The first year of college for me was a big adjustment period. You meet A LOT of people in such a short amount of time, but establishing a consistent friend group takes a while. However, this can be done by getting involved. When you join clubs and organizations which you are interested in, you find people from different backgrounds and experiences with similar interests as you. For me, that organization was SHPE-USC!
SHPE is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. It’s essentially an organization on campus focused on empowering the Hispanic community to pursue careers in STEM. While our efforts are Hispanic oriented, we are not Hispanic exclusive. Anyone who believes in our mission is welcome to join and receive the benefits that come with membership. In SHPE we focus on 5 different pillars: professional development, leadership development, academic excellence, community outreach, and chapter development. What is so cool is that each of our events will focus on achieving one of these pillars, so from one organization you get to experience so many different types of activities that help you grow our give back to the community. For example, we have Resume Reviews and Networking Mixers for Professional Development, LeaderSHPE Retreats for Leadership Development, Study Nights for Academic Excellence, KBBQ Dinner for Chapter Development, and a MentorSHPE program for High School students amongst many other events for Community Outreach.
I’ve personally seen how much I have grown in just a year because of SHPE-USC. In the beginning of freshman year I would get so nervous when I had to write an email to a company representative or professor; and now, as VP of External Relation for SHPE-USC that is literally my job. I went from being scared to reach out to companies via email to contacting over 50+ company representatives, establishing connections for SHPE-USC, and communicating daily with our current and potential corporate sponsors such as Boeing, Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, ViaSat, and Northrop Grumman. Apart from my own personal development, I’ve found a group of friends who have helped me create a home away from home on campus.