PHOENIX, May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Conference will land in Phoenix this fall, providing engineering talent the chance to hone their professional, technical and engineering skills, network with Fortune 500 companies, and win scholarships through academic and hands-on competitions. The SHPE conference is the largest conference of Hispanics in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related fields. Approximately 5,000 Hispanic students, professionals, corporate representatives, educators and community leaders from Phoenix and throughout the United States are expected to attend the SHPE Conference taking place Nov. 12-16 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Now in its 32nd year, the nation's largest technical conference for Hispanics offers a lineup of educational, technical, networking and career programs encouraging pre-college students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math careers and supporting college students and professionals already on that course. A new component in 2008 targets educators in STEM fields. The AHETEMS Pre-College Symposia, named after the Advancing Hispanic Excellence in Technology, Engineering, Math and Science (AHETEMS) educational foundation of SHPE, will be co-hosted by SHPE and The University of Arizona in Tucson. More than 200 local middle school students and 800 high school students from the area and across the nation will take part in the symposia, which will include hands-on activities, motivational speakers, a university fair, and college scholarship and financial aid information. Most activities will take place in Phoenix, but high school students will have the opportunity to visit The University of Arizona college campus in Tucson. The symposia are an addition to the collaborations between SHPE/AHETEMS and The University of Arizona, as the groups also partner on a SciTech summer camp for high school students. SHPE/AHETEMS plan to continue strengthening their presence in the Phoenix and Tucson areas with more student competitions, increased membership in local student and professional chapters, and additional SHPE Jr. Chapters for high school students. The University of Arizona is 19th in the nation in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics. In 2006, approximately 12.3 percent of Hispanics in the United States had college degrees, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. "SHPE and its educational foundation, AHETEMS, are dedicated to providing educational advances to the students we serve, much like The University of Arizona," said Rafaela Schwan, director of programs for AHETEMS. "Our individual missions and goals for increasing the number of students interested in pursuing engineering and science-related careers are synergistic. We are proud to have the university as our academic host for a conference that will serve so many local students as well as students who might return to the area to pursue higher education in the near future."
Additional highlights of the SHPE Conference in Phoenix include: -- AHETEMS STEM Teaching Enrichment Program offers training in hands-on enrichment classroom activities tied to state standards for Arizona teachers -- A myriad of awards honoring professionals, educators, graduate and undergraduate students, and high school students -- Academic, professional, career and leadership workshops -- Competitions including the National Academic Olympiad Show, Extreme Engineering, Design Competition, and Technical Competitions -- Specialized graduate student institute and a graduate school preparation program -- Salute to Corporate America Luncheon, honoring SHPE's corporate partners -- Gala Banquet honoring SHPE's "Company of the Year" and role models winning the 2008 STAR (or SHPE Technical Achievement Recognition) Awards -- A career Fair attended by more than 300 of the nation's top companies and organizations offering full-time and internship opportunities -- Professional development series as well as certification tracks and new green engineering program -- Corporate tours The Hispanic population is the youngest and fastest growing segment of the US population but this growth is not reflected in scientific and technical professions. Hispanics comprised only 5.5 percent of the science and engineering workforce in 2006, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. Though targeted to Hispanics, the SHPE Conference addresses the United States' growing need for engineering talent as a whole. According to the National Science Foundation, if nothing is done, a rapid decline in the science and engineering labor force's growth rate is expected over the next decade, resulting in a fundamental change for the U.S. economy. SHPE is the source for quality Hispanic engineers and technical talent, committed to enhancing America's position in science, technology, engineering, and math, with a strong and talented Hispanic workforce. For registration and other information, visit http://www.shpe.org. The AHETEMS Foundation directs and develops informal science education, educational enrichment, college awareness initiatives and college prep programs for Hispanic pre-college, undergraduate and graduate students. For more information, please visit http://www.ahetems.org.
SOURCE Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers