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.

SHPE Pilots New Equipando Padres University in Puerto Rico with Support from Raytheon Technologies

For many years SHPE chapters have delivered parent programming in conjunction with Noche de Ciencias pre-college events. Two years ago, SHPE began designing Equipando Padres to fill collegiate parent programming gap. “When we looked at nationwide programming, we found programming for first-generation-to-college parents, Hispanic parents, and engineering parents, but what was missing was programming at the intersection of the three,” says SHPE Chief Research & Innovation Officer, Dr. Kimberly D. Douglas. “That’s the gap the Equipando Padres program fills.”  Equipando Padres is a dedicated effort to provide parents of first-generation-to-college Hispanic students the knowledge and tools to better support their children earning engineering degrees.

Research shows that parent support is critical for student success. “We know from our experience with SHPE members, that Hispanic parents give their children all the emotional support possible. However, many of these parents haven’t gone through the college experience themselves so we equip them with the college knowledge necessary to provide their children with instrumental support,” says SHPE Director, Dr. Dayna L. Martínez. “That’s where the Equipando Padres program comes in!”  SHPE’s expertise is in designing curriculum that includes the cultural aspects critical to the Hispanic experience while addressing the specific challenges of pursuing an engineering career. The ultimate goal is to position parents and caregivers as an integral contributor to their student’s success.

The Equipando Padres program, supported by Raytheon Technologies, began by delivering one-hour workshops in conjunction with virtual pre-college events while we worked to develop content to launch Equipando Padres University. Equipando Padres University is a multi-year parent and caregiver experience that will parallel their child’s college experience earning an engineering degree. SHPE’s first offering in Equipando Padres University is a half-day experience for adult family members with children interested in pursuing engineering. It is delivered by engineering professionals, students, parents, and staff to support caregivers who have students currently interested in exploring engineering careers.

On February 18, 2023, SHPE launched the first of six offerings for this pilot program in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Over 26 parents completed the course with an additional 24 volunteers, facilitators, and SHPE staff in attendance. This included special support from two Universidad de Puerto Rico campuses – Mayagüez and Ponce. The Puerto Rico offering was delivered entirely in Spanish, but the remaining offerings will be delivered in both Spanish and English.

The day started with a warm welcome from Dr. Martínez and interim CEO, Miguel Alemañy. “This is a game changer for Hispanics in STEM,” Alemañy shared with the participants. “The future of STEM depends on the mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and caregivers of this next generation supporting their children’s success. With your support, anything is possible.”

This first Equipando Padres University offering focuses on three critical topics: Why College, Choosing a College, and Preparing for College Visits. Participants have access to a complete set of resources during the session that can also be accessed virtually for ongoing support. These are available via the Equipando Padres website, and include a guidebook, a college ranking tool, a college visit scorecard and college visit budget template, informational videos, and, of course, swag. The guidebook is designed as a flip book – written in both Spanish and English.

The preliminary data from this event indicates success on multiple levels. Nearly 77% of participants say they now know more about the three main topics covered by the course. A whopping 95% said that after completing this first Equipando Padres University event, their confidence increased around supporting their child’s dream for a engineering education. When asked “how much do you feel you are part of the SHPE Familia” on a scale from 1-10 (with 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “a lot”), the average rating was 9!

Another success? 100% indicated a 10 when asked how likely they are to recommend Equipando Padres University to others. We know from our research that the need  for these resources is out there, but we know from experience that our curriculum is endorsed by the people who matter most – our parent participants.

A huge thank you goes out to SHPE’s hard-working Equipando Padres team. Dr. Kimberly D. Douglas originally envisioned the program and built a partnership with Raytheon Technologies to make it a reality. The program was then developed and executed by Dr. Dayna Martínez, Enrique Guzmán, Liliana González, and Yajaira de La Paz.

We’re also indebted to Raytheon Technologies for their support of the program as the exclusive sponsor. “Without their financial support and collaborative vision, these life-changing events and materials would not be possible,” says interim CEO Miguel Alemañy. “Raytheon Technologies’ commitment to the future of Hispanics in STEM is truly a game changer.”

