Remembering Daniel Salazar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Guest speaker from the Department of Justice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

The Benefits of Attending a Summer Bridge Program

Congratulations to all high school graduates!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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].


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 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]