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 Destino STEM program will engage and inspire over 7,500 Hispanic youth to pursue STEM degrees and careers in 2023. Destino STEM 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.

The LeaderSHPE View, 4th Edition

Happy fall, Familia! And welcome to the fourth edition of The LeaderSHPE View!

With Charlotte fast approaching, I’ve been watching NASCAR more intently than usual. Inspiring our 2022 Convention theme, Racing Towards the Future, these cars are engineering marvels, and the crews that keep them running epitomize the concept of a well-oiled machine. Every role is crucial. Every movement, intentional. It is a perfect combination of science, engineering, and technology – a recipe for success, if I’ve ever seen one.

And then there are the drivers. Well, the drivers appear to have no fear. They accelerate when any sane person would brake. They pass with millimeters to spare. They take risk after risk in pursuit of crossing that finish line first. It’s a breathtaking thing to witness (literally – as I often find myself holding my breath). But it’s also a familiar feeling. Because watching them reminds me a lot of watching YOU.

You, meaning our SHPE members. Because I’ve been involved in this organization long enough now to see some very bold and brave things happen here. I’ve seen students and professionals stare down the most intimidating obstacles – financial limitations, institutional racism, generational trauma, communal inequities, language barriers, and more. And I’ve watched these same students and professionals march forward, day after day, with the perseverance and resilience any NASCAR team would be proud of.

That is why I’ve curated a new 8-session series especially for this year’s Convention called, Fearless. Inspired by you and sponsored by Rockwell Automation, each session will motivate us to take risks when we normally would not, conquer the fears that get in our own way, and lead a fulfilling life of clear purpose, defined intent, and maximum impact.

The speakers we’ve assembled are each “fearless” in their own way. They are Chief Diversity Officers, CEOs, inventors, and influencers who have accelerated their careers when they could have slowed down. And they are coming to the Convention with one goal in mind – to remind us that we are the drivers of our own futures, and the future of Hispanics as a whole. In my opinion, it’s one of the most ambitious and important line-ups we’ve ever had, and I truly hope you will join us.

Between now and then, we’ll be teasing the topic of “Fearless” on an organizational level. For example, our most current SHPE Out Loud episode features a conversation with Dr. Chris Hernandez, and gets his unique take on the subject. Then our next Familia Meeting on October 17 will feature two of our Fearless speakers, Fernando Rosario and Jay Flores, for a preview of what is to come in November.

And as always, the conversation will continue on my LinkedIn. Please follow, comment, and start preparing for what Charlotte has in store!

Until next time, take good care, Familia!

Chris Wilkie

The LeaderSHPE View, 3rd Edition

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

Even more than usual, I’ve got leadership on my mind. 

It makes sense, I guess, since August is the month for leadership at SHPE. We kicked things off with NILA’s President Summit from the 3-7th, held our first Familia Meeting introducing our next Board Chair, Fernando Paz on the 15th, and we’re wrapping up the month with the launch of our new podcast, SHPE Out Loud – where we amplify the voices of Hispanic leaders in STEM. 

I find this topic so important because I believe that increasing the number of Hispanics in STEM careers just isn’t enough. To see true change and realize all the benefits of diversity, we need to see Hispanics at the highest levels of decision making and strategy setting. This is how we transform the industry and our collective futures.

Encouraging our members to develop their leadership skills and find their unique approach is one of my favorite parts of this job! And there is no shortage of styles out there. Finding what you personally align with is a critical part of being the best and most effective leader you can be. I’ll use myself as an example. 

In my last essay, I spoke about my own personal leadership philosophy – Grit, Grace, & Grillin’. However, as I leaned into it more and more, I found myself needing a proven framework to drive execution. Ultimately, it was by combining three popular leadership styles – Inclusive, Authentic, and Enterprise – that I created the right recipe to deploy my philosophy on an organizational level and effectively lead SHPE. I define them as follows:

  • Inclusive Leadership – This method is for individuals who are aware of their own biases. They actively seek out and consider different perspectives to inform their decision-making and collaborate more effectively with others.
  • Authentic Leadership – This approach emphasizes being genuine, open, and honest. Authentic leaders build authentic relationships and inspire trust and motivation in their employees. They practice self-awareness, balanced processing, relational transparency, and integrity.
  • Enterprise Leadership – This style addresses the ever changing social, political, and business landscapes your organization is operating in. It focuses on performing while transforming, ultimately resolving the tension between profit and purpose.These leaders understand that to accomplish this, top-down directives will not work. It is now a team sport.

For me, it was exploring, practicing, and integrating all three of these models that helped me find an overarching style that embraced Grace, Grit & Grillin’ and worked for my staff.

And this tracks. In today’s environment you have to be rounded. Enterprise accounts for the business side – growing membership, increasing corporate partnerships, diversifying revenue,  and upping event attendance. But the workforce expects more than impressive metrics and financial success. They are demanding environments that actively promote and foster inclusivity and authenticity, and offer maximum work/life balance. These have become key factors in employee retention. 

All for good reason! Enterprise might publicly “show” DEI, but if it is not backed by a leader who upholds inclusivity and authenticity, it will just be “diversity theater.” And there’s nothing transformative about that. Thus these three styles are truly complementary and collectively take care of BOTH the employee/volunteer workforce and the organization. They are the embodiment of grit & grace. 

I hope this gives y’all something to reflect on with regards to formulating your own leadership path. But regardless of what resonates with you, be sure to leverage your strengths, be true to your values, and consider the needs of your team. 

As I’ve mentioned before, 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 to explore these styles further! And if you haven’t already, please check out SHPE Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts!

Until next time, take good care, Familia!

Chris Wilkie

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.

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

Mariana Acuña Delgado
[email protected]

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.


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, 2nd Edition

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