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

Board Member Spotlight: Carista Ragan

In April 2021, Carista Ragan, Vice President Legal at Goldman Sachs, joined SHPE’s Board of Directors. The path she took to end up here could be called unusual. “I guess it’s not a typical professional journey,” Carista says. “But I hope our students can see that all kinds of experiences can give you important and transferable skills.”

Carista’s first career was that of a professional dancer, and she started on one of the biggest stages in the nation. She was selected as an NFL Cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys. “It was an incredible opportunity,” Carista recalls. “And as fun as the bright lights, costumes, and games were, they weren’t the best part. The best part was who I got to work with.”

(Carista is the last cheerleader on the far right end, second row back, number 88.)

Carista as a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader

Because it was during this time that she met one of her most influential mentors. “I had terrible stage fright,” she explains. “And our cheerleading coach helped me see what I was truly capable of. They gave me the confidence to stand in front of thousands of people and shine. They really changed my life.”

After her NFL debut Carista traveled all over the world performing. “I danced in the Persian Gulf, Korea, Turkey, and Greece. I participated in two USO tours as an entertainer for our troops. Dance was literally my ticket to see the world!”

When she returned stateside, she began pursuing her second passion – the law. She applied and was accepted into the University of Houston Law School. And it just so happened that, toward the end of her first year, the Houston Rockets won the NBA Championship.

“The whole city was ecstatic. It’s the only thing anyone could talk about.” remembers Carista. “And that’s how I heard about the call for auditions to become a Rocket Power Dancer.”

She was paying her own way through law school and was looking for a job to help with tuition. So, she auditioned, and was selected as a Rocket Power Dancer.

“I guess you could say I used my first career to fund my second career.”

Carista spent the next two years in law school also dancing in the NBA. Her last semester, the Rockets made it to the playoffs. “I was studying for finals and the bar exam the same time we were performing at the playoff games. And once the playoffs were over, that was it. No more dancing.”

Carista with the Houston Rockets Power Dancers

Carista spent the next two decades and half as General Counsel for various STEM companies. “I’ve always been interested in the intersection of law, technology, and engineering,” she states. And her impressive resume reflects this. She’s held positions at Flowserve, The Weir Group, and StackPath until landing her most current executive role at Goldman Sachs.

Carista on a Women In Law Summit Series panel for DCEO Magazine

“And you know what, I still use the skills I gained while dancing. The courage and poise instilled in me by my Dallas Cowboys coach has stuck with me all these years later. Now, I have to get up in front of 700 people and present on legal policy, but it’s my performing roots that makes it possible,” Carista points out. “I guess if there’s a lesson here, it’s to take your mentors where you can get them, even if they aren’t directly in the field you’re pursuing. Maybe it’s a violin teacher or soccer coach, but you can gain valuable skills and experience anywhere.”

Carista loves serving on SHPE’s Board. She is constantly inspired by the enthusiasm and commitment of board members, staff, and students. “It’s an amazing feeling to all be so focused on one goal. It really feels like a family.”

While she isn’t Latina herself, she grew up in a Hispanic household. “My stepmom, who I love dearly, is Mexican. As are my two half-sisters. I saw first-hand some of the opportunities that were offered to me that weren’t readily available to them – especially role-models. Organizations like SHPE are so important in creating and supporting the next generation of Hispanic STEM leaders. I think my stepmom and sisters are really proud of what we’re doing here.”

SHPE is honored to have the expertise, passion, and leadership of Carista Ragan as a part of the Familia. We can’t wait to see where we go together in the coming years.

Carista with her 11-year old daughter, Harper

Dr. Joseph Silva Joins SHPE in the Newly Created Position of Chief Engagement Officer


March 15, 2022


The SHPE Reorganization Includes the Promotions of Dr. Kimberly Douglas, Monique Herrera, and Rhonda McNeil to C-Level Positions

(City of Industry, CA) — On Monday SHPE welcomed Dr. Joseph “Jose” Silva as the inaugural Chief Engagement Officer for the organization. This newly created position comes as part of a larger reorganization for SHPE.

Four distinct offices have been created under the CEO Chris Wilkie. They include Administration, Research & Innovation, External Relations, and Engagement. The goal of this restructuring is to continue elevating excellent programming and enhancing corporate STEM partnerships, while placing new emphasis on member cultivation, influence, and investment.

