders in STEM who look like them; that they have role models to emulate. Kevin Lima, Special Assistant for the Office of Communications and Outreach at the Department of Education said, “The Department of Education is committed to the help implement and scale equitable, high quality STEM education for all students from PreK to higher education to ensure their 21st century career readiness and global competitiveness. Early exposure to STEM careers is vital in inspiring young Latinos and Latinas to join the STEM field.”

In the second session about Latinas in STEM, the group agreed that visibility and representation are critical. The impact of having at least one Latina in every level of the workforce, we can create bonds, networks, and coaching environments that pave the way for more Latinas to enter STEM fields. But changing the ecosystem women are in means educating others about being allies – recognizing the talent Latinas have, acknowledging their worth, coaching them, and empowering them to advocate for themselves. For example, Latinas currently earn 54 cents per dollar. To be able to advocate for themselves effectively, there needs to be wage transparency at all levels, so Latinas know their worth and can push to have their wages reflect that value to the organization. Additionally, re-entry programs are critical, especially after having a child or caring for an elderly parent. The government, industry and academia must have systems in place to support these Latinas reentering the workplace.

In the third session about workforce development, the group discussed how better access to information is critical to how colleges and universities promote STEM resource opportunities that the government has dedicated to increase equity for young and seasoned Hispanic professionals. Additionally, NASA, OSTP, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) need continued conversations with organizations like SHPE to identify barriers and find equitable solutions impacting the Hispanic community, while promoting Hispanic role models in STEM. Dr. Michela Muñoz Fernández, Mars Sample Return Program Executive at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said, NASA supports Hispanic employees in terms of education and training opportunities to help them in their careers by leveraging Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to socialize and provide access to information on opportunities. We are determined to continue bridging the gap between access and information and specifically meet the employees’ needs to ensure they benefit from an enriching experience at NASA.” Finally, active collaboration with academia and the private sectors will be catalysts for creative solutions to close the gap between talent and non-traditional pathways in education and the workforce.  Dr. Nafeesa Owens, Assistant Director for STEM Education and Workforce, Senior Policy Advisor at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) concurred, “Progress happens when we’re all collaborating. OSTP is ready to act, engage, listen, and identify agreeable goals.”

In conclusion, Sol Ortega, Senior Advisor for the Office of Public Engagement at the White House, spoke about the importance of close partnerships with SHPE to increase access, awareness, and workforce development opportunities for Hispanics in STEM, particularly for younger generations that benefit from feeling represented and empowered to be successful in the industry. She and the Administration encourage SHPE members to bring their STEM expertise and unique voice to Washington, DC by pursuing internships and roles at the White House.