With the first offering a success, we’re full steam ahead with deploying Equipando Padres University across the nation this spring. Additional pilots were held in the Hialeah/Miami, FL area on March 11, and in Hacienda Heights, CA on March 25. Future dates will be announced for Tucson, AZ; Charlotte, NC; and a virtual session.

For more information and updates about Equipando Padres and Equipando Padres University, please sign up on our Equipando Padres website, or contact [email protected].


SHPE Members to Attend Briefing in Washington, DC On “Building the Next Generation of Hispanic Leaders in STEM”

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

(City of Industry, CA) — On April 18, fifty SHPE members will join 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 is to bring together Administration officials and SHPE representatives for a meaningful discussion of howacademia, the private sector, and government can meet labor needs, lower barriers, and increase representation, while constructing a sustainable education and domestic workforce pipeline of Hispanic students and professionals in STEM.

“In line with our new strategic plan, this prestigious event is a significant step towards achieving our goal of ‘being a key voice in Washington, D.C. with deep reach and a reputation as the leading organization for Hispanics in STEM’,” says interim CEO Miguel Alemañy. “The entire Familia should be proud to see SHPE with a seat at this table. It’s an indication of how far we’ve come in achieving Rod Garcia’s vision from 1974.”

The delegation from SHPE includes Hispanic students and young professionals who are pursuing a degree and career in various STEM disciplines, who are best able to recommend the most impactful types of support to help them complete their degree and feel like they belong in an industry that traditionally lacks Hispanic representation. Also joining the discussion are members of SHPE’s Academic and Industry Partnership Council members who are best able to highlight the value of building a diverse workforce in both private and public sectors.

SHPE representatives include:

Mariana Acuña Delgado

SHPE, Government Relations Senior Associate

Giana Aguilar-Valencia

DePaul University, Student

Miguel Alemañy

SHPE, Interim CEO

Angela Asfura

St. Mary’s University, Mechanical Engineering Student

Erik Jacob Barbosa

Georgia Institute of Technology, Student

Brendon Bolanos De Morales

The University of Texas at Arlington, Student

Christian Buenrostro

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mechanical Engineer/ Project Manager

Victor Cervantes

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Associate Director MEP

Adrian Dávila

Virginia Tech, Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering

Kimberly Douglas 

SHPE, Chief Research & Innovation Officer

Axel Flores-Roman

IBM, Cloud Platform Partner Technical Specialist

Maira Garcia

Honeywell, Senior Advanced Systems Engineer/SHPE Program Manager

Juan Antonio Garcia

So Cal Carriers, Truck Driver

Luisa Imelda Garcia

Stay at home mom

Anthony Jacob Garcia

Los Altos HS, Student

Karen Joanna Garcia

Sparks Middle School, Student

Andrea Carolina Godoy

University of Miami, Student

Benjamin Gonzalez Vazquez

Bechtel Corporation, Pipe Stress Engineer

Julio Grapa

Procter & Gamble, Director Global Business Services

Raymond Guerrero

Ramapo College of New Jersey, Student

Kelvin Guzman-Baez

Rutgers University – New Brunswick, Student

Daniel Haros 

Arizona State University, Master’s student/Energy Efficiency Specialist

Brenda Henriquez

George Mason University, Computer Science Graduate Student

Christopher Hernandez

UC San Francisco, Professor

Valeria Hernández Echegaray

University of Southern California, Student

Ashleigh Herrera

Tufts University, PhD Candidate

Monique Herrera

SHPE, Chief External Relations Officer

Robert Keynton

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dean, William States Lee College of Engineering

Yareni P. Lara-Rodríguez

University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Doctoral Student

Xaymara Lasheras-Muniz

University of Puerto Rico – Ponce, Student         

Andrea Lastra

Microsoft, Technical Support Engineer

Taylor B. Leonard

New Jersey Institute of Technology/Medtronic, Student/Business Process Analyst

Jorge Arturo Levario-Delagarza

University of Texas at Arlington/SpaceX, Starship Launch Engineering Intern

Andrea Lopez

The Boeing Company, Propulsion Engineer

Efren Lopez

University of Florida, Student

Dayna Martínez

SHPE, Research & Innovation Director

Rhonda McNeill

SHPE, Chief Administration Officer

Thelma Mendoza

University of Portland, Student

Juan Ocampo

St. Mary’s University, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering/Assistant Chair of Engineering

