During Hispanic Heritage month, so far, we have been raising awareness about people who identify as Latinx or of Hispanic heritage. From Jennifer Brown’s book How to Be an Inclusive Leader, the model of inclusivity starts with being unaware then moves to awareness than to being active. Today, we will explore how SWE is actively helping people who identify as Latinx/Hispanic provide ways that YOU can help those in your Latinx/Hispanic community!
How is SWE helping Latinx/Hispanic members?
- One of the most impactful ways SWE supports its Latinx/Hispanic members is by previously creating and now maintaining the SWE Latinos Affinity Group (AG). The group was created in 2015 to foster a community for those who identify as Latinx/Hispanic and their allies. The AG has its own team of leaders to provide support, networking, professional development, and personal development opportunities to its members. There are currently plans to start a mentoring program within the Latinos AG to reinforce the networking between collegiate and professional members within the AG. Participating in numerous AGs is a benefit of being a member of SWE and is available to all paid members. To learn more about becoming a member, visit the SWE membership page.
- SWE also partners with national organizations, such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), to provide continued personal and professional growth, networking, and discounted membership rates to its members. By doing so, at a reduced cost, members are encouraged to join both professional societies and increase their chances of success as engineers in their fields.
- SWE has recently appointed two special Directors to the SWE Board of Directors to increase the representation of women of color on the Board. SWE President Heather Doty has also made it a priority to incorporate Intentional Inclusion into the values of the society. Earlier in the summer two town halls were held specifically to amplify the voices of the women of color, listen to their experiences and concerns, and work with SWE leadership to better support these identities moving forward.
How can you help Latinx/Hispanic people in your community?
There are several ways to help the Latinx/Hispanic and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in your communities. Supporting these communities means providing ongoing support for their livelihood and success rather than a single thought or a one-time donation. Though those may be helpful, continued support, encouragement, and engagement will lead to a more inclusive environment for BIPOC in STEM and a better future for those young people looking to pursue STEM. Check out the organizations below to find some ways to support Latinx/Hispanic and BIPOC in STEM.
National Organizations that help Hispanic/Latinx and BIPOC in STEM:
- SWENext, SHPE Jr., National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Jr., and American Indian Sciences and Engineering Society (AISES) pre-college programs are all programs focused on increasing the involvement and retention of girls and young people of color into STEM fields. These programs aim to pique the interests of youngsters and support them on their journey through school and onto college.
- NSBE, AISES, SHPE, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), and Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) are professional organizations aimed at collegiate and professionals to create opportunities for networking, professional & personal development, and outreach for the specific demographics they represent. As previously mentioned, most organizations have programs targeted at K-12 students as well.
- When it comes to universities and other educational institutes there are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI), and other organizations like the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE), and the National GEM Consortium to support underrepresented minorities through their time in university and their success in higher education.
- Latinas in STEM, TECHNOLOchicas, Ciencias PR, US-Mexico Leaders Network, and SACNAS are some organizations to support current and future Latinx/Hispanic individuals in STEM careers.
- MANA, a National Latina Organization, ASPIRA, and Adelante Mujeres are organizations that aim to empower and grow leaders of Latinx/Hispanic Youth and encourage them to take charge of their futures.
- And many others! Look for organizations in your community that involve girls and young BIPOC and support their future success! Some simple ways are: be a mentor for high school students, support local scouting organizations, become a “Big” in Big Brothers, Big Sisters in your area, or start your own organization to meet the needs of the students near you.