SHPE Celebrates the Successful Passage of the Competitiveness Bill

(City of Industry, CA) – With nearly 50 years of experience in diversifying and strengthening the STEM field, SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) applauds Congress for enacting the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 on a broad bipartisan basis. This bill is an unprecedented investment to our nation’s workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and will undoubtedly bolster U.S. global competitiveness in innovation by providing the tools to break STEM barriers.

We are thrilled the CHIPS and Science Act dedicates crucial funding for the National Science Foundation to strengthen and grow a highly skilled innovation workforce by broadening access to STEM education and diversifying the STEM field over the next five years. Some have projected that the legislation could help add 90,000 workers in these fields by 2025.

With $81 billion in new funding authorizations for the National Science Foundation over five years, the bill will:

  • PreK-12 STEM education: Identify STEM education barriers; support research and development to improve informal STEM education; and establish a ten-year National STEM Teacher Corps pilot program to attract and retain highly skilled teachers and thus increase student participation and achievements.
  • Undergraduate STEM education: Support research and development to better align STEM education and training with workforce needs; updates the Advanced Technological Education program to establish a network of centers for science and technical education, and supports research and development to improve STEM education at community colleges; awards effective research and development practices in community colleges for STEM education, hands-on training and research experiences, and career and technical education in STEM fields; establishes a pilot program to develop and scale up successful models for providing students with hands-on course-based research experiences.
  • Graduate STEM education: Expand requirement for funding proposals to include a mentoring plan for graduate students; supports facilitating career exploration opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; creates a requirement for funding proposals to include individual development plans and provides supplemental funding for facilitating professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; updates the Graduate Research Fellowship Program to increase the number of new graduate fellows supported annually, address workforce demand, increase the cost of education allowance, and recruit a more diverse pool of applicants; requires an evaluation of mechanisms for supporting graduate student education and training; requires a report on the need and feasibility of a program to recruit and train the next generation of artificial intelligence professionals and authorizes NSF to establish a Federal AI scholarship-for-service program, which would run in addition to existing programs such as CyberCorps Scholarship-for-Service.
  • Rural STEM education: Authorizes the National Science Foundation to support online STEM education and mentoring research; innovative approaches in STEM teaching that improve student participation and advancement, including through a pilot program of regional rural cohorts that provide peer support, mentoring, and hands-on research experiences for rural STEM educators. Directs the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) to report to Congress an assessment of NSF activities that support participation of rural students in STEM studies.

We are grateful for the strong support and big investments from Congress to further access to STEM education and diversify the STEM workforce. We celebrate this big win and look forward to becoming a resource and partner for Federal leaders during its implementation process.

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 http://shpe.org.

Contact:
Mariana Acuña Delgado
marianaa@shpe.org

SHPE Speaks Out Against the National Crisis That Is Violence Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Co-Signed Statement of Solidarity with the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE)

Los Angeles, CA – As an organization that advocates daily for a world where diversity is celebrated and inclusion is valued as integral to the success of the United States, it is our imperative to speak up on behalf of our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) brothers and sisters. We must speak out about what has now become a national crisis.

According to the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE), one in four Asians experienced a form of racism in 2020. While racism certainly isn’t a new phenomenon, it isn’t difficult to see the connection between this increase in hate and the rhetoric that’s being used in connection with the global pandemic. These falsehoods must be called out and the actors who use that rhetoric to justify hate crimes must be condemned.

“As a Hispanic woman, I’ve seen this kind of blatant racism and discrimination firsthand. It’s painful. It’s frightening. And it holds us back from bringing our full abilities to bear. None of us should have to live in fear that we’ll be targeted based on nothing more than how we look, our culture, or heritage.” says SHPE CEO Raquel Tamez.

Now more than ever, during this time when we are all battling a global pandemic and an economic crisis, we must embrace and support each other. And now more than ever, it is critical that we amplify Asian voices; and that we speak out loudly about how important the AAPI community is to the past and future success of our country.

To show our continued support, SHPE has co-signed a Statement of Solidarity from SASE. We strongly encourage all of our members and partners to share this statement and join us in taking this stand against hate.


HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Source: Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE)

Printable press release >

Remembering Rod Garcia

On Saturday we buried a great man.

Rodrigo “Rod” Garcia was laid to rest surrounded by his family, wife, kids, grandkids, and his SHPE family. He was eulogized in the House, his career was recorded in the Senate, the California Congress recognized him, and President Biden sent a condolence letter.

Why? Because he changed the face of our nation, the composition of our society, the state of professional Hispanic engineers, and he did it forever.

We all know what he did. It was celebrated yesterday and has been celebrated in many circles. It will be celebrated this fall in Charlotte and will be celebrated again in 2024 in Anaheim.

