When Sparks Fly: Hispanic Engineers Aim to Inspire Young Minds in Philadelphia Oct. 31 - Nov. 4

5,000 students, professionals expected at nation's largest Hispanic

technical conference

Oct 30, 2007, 01:00 ET from Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

    PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- At the Society of Hispanic
 Professional Engineers (SHPE) Conference this fall, attendees will have the
 chance to meet famous people, network with Fortune 500 companies and win a
 college scholarship after staying up all night building a secret project.
     Approximately 5,000 Hispanic students, professionals, corporate
 representatives and community leaders from Philadelphia and throughout the
 United States are expected to attend the SHPE Conference Oct. 31-Nov. 4,
 taking place primarily at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Now in its
 31st 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 to support college students and professionals already
 on that course.
     The Hispanic population continues to increase at a rapid pace --
 especially among young people -- but the growing population is not
 reflected in scientific and technical professions. According to the U.S.
 Department of Labor, Hispanics represented 13.1 percent of the total labor
 force in 2005, but only 5.8 percent of engineers. SHPE President Diana
 Gomez, a California-based electrical engineer, hopes the conference's
 pre-college programs will make a positive impact on the 600 Philadelphia
 middle and high school students attending.
     "With the critical need for engineering talent in the U.S., we really
 want to spark an interest in math and science among Hispanic students of
 Philadelphia," Gomez said. "We hope that, with encouragement from
 like-minded peers and experienced adults, the students who attend the
 conference will be inspired to become the next generation of the city's --
 or the world's -- engineering workforce. The opportunities, scholarships,
 financial aid -- all of those things are available for Hispanic students
 with the drive and discipline to go after their dreams."
     Highlights of the SHPE Conference in Philadelphia include:
     -- A pre-college program expected to bring in 300 Philadelphia-area middle
        school students and 600 high school students from Philadelphia and
        nationwide, complete with hands-on science experiments and information
        on college scholarships and financial aid -- NASA astronaut Jose
        Hernandez is invited to attend
     -- Competitions including the National Academic Olympiad Show (played in
        the spirit of the famed TV game show Jeopardy!), Ultimate SHPE
        Challenge, Web Coding Competition, Design Competition, and Technical
        Paper Competition
     -- Specialized graduate student institute and a graduate school
        preparation program
     -- Salute to Corporate America Luncheon, honoring SHPE's corporate
     -- Gala Banquet emceed by Shayla Rivera, an engineer and comedienne who
        has starred on Univision, Galavision and Telemundo, and featuring a
        keynote address by Victor Gonzalez, who escaped the poverty, drugs,
        gangs and violence of one of Chicago's worst neighborhoods and
        eventually became CEO of a multi-million dollar high-tech equipment
        manufacturing company.  The Gala Banquet also will honor SHPE's
        "Company of the Year" and 11 role models winning the 2007 STAR (or
        SHPE Technical Achievement Recognition) Awards.
     -- Career Fair attended by more than 200 of the nation's top companies and
        organizations offering full-time and internship opportunities
     -- Professional development strategy series
     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, 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. "One step at a time, we are trying
 to fill talented people with exceptional jobs, and our Career Expo has been
 a successful avenue for those connections," Gomez said. "It's incredibly
 exciting to hear back from college graduates who have landed jobs from
 making contacts during our Career Fair. Through our Career Fair, our
 innovative national conference, and all of our national outreach programs,
 we truly believe we can make a difference in helping Hispanics and our
 nation at large."
     SHPE is the source for quality Hispanic engineers and technical talent,
 committed to enhancing America's position in math, science, engineering and
 technology with a strong and talented Hispanic workforce. For registration
 and other information, visit http://www.shpe.org.

SOURCE Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers