Nationwide non-profit guides Fresno engineering students through their careers

Although they are intentional in providing support to Latino students, everyone is welcome to apply.

Kassandra Gutierrez Image
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
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The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers offers scholarships, mentoring and support for engineering students.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Diana Gomez and Benjamin Camarena have been engineers in California for more than 30 years.

Both are Fresno State graduates and children of farmworkers.

They are also lifelong members of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers or SHPE.

It is a nationwide non-profit that offers scholarships, mentoring and support for engineering students.

Camarena believes it helped shape his career.

"I came from Mexico when I was 12 or 13. And I had no idea I was gonna get here. It's incredible that looking back SHPE allowed me to do a whole lot of things that I would not have had an opportunity to do," says Camarena.

Camarena is the Design & Construction Manager for California's High Speed Rail project.

Gomez is the first Latina Caltrans Director of District 6.

She grew up in Parlier, and remembers not having the option to take physics or calculus in high school.

Gomez recalls, "Once I got to Fresno State, I had to start in trigonometry. And I couldn't get into the first physics classes, and so SHPE was there to help."

SHPE gave Gomez and Camarena the support system they needed to succeed.

Many of the non-profit's 10,000 members have a similar story.

"Having those role models seeing people that are engineers that look like you and talk like you and have a similar background.. it helps you get there." says Camarena.

SHPE will give about a million dollars in scholarships this year.

Although they are intentional in providing support to Latino students, everyone is welcome to apply.