We all know what he did. So I want to illustrate what he DID NOT do.

Rod saw a need. A critically important need, for himself and for his friends. Specifically, he saw a lack of Hispanic engineers in the city of Los Angeles in 1974. At that point, however, he did NOT storm city hall, he did not organize a city wide walk out. He did not block the interstates, called for a boycott, or a strike, or sued the city, or started a petition, or got layers involved, or even picketed city hall. He did not do ANY of those things, things that everyone does these days for the slightest reason.

Instead, he created (along with 4 other friends), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. And in the process, he changed the world.

Rod’s personal work changed the lives of hundreds of thousands across the nation who in turn changed the lives of hundreds of thousands more. He truly changed our nation, our society.

I asked him many years ago how come he wasn’t more military at the time, like everyone these days does. His response spoke volumes of his intelligence and character. He said (paraphrasing), “if I had forced the city to hire Hispanic engineers and they tried but not found them, we would have lost all credibility, and the effort would have failed. We had to create the pipeline of talent before they could be hired.” Brilliant!

Rod served as the first president, executive director and many other positions including Board member on the recently created appointed professional board. His contributions continued to be significant, his wisdom very valuable, and he continued to dedicate a great part of his life to making SHPE successful.

Sadly, today SHPE enters a new phase. Today SHPE starts life without Rod. He is no longer present. However, his legacy will continue forever, and the next 50 yeas will be amazing. In everything we do, we will see Rod and his love for the SHPE family.

His only regret? He didn’t think he would make it to the 50th celebration. We told him he would, of course. But he knew better. But I tell you all, Rod will be with us in everything we do for the rest of time. SHPE is Rod’s legacy.

Remember Rod with love and admiration. He changed the world without any conflict, drama, battle, or negative words, he did it in the most productive way.

Rest In Peace dear friend.

Miguel Alemañy
Past Board Chair, Lifetime Member
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

The LeaderSHPE View, Part 2 – June 2022

Hello again, Familia! And welcome to the second edition of The LeaderSHPE View!

Today I’m going to introduce a philosophy that informs much of my leadership and organizational approaches. It’s a lens with which I look through often – whether I am considering a substantial strategic move organizationally, or negotiating with my 10-year-old daughter.

As y’all have probably figured out by now, I’m from Texas – born and raised. And sometimes the phrasing I find normal, might seem quaint or folksy to those living outside of the South. Now that I represent a national organization like SHPE, I find myself translating these otherwise common Texas sayings.

At the same time, it would be a mistake to think that the Lone Star State has not been drastically influenced by Hispanic culture. In fact, Latinos and Hispanics make up nearly 40% of the Texas population. Their contributions can be seen in every industry and way of life. So while the language I use might not indicate a Spanish origin, the values and concepts they represent certainly do.

So back to this philosophy of mine. I call it Grit, Grace & Grillin’.

Now grit and grace are words used frequently in our day to day lives, but you usually hear them referred to separately. They are seemingly diametrically opposed ideas. But I find that the tension they create when used together constitutes a perfect balance of toughness and tenderness.

To be honest, there is nothing regarding grit that I can teach SHPE members, because much of what I have recently learned about the meaning of this word has come from them. The tenacity, perseverance, and resilience our students and professionals employ to achieve their dreams and change our communities is inspiring. What I hope to encourage, however, is how they can utilize this muscle to further their STEM careers and become the leaders our industry needs.

And grace? Well, grace is showing kindness when someone is struggling, makes a mistake, or fails to meet expectations. And you know what? That someone can be you. The pressure to succeed – to get that internship, to pass that class – can be intense. Grace is about believing you did your best given the circumstances. Grace is also about extending that belief to others. Grace is ultimately about leading with empathy and compassion.

I believe as leaders, no matter what area of life we are talking about, we have a responsibility to deliver a profound experience of growth, success, and happiness to those we serve. Approaching each situation with grit and grace helps me do this.

Finally, let’s talk about grillin. I love food. I love the art of cooking, the combination of flavors, and the feeling of kinship it brings to any situation. When you’re at my table, you’re family! And when I tackle a recipe, I find that it is the perfect place to practice employing grit and offering grace. Sometimes the preparation is long and exhausting. Sometimes the technique requires careful finesse. But the end result is always an achievement we can share and celebrate together.

Y’all, Grit, Grace & Grillin’ has made me a better leader, coworker, father, and friend. I use these combined theories every day at SHPE, and I look forward to showing you how over the next few months.

As I mentioned in the last edition of The LeaderSHPE View, I’ll be offering more examples, insights, and personal reflections about all of this on my LinkedIn. Please check it out and follow if you want more! Oh, and there will be food. Lots of food!

