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:
||Region Six Outstanding Chapter
||EWeek 5-Man Team Champions
||EWeek 10-Man Team Champions
||Region Six Chapter of the Year
||Relampago Award of Achievement
||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.
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%.