NJIT’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) had 30 members travel to Detroit, Michigan to attend a national conference. Three members of SHPE tell the Vector of their experiences during the trip.
“This is a conference that we have every year in different locations, this year being the Cobo Center. The conference promotes diversity in the STEM field, uniting people of Hispanic descent while also being inclusive of those from different backgrounds. It provides opportunities for all.
We arrived very early, the conference began on Thursday Morning, but we arrived at 6PM on Wednesday. We had the whole day to ourselves to relax before the start of the conference.
We got the chance to talk with chapters from other schools. There were personalized workshops that you could go to for networking with everyone and establishing connections. One of us (Carlos Estrada) even got the chance to participate in an engineering competition.
One of the best things about the conference is the career fair. There is a huge career fair at the SHPE conference with over 200 companies, along with hundreds of opportunities to network with all of them. There are hospitality suites, which are events held by companies every night, where companies invite potential employees to eat some food and get to know the company.
It was a great experience, I liked going to workshops and talking to companies that I was interested in. “
Participant of Extreme Engineer
“When I got there, I signed up immediately for the competition the Extreme Engineer. It’s a competition that a lot of SHPE chapters participate in. In the competition, SHPE chapters mix to form diverse teams that work together to solve a problem. This year, we had to create an innovative product, taken from infancy as an idea to something worthy of retail.
The competition starts with interviewing 10 companies, who asked me questions about myself and any projects I might have worked on. They then stamped a paper that proves that I spoke to them, and assigned me the number 10.
Eventually, the 10 companies began to choose candidates for teams based on ability. I was called to be part of the army’s group, and had teammates from Penn State and Drexel University. Our group decided to build a Beach Party Cooler.
The competition started at 12AM, that night. It went on for 24 hours, so I missed the first block of activities in the conference. The first challenge in the event was about presenting the organization, and conception. The second phase was focused on the business strategy, while the third was marketing. We did a ton of things, including making several social networking accounts to promote our product.
We ended up putting a seat, Bluetooth speakers, cup holders and sand wheels on our product to promote its ability to serve as a party and comfort beach cooler.
At the end, we didn’t win, but the competition was still worth it. When I went to the career fair later on, letting them know that I was part of the extreme engineering competition was very great for networking. Everyone that I told was really interested in me, and I was able to get a lot of interviews with companies like CH2M HILL, Burns & McDonnell, Jacobs Engineering, and ACOM. ”
IT Google intern
“I thought that the conference was great. You’re able to network with a lot of people; it is a good way to meet professionals from different companies. I was invited to a luncheon, and I went to the star awards ceremony and sat at the Intel table.
During breaks, we got a chance to see the city. Around the conference area, I was able to meet with people that I met at the regional conference.
I got an internship at Google. They contacted me two days before the career fair, and they said that they wanted me to send them an updated resume and my transcripts. They wanted me to choose a time when I could interview with them. I had my first interview on Thursday of the conference, and they later extended me an offer to work as an IT intern at the company.
If students want internships, network and to be involved on campus. Everyone is looking for leaders and people who take action. Attend things like the SHPE conference, it is really helpful. There is definitely a lot of opportunity here. I think that the best thing to do is to prepare for surprises. You never know who you’re going to meet. It is great for an internship!
Corrections: In the print edition, there the article title is “Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers Heads to National Conference.” The organization’s actual title is “The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).” The print edition also has an error with the locations of these conferences: they do not take place in the Cobo Center every year, they happen in different locations.