National Institute for Leadership Advancement

For more than thirty years, SHPE has used our National Institute for Leadership Advancement (NILA) to build a strong foundation of leadership among our ranks across the nation.

The NILA 2019 conference was designed to give SHPE’s chapter and regional leaders an opportunity to engage with other students and young professionals from across the country and develop a variety of skills to help them better lead their local SHPE chapters. By inviting participation only from incoming chapter leadership, SHPE convenes some of our Familia’s best and brightest rising stars in an intensive planning retreat. In other words, this leadership conference is for the leaders of the leaders.

Participants are engaged morning through night in workshops and strategy sessions geared toward strengthening chapter programming and engagement. These workshops are often sponsored by SHPE partner organizations, including a workshop on emotional intelligence hosted by the National Security Agency. Other companies that hosted workshops included Procter & Gamble, Honeywell, and Accenture.

This is also the first year that we executed a corporate social responsibility activity at NILA. Throughout the conference, event participants packed hundreds of backpacks with scissors, glue sticks, and other school supplies. Thanks to this effort, SHPE donated 600 backpacks filled with school supplies to the kids of Academia Del Pueblo.

Academia Del Pueblo Principal Frank Lomeli said, “Our kiddos come to us with varying degrees of trauma, and the antidote to that is love. The love you’ve shown our school by the generous donation of backpacks helps us deliver that very important antidote. We thank you for that.”

Another new experience for 2019 was the opportunity for attendees to tour a local driving range and learn about the business of golf. This was a first for many of our members as they don’t come from families that play golf. It was an exciting new component for this particular conference.

We also changed up what was previously known as “Case Studies” for 2019. This year it was replaced with a challenge called, “LeaderSHPE in Action.” The LeaderSHPE in Action Competition is an experiential activity where student attendees applied the knowledge and tools learned at NILA to solve real world problems. Teams were tasked to bring forward solutions that respond to and address one of the 14 Grand Engineering Challenges of the 21st Century found at The competition was designed so the challenges and associated solutions harness the perspectives, insights, and talents of Hispanics in STEM.

In total, NILA 2019 certified 183 Chapter Leaders. For 43% of participants, this was their Chapter’s first NILA ever, and 66% of attendees were first generation college students. After 4-days of intensive learning, critical strategizing and hands-on problem solving, we are confident that our SHPE “Leaders of Leaders” are ready to be invincible in the coming year.


“Overall such an amazing experience that I will never forget. I have so much more passion and a new perspective not only in SHPE affairs, but in my own personal affairs too. I absolutely loved the experience overall and would not hesitate to recommend it to future leaders.”

SHPE Member