Ashley Orta

East Los Angeles College, Student

Lenin Paulino

United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Examiner

Miguel Payan

University of Oklahoma, McNair Scholar

Lance Pérez

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dean and Heins Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ala Qubbaj

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Dean

Nora Rincon

General Motors, Program Quality Manager

Carlos Rivera-Camacho

University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez, Student

Lesly Rojas Caloca

Oregon State University, Electrical and Computer Engineering Undergraduate

Guillermo Rullan

University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez, Student

Giovanna Salazar

SHPE, Social Media Manager

Francis Samalot

The Boeing Company, Research Engineer

Jose Tabarez

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Student

Nicolas A. Tempestini

SHPE, Board of Directors Member

Salena Torres

AccentCare, Inc., Transformation Program Director

Vicente Treviño

University of Colorado Boulder / Colorado Mesa University, Student

Emily Anne Vargas

University of Southern California/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

Idalis Villanueva

University of Florida, Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Research and Graduate Studies

Gerardo Zuniga

Medtronic, Sr Quality Systems Director

“Thank you to the entire SHPE Familia, staff, supporters, and partners for their dedication to SHPE that got us here and made this possible,” says Senior Associate of Government Relations at SHPE Mariana Acuna Delgado. “It’s only because of the achievements of SHPE members past and present who have proven the value of diversity in STEM that I was able to make this event happen. And thank you to the Office of Public Engagement at the White House for their ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and for welcoming SHPE to DC.”

Check us out on social media on April 18 when we’ll be live tweeting from the White House! And stay tuned to SHPE Nation for pictures and updates from the event.

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. For more information, please visit

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Ernesto Felix Appointed Chief of Staff for SHPE

Former Board Treasurer and Human Resources Professional Brings Valuable People Management and Organizational Skills to the Leadership Team

(City of Industry, CA) — Effective April 1, 2023, former Board Treasurer and Intel executive Ernesto “Ernie” Felix serves as Chief of Staff for SHPE, reporting directly to interim CEO Miguel Alemañy.

Ernesto Felix was born and raised in the small border town of Nogales, Arizona. His father, Alvaro, an auto mechanic, and mother, Carmen, a retail store supervisor, worked hard and instilled that work ethic into Ernesto and his brothers. Ernesto graduated from Nogales High School with honors and received a scholarship to attend Arizona State University (ASU), where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Management and Economics. At ASU, he was selected to be a foreign exchange student at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico, where he experienced and connected with authentic Mexican culture.

Ernesto worked at Intel Corporation for over 27 years and retired earlier this year. He’s a recognized change agent and thought leader with expertise in diversity and inclusion, large scale program management, leadership development, and human resources management. Known as an innovative problem solver, trusted advisor, and collaborator with global cross-industry experience, he has built and led teams in the U.S.A., Latin America, and Asia. Ernesto also led the Hispanic Initiative programs at Intel, where he developed a strategy to hire, develop, grow, and retain Hispanics. Today the LatinX program serves as a model for other community initiatives.

Having been in SHPE’s Industry Partnership Council (IPC) for many years as the Intel representative, Lifetime member Ernesto has a long history with SHPE. He also served on the board of the SHPE Foundation and on the SHPE Board of Directors from 2015-2020 with all of those years spent as the Treasurer.

“I’m excited by the expertise and passion that Ernie brings to the SHPE organization,” says interim CEO Miguel Alemañy. “His program management, human resource, and leadership development skills, along with his commitment to SHPE, are exactly what we need to help our team achieve its full potential, while also improving the efficiency of our processes.”

About his new role Ernesto says, “SHPE has always held a special place in my heart, so I’m honored to be able to use my experience to serve the organization during this second stage of my career. I look forward to working closely with Miguel and the SHPE staff and members to take SHPE to the next level of success.”

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. For more information, please visit

Dr. Julio A. Navarro Receives the Highest Honor in Engineering

We know the SHPE Familia is made up of an impressive, world-class pedigree. Our ranks include astronauts, senators, CEOs, and celebrities. But when one of our own achieves possibly the highest honor available in our field – the discipline of STEM – it’s an achievement worthy of special celebration.