Dr. Jose Silva is now responsible for the latter, and he is beyond qualified. A resident of Denver, Colorado, he has been an advocate for youth, education, and the community for over 28 years. He comes to SHPE from the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health (CoAIMH) where, starting in 2019, he served as their first CEO. A specialty of Dr. Silva’s professional and personal approach to community engagement is his orientation of multiculturalism—the embracing and celebrating of individual differences. CEO Chris Wilkie said about Dr. Silva, “His extensive experience and his attitude toward diversity make him particularly well-suited to take on the Chief Engagement Officer role with its emphasis on member relations. SHPE is lucky to have his leadership and expertise on staff.”

The additional three offices find their leadership from internal promotions.

Dr. Kimberly Douglas has been with SHPE since 2019. Her promotion to Chief Research & Innovation Officer places her in a position to utilize her full range of considerable skills and experience to support SHPE’s mission. Kimberly has over 25 years of experience as an engineering educator and administrator developing and funding programs for increasing the persistence and degree completion rates of STEM students, with particular focus on Hispanics. She has expertise in creating mutually beneficial partnerships and programs to support student success and faculty development. Kimberly is now responsible for a growing team who manage all of SHPE’s programming including ScholarSHPE, MentorSHPE, InternSHPE, SHPEtinas, and Noche de Ciencias, along with the Academic Partnership Council (APC). She also secures key grant funding and leads the development of new, relevant services for SHPE members. Kimberly lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Monique Herrera has also had a storied career with SHPE. She began as a Development Associate and Membership Coordinator in 2014. During the next half-decade, she become a Manager, Director, and then Senior Director. Earlier this month, she was promoted to Chief External Relations Officer. She is a testament to the personal and professional development available at SHPE as well as the incredible quality of the staff. Today, with her team of two, she oversees the Industry Partnership Council, sponsorship for 9 signature events, and other partnership opportunities. In addition, she oversees organization-wide marketing and communications efforts, the evolving government relations outreach, and the all-important National Convention Career Fair. Monique lives in New York, New York.

Rhonda McNeil, previously SHPE’s financial Controller, is now the Chief Administrative Officer. She joined SHPE in March 2021, but before that she accumulated over 20 years of management, financial, and accounting experience in the nonprofit industry. Rhonda has both her Bachelor and Master of Business Administration degrees from Texas State University. Now, in addition to full financial oversight, she leads a team of six, overseeing all contracts, HR, IT and Facility matters. Rhonda lives in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

Miguel Alemañy, SHPE’s current Board Chair, is optimistic about these additions and changes. “When the Board of Directors approved the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan earlier this year, we knew SHPE would need to think differently about how it deploys its resources, including our staff,” Alemañy states. “This restructuring is exactly what is needed to make our goals achievable. It is exciting to see our dreams become a reality. SHPE is now a national force in the STEM industry.”

To schedule an interview with CEO Chris Wilkie or with Board Chair Miguel Alemañy, please contact Jen Linck at [email protected] or 703-732-6701.

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

SHPE Appoints Two New Additions to the Board of Directors Effective Immediately

January 25, 2022; Los Angeles, CA – After a thorough vetting process to identify candidates with experience complementary to the existing Board of Directors, SHPE has filled two previously vacant seats.

Effective immediately, Lifetime members Melanie Weber of The Boeing Company and Will Davis of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center are the newest members of the SHPE Board of Directors. Will is returning to the Board after serving as Secretary from 2019-2021, and Melanie is a first-time appointee.

Melanie LeAnne Weber is the Subsystem Lead for Crew and Cargo Accommodations and the Launch Pad Team Lead for the Boeing CST-100 Starliner. In 2019, she became the first woman and the first Hispanic to lead a Launch Pad Team on the day of launch of a spacecraft. Melanie was granted a U.S. patent for the crew’s seats on the Starliner and works to ensure safety of the astronauts during their missions earning her the NASA Astronauts’ Silver Snoopy Award. She was featured in an episode of the Science Channel’s Impossible Engineering describing Starliner’s landing airbag system and was integral in unveiling Boeing’s spacesuit on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Melanie is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and was recently recognized as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex. She takes an active role in the community to encourage students and adults to pursue fields related to STEM and is an active lifetime member of SHPE.

