It all began at the on-campus club fair in Fall 2017. I was eager to get involved with USC’s clubs and organizations, but I had no idea how one club in particular would change my college experience. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) had a table set-up with a bunch of photos showing off their social gatherings at KBBQ, general body meetings with engineering companies, and outreach events with kids from the area around USC. SHPE had it all! I put my email on their newsletter list and attended the first meeting later that week.
Pretty soon after joining SHPE, I applied to be a part of the New Student Advisory Board. This was a group of new students tasked with organizing and planning events for other new members in SHPE. The group connected me with the other people in my class who are now some of my closest friends. It also placed me into the SHPE Outreach committee, and I loved it so much I am a director for the committee this year!
For SHPE Outreach, we plan and organize multiple events throughout the school year for local Hispanic students. We get to lead engineering projects, mentor high school students, and interact with the families of students. It ended up being the perfect way for me to take engineering into the realm of community service, and my experiences in Outreach have been some of my most meaningful college memories.
When I was deciding where to go to college, I never put that much thought into how a diverse community would make me feel more at home. Being surrounded by so many hispanic engineers has given me a community where I feel accepted and supported. I am constantly seeking out older members for advice about which engineering classes to take, or asking for help with tricky homework problems. The best part is that when I don’t feel like working on school things I know I can always take a break to laugh or cry with my SHPE familia.