In 2021, SHPE Lifetime Member, Dr. Julio A. Navarro (whom you might know as “Dr.J”) was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) for the development and implementation of phased-array sensors and communication systems for aerospace applications. Election to the NAE is one of the highest professional honors possible for an engineer. It recognizes outstanding engineering contributions including the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

Established in 1964, the NAE’s network of more than 2,300 members work together to advance the United States’ global reputation by providing guidance to policymakers and government institutions on decisions related to engineering and technology. Becoming an NAE member is a monumental accomplishment in part because of how difficult it is to be elected into the organization. New members must be nominated by current members and are evaluated on a range of criteria, including scientific and real-world impact, involvement with professional societies, and major awards received.

In layman’s terms – induction into the NAE is a big, big deal. And Dr. J epitomizes all of the standards listed above and more. 

Born in Argentina, Navarro grew up in Texas and received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. While he started his career in 1995 at a small company called Epsilon-Lambda Corporation, the vast majority of his professional life has been spent at The Boeing Company where he started in 1996. After nearly 30 years, he has risen through the workforce to Principal Senior Technical Fellow in Research and Technology – a position held by approximately 0.01% of the engineers at The Boeing Company.

Dr. J is a subject matter expert in radio frequency circuits, antennas, and heterogeneously-integrated electronics. His work has transformed communications and data transmission in the aerospace industry with promising implications for agricultural, security and other commercial applications. Navarro has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, has been granted 33 U.S. patents, and has received more awards and honors than we can count. His industry impact is beyond evident. 

While the prestigious awards and accomplishments are certainly impressive, Dr. J’s commitment to empowering and inspiring the next generation of Hispanic engineers is what really sets him apart.  

“Increasing the involvement of our youth in the STEM fields is the most critical challenge to maintain our country’s technical and economic leadership.” Navarro says. 

Like any good engineer, he went searching for a solution to this problem, and that is when he discovered SHPE. Since then, he’s been involved with the organization in one form or another for the past 20+ years. He is Boeing’s executive sponsor for SHPE and served as the Vice-Chair, and then Chair, of the Industry Partnership Council (IPC) in 2011 and 2012. He is a STAR Award winner, recipient of the President’s Award, and active mentor. We are proud to have him as a Lifetime Member and look forward to many more years of his inspiring leadership.

“Whatever you do, you have to enjoy it,” he says. “Design engineering means hard work, long hours and sometimes failure. You shouldn’t do it for money or prestige. You should do it because you like it. People will see that you do it well, and they’ll give you their attention.”

Well, Dr. J, if your career is any indication – your advice is as good as gold. Congratulations on this immense distinction! We are honored to call you a part of our Familia. 

Dr. Chris Wilkie Resigns as SHPE Chief Executive Officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        
March 2, 2023

On February 16, Dr. Chris Wilkie resigned from his position as the SHPE CEO to pursue other opportunities. Effective immediately, former Board Chair and retired P&G executive Miguel Alemañy has returned as the interim CEO.

About Dr. Wilkie, Board Chair Fernando Paz said, “During his six years of service as our Chief Operating Officer and then, starting in 2021 as CEO, Chris pushed SHPE forward, increasing membership, event attendance, and funding beyond original expectations, all in service of our mission. The SHPE Board and the entire Familia are grateful to him for his service and tireless dedication to the cause.”

Lifetime member Miguel Alemañy who previously served as Board Chair, as well as, the interim CEO for six months in 2021, will return to that role as the Board of Directors conducts a thorough executive search. “While much work remains ahead of us, Chris set up our next CEO to quickly come up to speed and contribute by laying a foundation with a solid reorganization of the staff structure, empowering the team to meet and exceed the operational and strategic goals for 2022-2025, and putting the organization’s focus squarely on the mission,” says Alemañy. “SHPE is the strongest it has ever been and much of that success is thanks to Chris’ leadership in addition to the staff.”

