National Convention

The SHPE National Convention serves as the country’s largest gathering of Hispanic STEM students and professionals, offering a unique opportunity to engage, support, educate, and advance the careers of Hispanic students and professionals. In 2019, we encouraged all who are invested in Hispanics in STEM – students, professionals, academics, parents, hiring managers, and recruiters – to join us for an inspirational and transformational five days at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona from October 30 – November 3.

Visionary Sponsors, Honeywell and American Express, supported SHPE as we designed a program both responsive and predictive of our Familia’s needs and growth.

In a continued effort to help our members find programming that addressed their specific interests, we offered five individual conferences within the Convention.  Each one aligns with our national programs: Pre-College, Professionals in STEM, Academic, SHPEtinas: Igniting Latinas in STEM, and Tech & Innovation.  Participants could stick to one conference or pick and choose from the sessions within each.

Convention is not just a time to come together to share ideas and knowledge.  It is a place where the American STEM workforce is literally transformed. Hundreds of young Hispanics interviewed for positions at some of the world’s best and most innovative companies. This was their chance to get their foot in the door; to land their dream job; to take their career to the next level. They put themselves on the line—revealing who they are, what they’re made of, and all that they have to offer—and for that they deserve our utmost respect and well wishes.

A record 9,128 people attended the National Convention this year. That’s a 19% increase over 2018 (which, it should be noted, was also a record).  As SHPE National grows, so too does our network—our Familia. We are more than just a member organization; we’re a national force in STEM.


“For anyone who hasn’t gone, I would emphasize how inspiring it is to be surrounded by other students who look like and are just as driven as them. This is a great opportunity to network with other students from across the country and to network with companies that they’re interested in working for one day.”​

SHPE Member

By Type

Undergraduate 49%
Exhibitor/Sponsor 33%
Pre-college 4%
Graduate 4%
Professional 3%
Other 7%

By Gender

Female 31%
Male 69%

Undergraduate Majors

Mechanical Engineering 28%
Computer Sciences 18%
Electrical Engineering 11%
Chemical Engineering 8%
Industrial Engineering 6%
Civil Engineering 7%
Biomedical/Medical Engineering 4%
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineer 4%
Other STEM 8%
Other/Undecided 6%

By Region


THANK YOU to our 2019 National Convention Committee!

It takes a village! We’re so grateful to our talented team of volunteers who sacrifice so much of their time in order to ensure that attendees get the maximum return on their investment in the convention.

Some highlights from this year’s Convention include:
Pre-College Conference

Pre-College Conference

Our Pre-College Conference expanded to 2 tracks this year and included the Engineering Design Challenge for our high school participants. Students worked in teams of 3-6 to create a new algorithm for creating a paper airplane in the fewest steps. They walked away learning valuable skills in design thinking, technical creativity, teamwork, and how to “fail fast.”



New to 2019 was our STEM Expo. This program provided students with the opportunity to see different STEM projects produced by participating universities, helping them set expectations and build excitement around the possibilities of higher-education. As students visited the different booths, they were also able to practice interacting with university students and academic professionals.

Entrepreneurship Track

Entrepreneurship Track

The Technology & Innovation Conference welcomed a fully-developed Entrepreneurship Track with 5 workshops, including a crossover session with the Professionals in STEM Conference. Together, they aligned the objectives of “Identifying Your Side Hustle” and brought this important message to both tracks.

Parent Track

Parent Track

Parent Track: A new track for parents called “Padres de los Ingenieros del Mañana” was introduced and conducted solely in Spanish. The track provided a full-day of education and resources for caretakers to support their deeper understanding of SHPE, STEM, and college access.

Additional Notable Additions & Indicators

Additional Notable Additions & Indicators

  • In an effort to keep our finger on the pulse of our membership’s interests, we always take note of the most popular sessions of the Convention. This year’s most in-demand sessions were the Engineering Science Symposium, LGBTQ Track, and Tech Theater.
  • The Academic Conference had many sessions that were standing-room only; indicating its ever growing importance to our membership.
  • The Community College Track achieved a highly-rated program this year. Under the umbrella topic of “Rapid Change,” the 4 sessions were rated 4.6 out of a 5 cumlatively.
  • The SHPEtinas Conference included a new networking session called “Cafecito con SHPEtinas,”and it was well received. Overall, SHPEtinas spotlight series continues to be very popular.
  • The Professionals in STEM Conference added a financial wellness workshop titled, “Are You Intentional with Your Money” with the goal of helping participants plan for long-lasting wealth.
Tech & Innovation Competitions

Tech & Innovation Competitions

Housed within the Tech & Innovation Conference, another hands-on aspect of the Convention was our competition series, where attendees test their skills in five different competitions for both prizes and bragging rights. It was so inspiring to see these future leaders rise to the occasion—something we know they’ll continue to do.