Will Davis is a double-degreed engineer from UTEP currently living in Houston where he serves as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Program Manager with NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity (JSC-ODEO). In this role, he is responsible for advising JSC senior management on D&I initiatives and helping manage the center’s ten ERGs. Previously, he served for twelve years as an engineer with JSC’s Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate. He is a 2009 graduate of the NASA FIRST Program and holds a NASA Green Belt Certification in Lean Six Sigma. Service has always been at the heart of Will’s endeavors moving him to volunteer at the highest levels. From 2012-2018 Will served on the MAES Board of Directors as President and from 2019-2021, Will was elected to the SHPE National Board, having been a SHPE member since 2000. He is a lifetime member of MAES, SHPE, and the UTEP Alumni Association. Notably, he was the 2018 recipient of the Great Minds in STEM/HENAAC Santiago Rodriguez Diversity and Inclusion Award.

National Board Chair Miguel Alemañy said about the appointments, “We are thrilled to bring back Will to our Board. His experience and expertise, especially with human resources and DEI, makes him a critical player as we set and execute our new 5-year strategic plan. And I am equally excited to welcome Melanie to this role. She brings much needed passion along with fresh insight and perspective. She joins eleven other members who are serving their first term, meaning 75% of our current Board is new. We look forward to their fresh input and guidance as they shape SHPE’s future course.”

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

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Members of Congress Voice Their Support

We are so grateful to these members of Congress for taking the time to record video messages for our members attending the 2021 SHPE National Convention! Each of them voices their support of SHPE and of Hispanics in STEM, as well as, offering their advice to our audience of young, aspiring leaders in STEM.

SHPE is excited to be working closely with members of Congress to advance our mission of changing lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development.

SHPE Elevates Dr. Chris Wilkie to Chief Executive Officer


Having Served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Organization for Over Four Years During a Time of Tremendous Growth, Dr. Wilkie Steps Up to Lead SHPE Into the Next Phase

(City of Industry, CA) — SHPE (The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) has named Dr. Chris Miguel Wilkie as their Chief Executive Officer effective today. Dr. Wilkie spent the last four years serving as SHPE’s Chief Operating Officer, making him uniquely qualified to immediately capitalize on the momentum of growth and national impact the organization achieved during the leadership of the previous CEO, Raquel Tamez.

SHPE’s Board of Directors brought in global management consulting firm, Korn Ferry, to conduct an extensive, countrywide executive search for Ms. Tamez’s successor. They were tasked with finding someone to be not only the lead executive, but also the chief ambassador. They needed someone who was ready and capable to guide an already thriving organization to the next level of strategic development and transformation. And to accomplish this, they required a candidate with a deep knowledge of departments, core programs, operations, and business plans.

It was a tall order, but after a thorough and extensive research and interview process, “The perfect candidate was already among our ranks,” Miguel Alemañy, SHPE’s interim CEO and current Board Chair, says. “We [the SHPE Board] were incredibly impressed with Chris’ understanding and vision for the organization. He has ambitious and exciting goals for the coming years. And the best part? We know he can achieve them! His ability to get the work done and advocate for our mission has been demonstrated time and time again in his position as COO.”

Dr. Wilkie has over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit industry, and is a subject matter expert in operational excellence, change management, nonprofit compliance, and research-based programming. Prior to SHPE, Chris was the AVP of Regulatory, Oversight, and Monitoring for SourceAmerica, a national nonprofit that creates employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities. He began his nonprofit executive career in public health, expanding his reach by becoming an entrepreneur: launching his own consulting company, working with county health departments, public independent school districts, and nonprofit organizations across Texas.

After four years as COO, Chris strongly believes that true allyship can yield the most remarkable results. And you need to look no further than the success he’s realized at SHPE for proof. Revenue, event attendance, and membership have all grown to record numbers during his tenure.

“What an honor it is to be entrusted with this critical role.” Dr. Wilke says. “I will readily leverage the experiences, opportunities, and support I’ve been given throughout my career to catapult this transformational organization to their rightful place as a nationally sought-after and respected changemaker. I am deeply committed to SHPE’s mission and look forward to closing the gap between Hispanics and STEM.”

“It’s an exciting time.” Mr. Alemañy reiterates. “I believe that under Chris’ leadership a future where Hispanics are highly valued as innovators, scientists, mathematicians, and engineers is just around the corner. SHPE, and the world, will be better for it.”

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. Chris Wilkie and Miguel Alemañy are available for interviews.

SHPE: Leading Hispanics in STEM to Host 45th National Convention in Orlando, Florida, November 10 – 14


Thousands of Professionals, Industry Leaders, and Innovators to Attend the Largest Gathering of Hispanic STEM Talent in the Nation

(October 18, 2021) — SHPE (The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), a national organization representing Hispanic professionals and students in STEM, will host its 45th National Convention in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center on November 10 – 14, 2021. SHPE’s convention is the largest gathering of Hispanic STEM talent in the nation.