In the midst of executing six Spring conferences, taking the Equipando Padres program on the road, integrating a new Supporter Network, and setting the stage for the 2023 National Convention in Salt Lake City, the SHPE team remains focused on its bold strategy to protect its core, grow in new areas, and attain eminence for Hispanics in STEM. The Board, staff, and regional leaders look forward to welcoming the next CEO into the Familia and continuing this progress under their leadership.

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. For more information, please visit

Contact: Jen Linck
[email protected]

SHPE at the “YOU Belong In STEM” Coordinating Conference 2022

SHPE Makes Commitments to Support the Department of Education STEM Education Initiative

It has been 10 years since the U.S. Department of Education gathered in a conference setting with stakeholders from around the country to discuss advancing STEM education equity in America. On Wednesday, December 7, the Department of Education hosted the newly launched “YOU Belong in STEM” initiative’s National Coordinating Conference in Washington, D.C. This initiative is designed to strengthen STEM education nationwide and it’s part of a set of key initiatives from the Biden-Harris Administration focused on ensuring that all students from PreK to higher education have access to high quality STEM learning while cultivating a sense of belonging to promote a student’s success. The “YOU Belong in STEM” initiative unites government, nonprofits, professional organizations, industries, philanthropies, and other community stakeholders and calls upon them to make bold commitments towards breaking down long-standing barriers that prevent students from pursuing a career in STEM while encouraging them to explore and follow their passions in all STEM disciplines.

At the conference, SHPE was joined by government leaders like U.S. Senator and former astronaut Mark Kelly from Arizona, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Health and Human Services Rachel Levine, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, and U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary Cindy Marten. Their loud support for creating pathways for greater access opportunities, early STEM education awareness, and culturally diverse approaches perfectly align with SHPE’s mission of making generational impacts by changing lives of Hispanic students and professionals throughout their STEM education journey. Prior to this conference, SHPE was part of preliminary conversations about the importance of belonging in STEM and was asked by the Department of Education to take part in the initiative’s commitments towards ensuring that all students from PreK to higher education can excel in rigorous, relevant, and joyful STEM learning. Out of 90 commitments submitted by the time of the conference, SHPE submitted three commitments and was one of six organizations selected to publicly share them. We are so proud to have set the following goals:

  • The Virtual STEM Lab program will engage and inspire over 7,500 Hispanic youth to pursue STEM degrees and careers in 2023. Virtual STEM Lab events are structured to be culturally relevant by having participants interact with Hispanic STEM role models who guide them through STEM hands-on activities.  Familia is a core SHPE value and permeates everything we do at SHPE, contributing to belongingness. The program is structured to achieve three core objectives: 1) increase STEM awareness, 2) increasing STEM self-efficacy, and 3) increase STEM identity. Registration information captures participant data that will be used in the short term to speak to geographic footprint and in the long-term to determine if they eventually enter college and pursue and complete a STEM degree. 
  • The Equipando Padres (Equipping Parents) program will serve over 750 parents in 2023. This program gives parents of 1st-generation-to-college and low socio-economic status students the tools and knowledge necessary to better support their children earning engineering degrees. Equipando Padres events and resources are structured to be culturally relevant by having participants interact with Hispanic STEM role models who share their stories, and by having all resources and experiences be delivered in both English and Spanish. Familia is a core SHPE value and permeates everything we do at SHPE, contributing to belongingness. Registration information captures participant data that will be used in the short term to speak to geographic footprint and in the long-term to determine if their student entered college and pursued and completed a STEM degree. 
  • The ScholarSHPE program improves representation and increases persistence of Hispanics in STEM careers by providing financial support. The ScholarSHPE program will serve over 325 students with over $1.8M of financial support in the 2022-23 academic year by lowering the financial burden of higher education and showing them that the STEM industry and their SHPE Familia are invested in their future. Recipients range from high school seniors to support their first year of college through doctoral level students. Application information captures participant data that will be used in the short term to speak to geographic footprint and in the long-term to determine persistence and completion of a STEM degree. 

We don’t take these promises lightly and are very grateful to this initiative for including us in this nationwide effort by sharing this platform with us to bring the unique voice of the Hispanic community in this important conversation. SHPE looks forward to achieving these goals and to the continued partnership with the U.S. Department of Education to bring equitable and powerful solutions for Hispanics in STEM.

For more information about this initiative, please visit the YOU Belong in STEM page HERE.