Highlights from the competitions include:

Innovation Challenge – Engineering With a Purpose

For 2019 we focused on creating technology for good. Leaders from a local homeless shelter came to visit and challenged our students to create something that could aid the homeless population in becoming financially sufficient and receive donations digitally. Students designed tools that benefited unbanked populations, homelessness and more. We crossed over 300 participants this year (up from 223 in 2018).


First Place $8,000

  • Team Ctrl-Alt-Defeat
  • Fernando Prado, University of Houston
  • Ricardo Useche, University of Houston
  • Cash DeLeon, University of Houston
  • Justin Santos, University of Houston
  • Karla Lemus, University of Houston
  • Shabab Karim, University of Houston

Second Place $4,000

  • Team Guardia
  • Yash Dharmamer, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ayush Goyal, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Chris Carbajal, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Sergio Rodriguez, University of Illinois at Chicago

Third Place $2,500

  • Team Food Hope
  • Alejandro Andrade, Penn State
  • Eduardo Villa, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Randy Blanco, Penn State
  • Enmanuel Salgado alies el EJ, Penn State

Cyber Security Challenge – NEW!

This new challenge known as Capture the Flag was built to accommodate all types of engineers. We had 125 participants sign-up to directly compete with the National Security Agency and U.S. Marine Corps. Students perform tasks to solve problems such as data encryption, data decryption, penetration testing of specific hardware and or software, and/or defend their territory with software code.


First Place $1500

  • Beau Smith Texas State University
  • Juan Pablo Tierradentro Texas State University
  • Gustavo Madero Texas State University
  • Nicholas Mullen Texas State University

Second Place $1000

  • Jafeth Zuniga Texas State University
  • Victor Calixtro Texas State University
  • Uriel Lua Texas State University

Third Place $500

  • Michael Washington , Boston University
  • William Antonio-Gutierrez , University of Wisconsin – Madison

Extreme Engineering

This is a nonstop 24-hour competition that simulates an accelerated engineering working scenario. We had close to 1,000 registered students participate. There were 600 job offerings as a result of this competition – more placements than ever before.


Winning Team $8,000

The Orange Team, sponsored and led by Raytheon, won first place:

  • Katerina Garcia, Texas A&M University
  • Rudee Vasquez, Texas A&M University
  • Christopher Ambrose, Pasadena City College
  • Cole Trost, Saint Louis University
  • Duncan Ross, University of Florida
  • Herman Gonzalez, University of Florida
  • Rodrigo Mascarenhas, Houston Community College
  • Frank Montelongo, East Los Angeles College
  • Isabella Perez, Pennsylvania State University
  • Edwardivan Labarca, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico

The Red Team, sponsored and led by United Technologies Corporation, took second place; and the Blue Team, representing The Boeing Company, came in third.

Extreme Engineer $2,000

  • Chris Ambrose, Pasadena City College, Orange Team

Lead Engineers $1,500

  • Angel Calderon, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Tech, Blue Team
  • Mandy Cheung, Pasadena City College, Blue Team
  • Julio Marquez-Montez, New Mexico State University, Yellow Team
  • Omar Ramirez, University of Texas – Tyler, Red Team

And thank you to General Motors for sponsoring the Yellow Team, John Deere for sponsoring the Green Team, and Chevron for sponsoring the Black Team!

Nissan Design Challenge

2019 brought some changes to the Nissan Design Competition. Attendees were challenged to develop and refine an idea related to automotive safety. Over the course of three days, competitors took part in a presentation skills workshop, one-on-one resume critique sessions, and mock interviews with Nissan leaders and other engineering industry giants. The top three teams were awarded up to $10,000, and the winners were also given summer internship offers with Nissan.


