Event kindles Hispanic high school students’ interest in engineering

The population of Hispanic people in the United States is on the rise—yet of all the people who work in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, the percentage of Hispanic people lies stagnant below 10 percent.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison student chapter of the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE-UW) hopes to change that.

In April 2017, SHPE-UW spearheaded an annual event called Latinos Exploring Engineering Professions (LEEP) that brought students from Madison- and Milwaukee-area high schools to the UW-Madison College of Engineering to learn more about careers in engineering.

“The goal is to encourage students who typically wouldn’t see themselves pursuing engineering and show them the possibilities,” say Jose Renteria, SHPE-UW’s outreach coordinator.

Students from Carmen High School of Science and Technology, Alexander Hamilton High School, Riverside University High School, Madison East High School and Madison West High School attended the event. And, although all students were welcome, most of the students who attended the event were Hispanic, including second-generation United States citizens and first-generation college students.

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