More than 6,000 students, professionals, academia, and industry leaders will gather for four days of learning including professional and leadership development through sessions and workshops, speakers, signature events, networking, competitions, and award ceremonies. The theme of the convention is “The Most Magical Time,” celebrating the evolution of SHPE, the empowerment of its members, the community of Familia, and the magic of Hispanics in STEM. For all attendees, the convention will serve as a catalyst for both personal and professional transformation 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.

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 Pre-College Conference (virtual) is designed for high school students, their teachers and families to help shape students’ views of STEM as they think about pursuing STEM in higher ed and increase their access to information which will help and support their students succeed.
  • 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, Advisors, Community College, Undergraduate, Graduate, which covers those wanting to go into Graduate school after undergraduate, those currently in Graduate school, and going from Graduate school into the Corporate World, and Diversity & Inclusion. And this year a new 3-Minute Thesis Competition is being introduced as part of our Graduate Track.
  • 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 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, Cybersecurity Challenge, Innovation Challenge, Design Challenge and Engineering Science Symposium.

The highlight of the event is the two-day Career Fair where thousands of jobs will be offered by companies like Facebook, Boeing, Apple, Google, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson and many others. Due to COVID travel restrictions, some companies are not able to send representatives to the Convention this year so a virtual job fair will also be held with virtual interviews on November 5.

SHPE’s National Convention will also include two SHPE Technical Achievement and Recognition (STAR) Award ceremonies, the exclusive Excellence in STEM Breakfast and 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 full list of winners is here.

This year SHPE announces an all-new STAR Award to be presented annually at the SHPE National Convention. The Rodrigo Garcia Founder’s Award is to honor the contributions of founder Rodrigo Garcia who will also be the first recipient during this year’s convention. In 2022, the award will be open for nominations for candidates that meet the criteria.

The Visionary Sponsor of SHPE’s 2021 National Convention is Discover. This is the second year they have supported the SHPE Convention as a visionary sponsor.

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.

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

Statement About the Decision to Move Forward with an In-Person Convention in Orlando, Florida

September 23, 2021 – In light of our recent announcement to keep the 2021 SHPE National Convention in person, we think it is important to reiterate SHPE’s intentions and priorities.

Our number one priority is, and always will be, the well-being of the Familia as a whole. We care deeply about the health of our members, the ongoing pursuit of our critical mission, and the future stability of the organization. Some could argue, the world needs the unique brilliance of Hispanics in STEM now more than ever, and we will not do anything to put that into jeopardy.

The National Convention is so much more than a big, splashy gathering. As a flagship event, it is our mission embodied. It connects thousands of our members to future employers while equipping them to succeed once hired. It is no exaggeration to say it is both life-changing and world-shaking. As far as our mission is concerned, the National Convention is not an elective.

Since “the show must go on,” so-to-speak, we are singularly focused on keeping our members safe. With guidance from the CDC, the proven effectiveness of the vaccines, and the scientific consensus over basic safety precautions, we are confident our Familia can stay healthy while we stay in-person as planned.

Here are a few facts we took into consideration when making this decision:

  • Over 90% of our registrants as of now are vaccinated. This is an enviable statistic for any event and demonstrates the incredible reverence our SHPE membership has for science and public health.
  • Masks work, and they will be required in all indoor spaces.
  • Social distancing will also be facilitated in all workshop and session rooms.
  • Disinfecting of workshop rooms in-between sessions and overnight electrostatic cleaning of rooms will happen throughout the entirety of the week.
  • Traffic flow and room capacity will be carefully managed and monitored.
  • The additional extensive steps being taken by our Convention Team can be reviewed on our website, under “Safety.”

Additionally, we want to remind everyone that due to the considerable size and length of this event, our venues are chosen up to four years in advance. In fact, our contract with the Orange County Convention Center was signed in April 2017, long before the word “pandemic” became a household concern. This is just to say, Orlando was not selected as a locale for any reasons having to do with COVID-19 and subsequent state policies (or lack thereof). It just so happens that Florida is the location for this November.

Obviously, no one is thrilled with trends occurring in Florida and across the U.S. with regards to COVID. But after working with the Convention Center staff over the past year, we couldn’t ask for a more concerned, considerate host. They have gone above and beyond to offer and accommodate our extensive safety protocols. We truly do feel secure in their hands.

