Finding 'familia' with SHPE


Finding 'familia' with SHPE

Monica Fernandez

February 8, 2021

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) has always been my support system — even before I came to UIUC. As a junior in high school, I took part of their High School Visitation program where I got to learn about the different engineering majors, research, internships, and the various other opportunities that can be found within the university. It was because of SHPE that I became interested in UIUC and engineering. Once I stepped foot on campus, I instantly got involved with SHPE and felt the sense of "familia" that they heavily emphasize. The older members, now alumni, helped me develop my professional and academic skills. Being a Latina in engineering can be tough, it can be discouraging when no one in your class or group comes from the same background as you and the imposter syndrome begins to creep in, but my SHPE mentors gave me the reassurance I needed. Without SHPE, I wouldn't be where I'm at today! I was able to get my first internship my sophomore year through their networking events. As I prepare to graduate in May, I look back and I am grateful to have been part of an organization that gives back to the Latinx community. I have a full time offer after graduation and plan to continue giving back to my community in hopes to have the same impact that older SHPE members had on me!

My advice to incoming students is to (1) keep a planner or use google calendar, it'll help you stay organized (2) Learn the value of networking! And (3) if you like sushi, check out Sushi Ichiban for the low.