There are over 850 student organizations at USC, from SCOutfitters to Dux Ryu Ninjutsu to the USC Auto Club! But amongst all of these hundreds of amazing organizations I found SHPE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. SHPE is a national organization whose mission is to “empower the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development”. But to me SHPE can be summed up in one simple word: familia.
(SHPE at the Latino Student Assembly Awards after winning Member Organization of the year!)
Being a first generation Mexican-American college student, my culture means everything to me. When I decided to attend USC and leave my close-knit family back home, the thing I most worried about was losing my culture. When I found SHPE, I rediscovered what in meant to be a Latina in STEM and it became the fuel I needed to succeed.
I have been involved with SHPE since my freshmen year and have met my current roommate, best friends, and boyfriend through this organization. In short, it has become my home away from home. But SHPE has not just provided me with an outstanding support system; it has allowed me to develop myself as a leader as well.
This past year I was fortunate enough to be the Director of Chapter Development. In this role I was responsible for planning and executing a multitude of events from trips to KBBQ, bowling, and hiking. As well as some very SHPE-tastic events such as SHPEsgiving, Awards Night, and the SHPE Region 2 Futbol Tournament. Through all of these events I was able to improve my organizational skills, time management skills, as well as network with professionals and other undergraduates on campus. Next year I will be the Director of Academic Development, and am sure it will be equally as exhilarating.
(SHPE goes bowling to de-stress after midterms!)
The best part about going to college, and USC in particular, is being able to meet people from all over the world that share the same interests and values as you do. It makes being at USC feel even more like home, and makes taking on engineering just a little easier. I am thankful for having found my familia within SHPE, and am sure that you will find yours amongst the 850 student organizations here at USC as well!