We would love to hear from you and your story! Share how SHPE empowers you to be a leading voice in STEM. Please tag @SHPENational (Instagram, Facebook) or @SHPE (Twitter and LinkedIn) and use the following hashtags: #SHPEFamilia #YOUBelongInSTEM.

SHPE Mourns Ray Mellado, Chair Emeritus and Founder of Great Minds in STEM

Picture of Ray Mellado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        
November 29, 2022

(City of Industry, CA) — The SHPE Familia joins the Hispanic and STEM communities in honoring Great Minds in STEM founder Ray Mellado who passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family on the morning of November 25.

Founded by Carmela and Ray Mellado in 1989, Great Minds in STEM (GMiS; formerly HENAAC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping America technologically strong by promoting science, technology, engineering, and math careers in underserved communities. GMiS pursues their mission through its annual HENAAC conference, and its educational programs like the Hall of Fame, Viva Technology, and STEM-Up.

Ray and Carmela Mellado befriended SHPE founder Rod Garcia close to fifty years ago and the trio collaborated for many years to advance their shared values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. In fact, Carmela produced SHPE’s first national newsletter which laid the foundation for Hispanic Engineer Magazine, a partnership between SHPE, Mellado Communications, and Career Communications Group that featured the stories of outstanding Hispanic engineers and scientists. SHPE and GMiS continue to work together on various fronts to this day and many SHPE members consider Ray Mellado a role model and inspiration.

“Ray Mellado realized early in his career that Hispanic excellence was intrinsically linked to American competitiveness,” said 2002 HENAAC Scholar, 2009 HENAAC Luminary, and 2018 HENAAC Award Winner and SHPE Lifetime Member and Board Secretary Will Davis. “His quest to tell the stories of role models and heroes, graduate folks with STEM degrees and secure them jobs, and spark the imaginations of kids from underserved communities has changed the narrative for Hispanics. His legacy of thinking bigger and bolder is fitting, because just like the organization he founded, Ray was a Great Mind in STEM.”

“Ray Mellado was a giant,” SHPE Lifetime Member and former Board Chair Miguel Alemañy said. “Someone who believed in the power of STEM and the need for Hispanics to be represented at every level. He was a powerful force in the industry, founding and supporting HENAAC, later changed to GMiS. I worked with him for many years across our organizations and was always impressed by his tireless dedication, his energy and motivation, and his drive. He never asked for anything in return but gave to the community 100%. He was a role model and someone we will miss dearly in the Hispanic STEM industry and in STEM in general.”

SHPE past National President and Lifetime Member Diana Gomez said, “Ray Mellado loved his community and he worked tirelessly to improve it. When I became SHPE National President, Ray was one of my biggest supporters, mentor, and a great friend. I will treasure our beautiful friendship and his legacy will continue in each and every one of us he helped.”

A visionary in the STEM community and an honorary SHPE Lifetime Member, Ray Mellado, his family, and his GMiS colleagues will be in the thoughts and prayers of all of the SHPE members who had the fortune to know him and all those who wish to honor the contribution he made to advance underserved communities in STEM. His loss leaves a hole in the heart of our Familia.

UPDATED 12/7/22! A Celebration of Life Mass is being held at 9:00am on Friday, December 9, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (555 W. Temple St. Los Angeles, CA) with the burial immediately following at Rose Hills Memorial Park and then a luncheon and reception at Quiet Cannon. RSVP to [email protected]. Please direct flower deliveries to arrive between December 7th and 8th at Castañeda Crollett Mortuary, 3715 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90063.

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. For more information, please visit

Contact: Jen Linck
[email protected]

SHPE: Leading Hispanics in STEM to Host 46th National Convention in Charlotte, November 2-6

Honeywell is the Visionary Sponsor of Country’s Largest Gathering of Hispanic STEM Talent Attended by Over Ten Thousand Professionals, Industry Leaders, and Innovators

(September 27, 2022) — SHPE (The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), a national organization representing Hispanic professionals and students in STEM, will host its 46th National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Charlotte Convention Center on November 2 through 6, 2022.  The largest gathering of Hispanic STEM talent in the nation, the event is expected to be attended by over 10,000 students, professionals, academia, and industry leaders.

