The Five Pillars

SHPE | UIUC focuses on working to instill the five pillars of SHPE within its membership. Our programs and workshops are each related to at least one pillar in the interest of building well-rounded leaders. Below you'll find an explanation of each pillar and some of the things SHPE|UIUC does for each pillar.

Academic Development

As a chapter we are dedicated to academic excellence. Within our chapter there is a culture of tutoring and studying together. We offer open study hours where students can come in and collaborate with fellow SHPE member in reserved library rooms. Many SHPE members also utilize and go on to tutor for the MEP’s facilitated study groups. We host Study Lockdowns during Reading Day for the entire organization. During GBMs, we announce each semester the top 5 majors with the best GPA's and the class with the best GPA, to let the competition motivate each other to be better and to push underclassmen to ask for help.

Community Outreach

The chapter also tries to promote STEM awareness within the community. We have an ongoing Pen Pal program where undergraduate students write letters to children to expose them to science and engineering. Pen pals have gone on field trips together to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Also, the chapter, through our Outreach Committee, hosts High School Visitation days in the Fall and the Spring which bring students to the University of Illinois to see the campus in order to motivate them to go to college. We also participate in weekly tutoring at Urbana High School and in an after-school program called SHPE Jr. We invite the students on-campus during EOH and help them organize their own events.

Chapter Development

In order to maintain a strong chapter and a sense of familia we host General Body Meetings once a month. Our Executive Board presents information to and fields questions on subjects such as: mental health, teamwork, National Conference, team building, community building, involvement in SHPE, apartment hunting, how to prepare for career fairs, and more! The chapter also has an office in Engineering Hall where all of our members are invited to eat meals and study together daily. Furthermore, our MemberSHPE director is in charge of planning socials. Some of the annual traditions are: a corn maze race, Thanksgiving Potluck and Christmas Secret Santa exchange, paintball, a barbeque, and more!

Leadership Development

SHPE|UIUC works to make its members strong and capable leaders. We start early with our new member roundtable where students are exposed to planning and leading events (correlating with the Five Pillars) under supervision of our Internal Vice President. As members gain experience, we encourage them to take on more responsibilities whether by leading a team on a project or running for a position on the executive board. The chapter also has a PartnerSHPE program where mentors and mentees are partnered up. Furthermore, each year there are numerous workshops and a Leadership Retreat is held annually to help teach our members how to become the future leaders of SHPE.

Professional Development

The SHPE National Conference is the main professional event in which our chapter participates. Annually, we send as many students possible where they attend a Career Fair, workshops and network with alumni during dinner and a Pow Wow. Our External Committee works hard to plan workshops: resume critiques and mock interviews. The chapter has resources to assist members searching for internships, co-ops, job shadows, or research opportunities. Last year, Conference was hosted at Seattle, WA and this year it will be hosted at Kansas City, MO.

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Chapter History

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers chapter at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign was established during the 1985-1986 academic year by David Comparan, Carlos Martinez, and Perfecto Perales. The chapter was initiated to help and meet the needs of Hispanic students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The new chapter then made its way to the National Conference in Los Angeles, California, the origin of the first SHPE chapter. Since then, SHPE|UIUC has retained the same vision of bringing together underrepresented students who share the values of heritage, social responsibility, and the desire to improve the quality of all people through the use of science, math, engineering, and technology.

During the 1993-1994 academic year, Ivan Favila led SHPE|UIUC to create the Engineering Open House team, High School Outreach programs, and the Freshmen Round Table. Years after, the High School Visitation and mentorship programs were started and aimed to develop the chapter’s members. Today, Ivan Favila continues to support SHPE|UIUC as assistant dean for the College of Engineering and director of the Morrill Engineering Program.


SHPE | UIUC has been recognized at university and national levels for its accomplishments as a chapter. Here a few recents awards in summary:

Year Award
2016 Region Six Outstanding Chapter
2016 EWeek 5-Man Team Champions
2015 EWeek 10-Man Team Champions
2014 Region Six Chapter of the Year
2014 Relampago Award of Achievement
2013 Academic Olympiad National Champions

Regional and National Collaboration

In 2002, the chapter hosted the first Regional Leadership Development Conference (RLDC). This event hosted 575 students and professionals combined and it acquired $100,000 in funds. The next Rldc was hosted during the Spring of 2008. With professionalism growing rapidly within the society, the chapter continued to increase its efforts in community service. The SHPE|UIUC chapter developed the first ever Leadership Retreat in the Spring of 2010, held its first Noche de Ciencias program, and laid the foundation for the SHPE Jr. chapter that began Fall of 2010. In addition to these great programs, SHPE|UIUC has had a strong presence at the National Conferences and has been successful in the Academic Olympiad, Technical Paper, and Poster competitions. This coming Spring 2016, SHPE|UIUC is excited to work with SHPE National and SHPE Chicago for a new national development.

Recent Developments

Most recently, SHPE|UIUC has directed its efforts in greater community service and high school outreach. In 2013, led by SHPE alumnus Cesar Martinez, the chapter established a strong connection with A.O. Marshall Elementary School in the Pen Pal program. The students and their parents now visit campus every spring to tour the campus, learn about STEM through hands-on activites, hear about the opportunities of college, and meet their Pen Pals. The chapter also collaborates with Engineering Council to participate in the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge every spring break, where volunteers dedicate their week off to construct a house for those in need. Along with its outreach and service, the chapter has been working closely with La Casa Cultura Latina to revisit its Hispanic roots and expand its network of university students.

The society has had a record high number in membership (117), High School Visitation participants (over 50 total for Spring and Fall), and National (50) and Regional (15) Conference attendees were accomplished this past year, 5 of which were freshman. Through much of SHPE|UIUC's effort, the Hispanic retention rate has been the highest of all ethnicities within the College of Engineering for the past year and a half at 78.9%.