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UTPA Engineering Club brings home national prize
Posted: 01/24/2003
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Members of the Society of Hispanic Engineers have just returned to The University of Texas-Pan American after garnering top honors in New Orleans at a national competition held January 8-12.

Members of the Society of Hispanic Engineers display the trophy that was recently won at national competition.

The aspiring students won the national title for being the most active college club of its kind beating out some impressive engineering schools in the process.

"This is a real honor. Previous chapters that have won this title are MIT, Southern Cal, and UCLA. It proves that The University of Texas-Pan American can compete with large universities," club president Fred Perez said.

For the competition the group put together and submitted a book outlining the year's achievements and activities. They included information on seminars and educational conferences the students have attended. The students also put together information on all their fundraising efforts. The students also wrote about their regional math competitions organized on the UTPA campus to get Rio Grande Valley High School students interested in math and engineering.

"The outreach into the middle schools and high schools is very important work for our organization. We're seeing results. We're seeing more and more Valley students entering our engineering school because of our efforts," said Perez.

The Society of Hispanic Engineers was also recognized for having one of the largest memberships. Currently the club boasts 198 members - the largest such club in the state of Texas and the third largest in the country.

Ana Zavala - a Junior who serves as vice president - says she's impressed with members' efforts to organize their schedules to keep up with the club's busy schedule.

"It's difficult keeping up your grades and finding the time to be involved in all our activities. Our members are very active and that's why we're a success," chapters," said Zavala.

Members of the Society of Hispanic Engineers say they work to support each other through a sometimes stringent curriculum in part by forming study groups. They say they are developing leadership skills that will help them in their future careers.

"Having leadership skills is going to give you an edge when you're out there up against someone that's looking for the same job you are," said Senior Alex Salinas.

The Society of Hispanic Engineers already has big plans on the agenda for this year. Members will be traveling to Austin for a student leadership conference this March.

And in the next few months the group has plans to start Jr. Chapters of their organization in high schools throughout the Valley. ###