The four day gathering will offer attendees professional and leadership development through sessions and workshops, speakers, signature events, networking, competitions, and award ceremonies. The theme of the convention is Racing Towards the Future, celebrating the evolution of SHPE, the empowerment of its members, the community of Familia, and the innovation of Hispanics in STEM; with a nod to the NASCAR influences in the host city. For all attendees, the convention will serve as a catalyst for both personal and professional future growth which, in turn, will have a powerful impact on the Hispanic community, the U.S. workforce, and our global economy.

According to the Pew Research Center while nearly 20% of the U.S. population is Hispanic, only 8% of STEM jobs are filled by Hispanic professionals. In leadership positions, this percentage is even lower. SHPE exists to narrow and eventually close this gap by raising awareness and increasing access. In addition to connecting our members with many of the top organizations in STEM, the SHPE National Convention is also one of our most powerful tools to prepare Hispanic students and professionals to be top talent and leaders in their field, driving innovation, the global economy, and a prosperous Hispanic community.

This year, a major highlight of the convention will be Fearless, a new 8-session speaking series designed to inspire the audience to take risks, conquer fears and lead a life of purpose.  Curated by SHPE CEO Dr. Chris Wilkie and sponsored by Rockwell Automation, Fearless speakers will include leading STEM experts and influencers on topics such as leadership, diversity and inclusion, technology, and equity in the workspace. A list of Fearless speakers is here.

Another highlight will be featured speaker Mateo Salvatto, the 23-year old founder of Asteroid Technologies, author, and innovator. He will share his journey transitioning from average high school student into one of Argentina’s most respected tech businessmen through the creation of Háblalo, an app that assists more than 250,000 people globally who have hearing loss and verbal communication disabilities.

Over the four days, attendees will be able to take advantage of technical training, leadership, and professional development, and networking opportunities, as well as interacting with over 250 exhibitors and sponsors actively recruiting new talent. The convention is made up of five specialized conferences, with something for everyone, including:

  • The Academic Conference hosts students and faculty at all levels of higher education. Participants gain valuable resources and networking opportunities while discovering best-practices, career opportunities, and learn both the opportunities and challenges Hispanics face while earning STEM degrees and entering the workforce. Tracks include Advisors, Community College, Undergraduate, Graduate, and Diversity & Inclusion.
  • The SHPEtinas: Igniting Latinas in STEM Conference strives to accelerate Latina representation at all levels of corporate and academic leadership in STEM while affirming the Latina identity. The theme for this year is ¡Ready, Set, Vamos! 
  • The Professionals in STEM Conference provides a differentiated learning approach to its attendees, granting them a diverse toolkit of skills, knowledge, and experience to be successful STEM professionals. Either in workshops or networking sessions our Professionals are getting great interactive time to grow their network. 
  • The SHPETech Conference is designed to shine a spotlight on cutting edge STEM technology for maximum impact. This conference offers Tech Talks, along with four exciting competitions: Cybersecurity Challenge, Extreme Engineering, Design Challenge, and Engineering Science Symposium.
  • The Pre-College Conference will take place at five secondary schools in the area, with SHPE staff and volunteers bringing the popular Día de Ciencias hands-on science event to the students along with college readiness sessions for them and their parents.

A popular offering of the event is the two-day Career Fair & Graduate School Expo where thousands of jobs will be offered by companies like Facebook, Boeing, Apple, Google, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson and over 200 other leading companies in STEM. The full list of exhibitors is here.

SHPE’s National Convention will also include the STAR Awards Celebration. The STAR Awards recognize key individuals, corporations, government agencies, and academic institutions that have contributed significantly to support Hispanics in STEM.  The recipients of the 2022 Rubén Hinojosa STEM Awards are U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, California, U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Texas, U.S. Congressman Tony Cardenas, California, and U.S. Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar, Florida.   The full list of winners is here.

The Visionary Sponsor of SHPE’s 2022 National Convention is Honeywell. Honeywell ( is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit

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. For more information please visit

Members of the media are encouraged to pre-register for the conference. For press credentials, contact Alyssa Sullivan at [email protected] or 617-899-8631.