First Place $10,000

Bonnie De Almeida, Rutgers University

  • Eric Torres, Rice University
  • Ricardo Vela, University of North Texas

Second Place $5,000

  • Gerardo Flores, University of Arizona
  • Maximiliano Perez, Texas Tech University
  • Claudia Gurrola, Purdue University

Third Place $2,500

  • Al Tareen, Houston Community College
  • Alexander Gastelum, New Mexico State University
  • Edwin Matias, Texas A&M University, College Station

Engineering Science Symposium

Consisting of two main events, the Research Presentation Competition and Poster Competition, the Symposium unveiled some of the most exciting advancements in engineering and science research conducted by SHPE members. Research presentations were given in conjunction with faculty presentations, which allowed us to cultivate a mentorship atmosphere during the presentations. Posters were set up in a high-traffic hallway to increase visibility, and presentations were made one-on-one between participants and judges.


Poster Presentation

  • 1st: Juan Correa, University of Pittsburgh
  • 2nd: Luis Sotelo Martin, University of California, Davis
  • 3rd: Ashley Mitchell, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Oral Presentation

  • 1st: Arynn Gallegos, University of Southern California
  • 2nd: Juan Ortiz, University of Houston
  • 3rd: Isabel Gallegos, Stanford University
STAR Awards

STAR Awards

We also proudly recognized our 2019 SHPE Technical Achievement and Recognition (STAR) Award recipients during the Convention. These prestigious awards honor outstanding professionals for their dedication, commitment, and selfless efforts to grow and advance Hispanics in STEM careers. Honoree highlights include:

(scroll over)

Diana Ortega, General Motors, Jaime Oaxaca Award
Highest national award presented by SHPE to a SHPE member, this prestigious award recognizes the honoree’s selfless and outstanding contributions in the fields of engineering and science to the Hispanic community over an extended period of time.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa, NASA, Dr. Ellen Ochoa Award
Debuting this year, the Dr. Ellen Ochoa Award is reserved for a Hispanic female engineer or scientist who has made outstanding contributions in the fields of aerospace engineering including management, administration, technology, and education.
Sylvia Acevedo, Girl Scouts USA, Rubén Hinojosa STEM Champion Award
Honors community and philanthropic leaders with a proven legacy of passionately supporting Hispanics in STEM.
U.S. Department of Energy, Government Agency of the Year Award
Recognizes a government agency for its endorsement of STEM awareness, access, support, and development initiatives; and their commitment to ensuring Hispanics are highly valued as influential leaders of emerging technologies.
Accenture, Company of the Year Award
Recognizes a company’s outstanding commitment to empower Hispanics through STEM awareness, access, support, and development; and their commitment to ensuring Hispanics are highly valued as influential leaders in STEM.

Student Chapter Awards

Chapter of the Year Awards

Texas A&M University, College Station

University of California, Irvine

University of Tulsa

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Region 1

University of Southern California
Region 2

City College New York
Region 4

University of Texas, El Paso
Region 5

Illinois Institute of Technology
Region 6

University of Florida
Region 7

Santa Clara University
Most Improved Chapter

California State University, Sacramento
Outstanding Professional Development

East Los Angeles College
Outstanding Leadership Development

New York University
Outstanding Chapter Development

University of Illinois, Chicago
Outstanding Outreach Development

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Outstanding Academic Development

Advisor of the Year Awards

Hernan Maldonado – Cal State, Fresno
Region 1

Amy Foote – Greater San Fernando Valley
Region 2

Idalis Villanueva – Utah State University
Region 3

Jose O. Rivera – Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico
Region 4

June E. Keller – Houston Community College
Region 5

Carlos Dominguez – Morton College
Region 6

Julieta Vallejos – Florida Int’l University
Region 7

Professional Chapter Awards

Chapter of the Year Awards

San Diego Professional

Fort Worth, TX (Lockheed Martin)

Fresno Professional

San Francisco Bay Area Professional
Region 1

Los Angeles Professional
Region 2

Dallas Professional
Region 5

Silicon Valley Professional
Outstanding Professional Development

South Bay Los Angeles Professional
Outstanding Outreach Development

Houston Professional Chapter
Outstanding Leadership Development Award

While these highlights are certainly impressive, it is impossible to fully capture the overwhelming success of this year’s Convention.  2019 truly felt like a transformative year.  We celebrated record membership and convention attendance, inaugural initiatives, a bevy of programs and partnerships, and, not to mention, a new logo, tagline, and website.  Yet “The Power of Transformation” isn’t the climax or culmination of SHPE’s story, but the first chapter in a new, more empowering narrative.  One where SHPE ensures there’s awareness of and access to the many future-centric STEM opportunities coming to the global workforce.