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53 Everitt Lab
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ECE students attend Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Conference

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By Lauren Eichmann
February 15, 2008

  • Two ECE students traveled to the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Conference.
  • This year the Illinois chapter earned the Regional Chapter of the Year award. In Illinois’ region, there are 38 chapters, and seven regions are located throughout the U.S.

Two ECE students traveled to the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) National Conference held in Philadelphia, Pa., this past fall where they interacted with other students, alumni, and corporate professionals to develop engineering skills through several design competitions and technical paper presentations. The annual conference, the largest gathering of professional and student Hispanic engineers, had more than 100 companies in attendance.

Students from Illinois attended the SHPE National Conference in Philadelphia in November.
Students from Illinois attended the SHPE National Conference in Philadelphia in November.

According to Emily Echevarria, the SHPE-UIUC chapter fundraising chair, the SHPE-UIUC chapter "is a well-respected organization at the conference each year that inspires leadership development in other chapters across the nation." In fact, this year the Illinois chapter earned the Regional Chapter of the Year award. In Illinois’ region, there are 38 chapters, and seven regions are located throughout the U.S.

"I’m really glad we won," said Norberto Rivera, a senior in electrical engineering. "But we don’t need an award to know we’re really good. We know we put in the time and effort. It’s something we always knew." Renata Revelo said SHPE-UIUC has been recognized with this honor a few times in the past as well.

Rivera and Revelo, both sponsored by the ECE Department, were two of the 14 students selected from the SHPE-UIUC chapter to attend the event. "The SHPE National Conference offers an unparalleled resource in informational workshops, networking opportunities, and career fair for SHPE members," said Echevarria. "The students who attended had a positive learning experience and grew together as a team of leaders inspired to achieve more on campus in order to fulfill SHPE’s vision."

Revelo, an ECE graduate student, agreed. "It is an excellent opportunity to travel to new places, network with countless company representatives, and establish life-long friendships with fellow conference attendees," she said. "I have to say, I think this was one of the best conferences, just because they put so much effort into it. They wanted to make up for the fact that it was going to be in the fall semester, and some students wouldn’t be able to make it (because of school)."

Revelo said this is her fifth time attending a National SHPE Conference. "The Navy even did a small show for us with their rifles. That was really cool, and there was a lot of respect in the room," she said. Revelo and Rivera both said the wide variety of workshops and the career fair are really beneficial to students. "The networking and camaraderie with the people you go with and the people you meet there is great in order to function better as an organization," Rivera said.

Yet individuals benefit tremendously as well. According to Revelo, workshops deal with everything ranging from employment, including interview and resume skills, to leadership and teamwork dynamic topics. The more interesting workshops don’t deal with careers or academics, but more about self enhancement and culture, said Revelo. "They try to address how Hispanics tend to have a certain humbleness about themselves, and when it comes to interviewing, they may not put themselves out there as much as other people might. They address this issue in a cultural and professional sense."

In the past, Rivera said he was able to get an internship with the Boeing Company because of the career fair. "A number of our attendees were able to get interviews and internships and full-time employment from the career fair this year," said Revelo. "That’s one of the reasons I always encourage people to go (to the conference). If anything, they can go to learn about how to talk to company representatives. The best they can get out of it is a job offer."

Next year’s SHPE Conference will be held in November at the Phoenix Convention Center.

For more information about the SHPE-UIUC chapter, visit www.shpe-uiuc.org.

Editor's note: media inquiries should be directed to Brad Petersen, Director of Communications, at bradp@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6376.

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