Until next time, take good care, Familia!

Chris Wilkie
CEO, SHPE

The LeaderSHPE View – June 2022

Hello Familia! And welcome to the first edition of The LeaderSHPE View!

You may be familiar with the CEO Corner articles that were published once a month under Raquel and Miguel’s tenure. Similarly, after six months in my new role as CEO, I am eager to start communicating more directly with members and stakeholders about the state of SHPE, current events, organizational vision, and even some personal thoughts and philosophies.

But I want to make sure you are hearing not only from me, but other leaders from SHPE’s executive team. So The LeaderSHPE View is an avenue to start publishing key organizational voices in a more casual way. Our goal is to keep you – our members, supporters, and advocates – informed while giving you real insight into the incredible people behind SHPE’s C-suite. We are so excited for y’all to get to know us better!

And this monthly column is just one part of an overall executive communications strategy. As you may have heard, we are starting a podcast in July! I’ll be interviewing industry experts and featuring member stories on a monthly basis. We aim to provide enlightening and inspirational content that will help bring your STEM journey to the next level. We believe Hispanics belong at the highest levels of leadership in our corporate and academic institutions, and SHPE wants to get you there with real-life examples of success.

We’ll also continue to hold our quarterly Town Halls – or, as we’ll be calling them moving forward, Familia Meetings. We’ll use this forum to solicit feedback and thoughts from our members on important issues and current events relevant to SHPE. While we’ll usually feature a brief presentation from a SHPE staff or board member, we’ll always have a Q&A component so that we can hear directly from you. Keep an eye out for digital invitations on our socials and emails, and make sure you RSVP.

Lastly, if you’re interested in more personal, opinion-based, fun content, please connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ll be digging deeper into the concepts presented here, on The LeaderSHPE View, and as discussed on our podcast. I’ll also be posting about some of my favorite things, and as a self-proclaimed foodie, you know there’s going to be good eats. I’ve got some grilling recipes that will blow your mind! And I’ll be responding directly to comments and questions on these posts, hopefully opening up a more free flowing dialog between me and our members. I truly look forward to these conversations to come!

Now that I’ve given you a sense of what to expect from your executive team moving forward, I’m going to already deviate from this carefully laid-out plan. While The LeaderSHPE View will usually be published on a monthly schedule, in June there will be two! So, check out our June 29th SHPE Nation issue for the next installment where y’all will learn a little more about my personal leadership philosophy, and why I think it compliments SHPE’s mission so well.

Until then, take good care, Familia!

Chris Wilkie
CEO, SHPE

United States Senate Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Latinos in STEM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2022

UNITED STATES SENATE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LATINOS IN STEM

SHPE Collaborated with Senators Alex Padilla and John Cornyn and Representatives Tony Cárdenas and Maria Salazar, Emphasizing the Potential of Latinos in STEM and the Current Disparity in Graduation Rates and Career Success

(City of Industry, CA) — SHPE applauds the United States Senate for unanimously approving Senate Resolution 640, which expresses “support to increase the number of Latino students and young professionals entering careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.” The bipartisan resolution was sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). The House of Representatives has a companion Resolution (H.Res. 1105) pending its consideration that was introduced by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL).

The resolution states that the Senate—

  1. supports the goal of increasing the number of Latino individuals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (in this resolution referred to as ‘‘STEM’’) as a way to promote economic empowerment and sustainability, not only in their community but in the overall economy of the United States;
  2. supports increasing the representation of Latino individuals in STEM fields to enhance and improve representation and improve performance in the STEM workforce, which will help—
    1. develop talented and capable STEM workers;
    2. reduce the dependence of the economy of the United States on foreign workers; and
    3. secure the future of the United States as a leader in STEM;
  3. encourages increased Federal support for initiatives aimed at boosting the number of Latino students who pursue STEM education and career paths, particularly engineering; and
  4. recognizes the important role that Hispanic Serving Institutions and all colleges and universities must play in order to achieve this goal of increasing Latino individuals in STEM.

“SHPE is incredibly grateful to Senators Padilla and Cornyn, for their leadership and for considering our ideas as they worked to secure Senate passage of this important resolution. Their commitment to the success of Hispanics in STEM will move our nation forward and improve the lives of all Americans,” said SHPE CEO Chris Wilkie. “Coupled with the pending House Resolution introduced by our champions, Reps. Cardenas and Salazar, official statements, like this one, made at the federal level, will not only drive competition and innovation in the STEM industry, but will also have a positive effect on this important demographic for generations to come.”