Lastly, you might be asking why we don’t just move the Convention to a fully virtual platform, like we did last year. Well, if you recall, in 2020 both the venue and our suppliers allowed us to rescind our contract at no cost due to the National Emergency. But this year, because Florida is emphatically open for business, canceling would mean losing over 50% of our event budget. Additionally, trying to go virtual at this time would cost us upwards of $1 million. This would put a significant strain on the organization financially and could take us years to recover. So, while this isn’t the main reason for our overall decision, it would be irresponsible to not consider its impact.

We believe in science. And it is because of, not in spite of, science that our 2021 National Convention is possible. This was not an easy nor a simple decision. But we think it is the right one for the overall well-being of our SHPE Familia.

See you in November,

The SHPE Board & Staff

Engineer Builds a New Career in Quantitative Finance

Santiago Quintero always knew he would pursue a career in engineering or pure math. Following his graduation from high school, he decided upon a degree in industrial engineering, relocating from Cali, Colombia to attend Georgia Tech, a top-ranked program in industrial engineering.

While at Georgia Tech, Quintero interned in the budgeting and planning department at Colgate-Palmolive, exposing him to the means by which corporations consider risks and variability and creating in him an interest in finance. However, while the corporate experience was interesting, Quintero yearned to be at a bank. “Finance is a necessary part of a corporation’s business but, at a bank, finance is the business. I knew working at a bank would allow me to go much more in depth and to the core of the function.”

Upon graduating from Georgia Tech in 2008, Quintero took a position as a software developer at Goldman Sachs. Over time, Quintero sought more quantitative applications and his managers supported and encouraged this decision. While Georgia Tech had equipped him with the probability, statistics and industrial engineering skills needed for the position, Quintero realized he needed deeper knowledge of Stochastic Calculus.

“I started by looking at Stochastic Calculus books,” said Quintero. “But then I realized I would get a much better grasp of the nuances of the material if I learned it in a classroom setting rather than try to teach myself.” He began researching master’s programs and was particularly attracted to Carnegie Mellon’s multi-disciplinary approach.

Unlike other universities, Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Science in Computational Finance program (MSCF) was co-led by four colleges on campus, a significant differentiator for him. Learning from some of the brightest minds in the field – citing Steve Shreve, who wrote the seminal book on Stochastic Calculus – also appealed greatly to him. “If you want a career in quant finance, being taught by Steve Shreve and other luminaries of his caliber is a huge consideration,” said Quintero.

Enrolling in MSCF, Quintero mastered the technical skills needed to transition to a more quantitative role. In addition to the hard skillsets, Quintero credits the rigorous coursework and collegiate culture of MSCF as the perfect segue into developing resiliency and learning to problem solve with peers. “The culture at MSCF is focused on helping one another to excel,” said Quintero. “It was one of the intangible things I enjoyed most and is very much aligned with the culture of Goldman Sachs.”

“The culture at MSCF is focused on helping one another to excel. It was one of the intangible things I enjoyed most and is very much aligned with the culture of Goldman Sachs.”

To this day, Quintero believes MSCF provides a great opportunity for those who are interested in a career in quantitative finance. From the technical skills and foundational building blocks to a dynamic environment and thriving network, Quintero believes the program prepares those interested in the field in every way. He also encourages those of Hispanic/Latinx descent to consider the field. “Adding diversity into any team or field is always an advantage,” he said. “When that person is you, you are the value added and competitive advantage.”

Quintero emphasizes the importance of intellectual curiosity and honesty. “People with engineering backgrounds are a good fit,” he adds. “Engineering attracts people with that curiosity and ability to learn quickly. The field forces you to research rigorously and think creatively – that duality as well as other technical aspects – are a good mix of traits that do well in quantitative finance.”

“The field of engineering forces you to research rigorously and think creatively – that duality as well as other technical aspects – are a good mix of traits that do well in quantitative finance.”

In his current role, Quintero advises corporate clients in the risk management of their foreign exchange and interest rate exposures. He enjoys the ever-changing aspect of his work: from raising debt to cross-border M&As or exposure to multiple currencies, rarely do two situations develop the same way. Above all, Quintero believes the most rewarding part of his job is having the ability to make an impact. Quintero and his team provide clients with cost-effective risk management solutions that allow leaders to manage the business more effectively and, ofttimes, to grow more rapidly.

“Through a mix of good luck, great opportunities and putting in much hard work, I’ve been fortunate to have a successful career I’m very happy with!”