Cyclone Engineering leaders of the Iowa State chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) are dedicated to two goals: serving as a resource for Hispanic engineering students – and broadening the Hispanic community’s participation in STEM.
On campus, SHPE members work together to develop professional skills through networking opportunities, informational meetings and social interactions.
Beyond campus, SHPE partners with school districts and industry partners to reach out to Hispanic families. One example: Andres Ceballos, the president of SHPE and an electrical engineering major, and Roxanna Arreola, a chair member of SHPE and a biosystems engineering major, offered a Noche de Ciencias (Night of Sciences) event to families of sixth-12th grade West Des Moines Community School District students at Indian Hills Junior High.
“We want to engage and inspire the Hispanic youth to pursue STEM,” Ceballos said. “Our mission is to have Hispanics highly valued in the workplace and engineering, so this event builds that for youth from the ground up.”
As a daughter of two immigrants from Mexico, Arreola wants to serve as an inspirational figure for the younger generation of children interested in going into engineering, similar to the inspirations she had.
“There were lots of things that have held me back in the past in terms of pursuing engineering, and I know I wish I had Noche de Ciencias when I was younger,” Arreola said. “It’s really important to me – and I’m thankful to be able to be that inspiration for other kids.”
SHPE partnered with John Deere, Collins Aerospace and Coretval engineers – many of whom are former passionate Cyclone Engineering SHPE members.
As the volunteers set up hands-on activities, they also shared their experiences growing up as Hispanic people in STEM, serving as another form of inspiration for future engineers.
“I really hope events like the Noche de Ciencias influence students to try Iowa State’s engineering program and SHPE because STEM should be experienced in a diverse, supportive environment,” Ceballos said.