Engineering competition at the RLDC 2019. The winners were University of Arkansas, University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas at Arlington.

Alexandra Gutierrez is an undergraduate studying biomedical engineering. Below, she recounts her experiences at the Regional Leadership Development Conference held by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

My name is Alexandra Gutierrez, I am a senior biomedical engineering student and it was not until my junior year that I realized the importance of being involved with the different RSO on campus. I am currently part of the Panamanian Student Organization (PSO), American Indian Society of Sciences and Engineering (AISES), and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).

 In particular, I would like to share my experience at Regional Leadership Development Conference (RLDC) 2019, organized by SHPE and held at St. Mary’s University, University of Texas in San Antonio, TX. Soaring for success was the Conference’s main theme. At this conference, not only was I exposed to meeting new people, participating in an engineering competition, a protagonist of the multiple workshops held by SHPE to develop leadership skills, and part of a career fair for networking opportunities, but also RLDC participants were fully inspired to impact the community through STEM as well as guided by experienced leaders. At this conference, there were many interesting workshops, but the most relevant workshop sessions for me were:  “SHPEOLOGY” and “Hacking Your Professional Brand While Being Authentic”. “SHPEOLOGY” was conducted by Monique Herrera, the corporate director of relations and marketing of SHPE. In SHPEOLOGY, she explained that the Hispanic community in the workplace is reduced because there is a lack of knowledge from Hispanic people about the professional and leadership opportunities that are offered for Hispanics every year. Thus, it is important for more Hispanics to join this “Familia”, as she called it. Here, they can access these opportunities more easily. Raising awareness about the values and diversity Latinos to bring to places, such as the workplace and academia, might be an effective solution to diverse problems this society faces. With this solution, she invites every Hispanic to strive for the best and never give up while joining this organization to spread the word.


The University of Arkansas chapter was recognized as the most improved chapter in the region.


The other workshop was named: “Hacking Your Professional Brand While Being Authentic”, Rodney Tobares, the speaker from the Facebook Company. His message was based on building a community to bring more Latinos/Hispanics closer together through technology. During his years at the industry, he relied on the power of becoming his own brand, and he encourages everyone to do the same. Collectivism, sympathy, respect, cultural identity, fatalism, and paternalism have been the Latino cultural strips from which he has used to share his Hispanic heritage. He mentioned that we need to have defined steps in order to reach our goals. He suggested a platform called “Piazza”, which is designed to connect professionals and academia. The career fair was also an important component of this conference. Here, Hispanics were able to interact with professionals from a variety of companies, give their elevator pitch, and be led by professionals to their possible industry interests as well as academic paths.

Overall, these workshops brought more awareness to me and my desire to invite everyone to join this society while in college. I am thankful for having had the support from the BME department. Hispanics and any individual can benefit from events like this conference, and others such as the National conference coming in the fall of this year. Come and be part of our Familia!