“Our collective prosperity depends on expanding opportunities for all students – from every background – to study and succeed in the critical science, technology, engineering and math fields,” said James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition. “We applaud Senators Padilla and Cornyn for getting the Senate to make a clear, bipartisan statement about the importance of increasing the number of Latinos in STEM fields. We share the belief that Congress must step up and deliver on this important national imperative.”

Working with Congressional champions on the introduction and passage of a Congressional resolution is a part of an overall strategy SHPE began in late 2021 to ensure that it is actively involved at the federal level. “In the last few years, it has become more and more apparent that we need to be in the rooms where decisions are made.” Wilkie explains.

“The immediate recognition of the need for this Resolution by its sponsors and the fact that the U.S. Senate adopted it unanimously goes to show how critical the need is for Hispanics in STEM.” states Wilkie. “I can’t wait until the incredible gifts, brilliant minds, and innovative solutions of the Hispanic community are known, sought-after, and appreciated around the country. This is truly something we can ALL get behind.”

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 https://www.shpe.org/

CEO Chris Wilkie is available for interviews.

Contact: Jen Linck
jenl@shpe.org
703-732-6701

Bipartisan resolution aims to get more Latinos in STEM

Congress is formally adopting a bipartisan effort to diversify the STEM industry and encourage more Latinos to pursue a career in science and technology.

Jesus Ojeda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2019 and a Master’s in Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2020, both from the University of Southern California (USC).

“I think we all had the dream of becoming an astronaut and secondly, growing up in a small town in México we were close to the airport so I would see the airplanes land and take off,” said Ojeda about his motivation to pursue an engineering career.

Ojeda’s hard work led to several internships, including one with NASA. He currently works as a senior systems engineer at Raytheon in Goleta.

Ojeda said it was not an easy journey.

“Where was the dean’s office? Where was the financial office? So mainly not knowing anything, and not having anyone in my family that could guide me through the process,” explained Ojeda.

It’s a reality California’s first Latino senator, Alex Padilla, also faced while studying mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Latinos tend to come from schools that maybe aren’t sufficiently funded. I remember being, once upon a time, being an English learner and trying to overcome some language, not just math, barriers to be able to compete in college,” said Senator Padilla.

The U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan resolution to support Latinos pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“How are we encouraging more young Latinos to pursue STEM education as you go from high school to college and of course, more Latino students to complete a STEM education and enter STEM fields working as engineers and scientists in so many areas,” added Senator Padilla. “This resolution is the first step of putting Congress on record that this is a formal goal and objective.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, Hispanics were 18% of the nation’s workforce. However, a Pew Research Center study in 2021 found that Latinos only make up 8% of STEM jobs.

“Breaking through that first generation and opening that pathway empowers that whole family but in addition to that it also provides a whole other quality of life,” said Sonia Martinez, the assistant vice-president for advancement and marketing for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Pew Research Center found that the average annual salary for non-STEM jobs in 2019 was $46,900 whereas STEM jobs paid around $77,400.

Of course, some STEM jobs pay much more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers can make more than $150,000.

The resolution is looking to push colleges and universities to do more.

“We are great advocates of having our students do research, even as undergraduates, working with a faculty member so they can get excited and see the application of all this math and science that they are studying,” said Martinez.

Beyond academic retention, it is relying on professional organizations founded and run by Latinos.

“Something that really helped me overcome these challenges was being part of organizations such as MESA and SHPE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers,” added Ojeda.

SHPE has a program to better inform Latino parents about STEM careers, and they also have grants for those interested in hosting events to inspire young Latinos.

Every year, they organize a national conference to better connect students with companies and schools.

“We were able to give out over $1 million in scholarships this past fiscal year which was the largest amount for us in one year, so we are excited to beat that next year,” highlighted Monique Herrera, the chief external relations officer for SHPE. “We also bring together 300 companies, universities that are looking to promote opportunities for graduate school, as well as internships, fellowships, co-ops and full-time job offers.”

Senator Padilla and Ojeda both agreed that having mentors along the way was key to their success.

“That godfather, padrino [godfather], tío [uncle] in a friendship, mentor form that is going to be there guiding them and pulling them up as they are able to excel in their career,” said Herrera.

Ojeda said he was able to pay it forward with his own sister and plans to inspire other Latinos.

“The best way to encourage kids, first-generation students, all these Latinos to come into STEM is mainly by us professionals going out and spreading the word, letting people in our situation know that it is possible and guide them through the process,” said Ojeda.

While no specific funding has been allocated just yet, Senator Padilla said having this commitment at the federal level can lead to more K-12 and college programs as well as partnerships in the private sector.

For more information on programs by HACU, click here.

To learn more about SHPE and the resources the organization offers, click here.