Interactive learning and hands-on workshops will help nearly 500 middle and high school students gain a better understanding of STEM education at The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) pre-college symposium to be held Nov. 1-2 at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.
Attendees will get to connect with representatives from 25 universities, corporations, and organizations and learn about scholarship programs, SHPE announced. Employers planning to visit campus include Chevron, General Motors, General Electric, ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and Hewlett Packard.
The effort is designed to expose students to different skill sets and career opportunities in STEM fields at a time when recruiting the next generation is essential to avoid a talent shortage in industries that depend on such workers.
Hispanics and other minorities are vastly underrepresented in STEM fields, national data show.
A report by the National Science Foundation noted that the science and engineering workforce is predominately white and male. In 2010, 51 percent of employees working in science and engineering occupations were white men, compared to 18 percent who were white women. Hispanic men (4 percent) and women (2 percent) accounted for 6 percent of workers in those occupations.
In another STEM-related event, the Texas A&M chapter of SHPE recently hosted “Noche Ciencias” or “Night of Science” at Bryan High School in Bryan, Texas.
Citllali Gomez, the director of external affairs for the society, told The Battalion, Texas A&M’s student publication, that the Night of Science (which launched in 2008) aims to raise STEM awareness among local Hispanic students and their parents.
“This opportunity will open doors for students who had never thought about going to college,” Gomez told the publication. “I have visited the school before and many students have an idea of what college is, but not a true definition. By having [the Texas A&M chapter] host this event, we as college students can help inspire them to pursue not only a college degree but a degree in the STEM fields.”
The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, which marks its 40th anniversary in 2014, was founded by a group of engineers in Los Angeles. The two-day Career Expo is part of the larger SHPE Conference, held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, the largest technical and career conference for Hispanics in the country.