November 2, 2023
Giuliana Fagre Guerriero is a BME senior leading U-M’s student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
“Our goal is to empower the Hispanic community to realize its potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development,” Fagre Guerriero said. “We provide many social, academic and professional activities to engage our members in the community and on campus, and to contribute to their overall academic development.”
Fagre Guerriero transferred to U-M two years ago, halfway through her sophomore year in college. During her junior year, she became the marketing director for SHPE, handling marketing and social media.
“We’re open to anyone on campus,” she said. “SHPE is really for everyone in STEM or engineering or in the Hispanic community.” The U-M chapter, which is one of the larger student chapters in the Midwest, has about 100 total members. In addition to Fagre Guerriero on the leadership board, one of SHPE’s academic directors is also a BME major.
Fagre Guerriero views her role as making the university and the student experience more inclusive. “I think biomedical engineering is a very dynamic field,” she said. “In engineering, we learn many skills that can translate into different roles. I feel that all of my organizational skills and the way I think about certain things have helped me in the presidential role, from how to increase productivity to maintaining our mission and making sure that we’re standing by our purpose on campus, which is to make it an inclusive community and make the university feel smaller and more welcoming.”
Fagre Guerriero said one of her goals is to increase student participation, but her efforts extend beyond that to encourage members to consider BME, engineering and STEM fields for their careers or professions. “We have many incoming freshmen and sophomores who are still deciding their majors, and we have different programs within SHPE that can help them decide which track to pursue in engineering,” she said. “We also have mentorship activities that pair underclassmen and upperclassmen with similar backgrounds to help guide them towards their career plans. SHPE hosts study jams every week with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter as well. This is an opportunity to get to know other people while also doing your homework and getting some tutoring advice.”
The SHPE chapter attended the national conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, in November and also hosts an annual event called SHPE’d Abroad. “At the end of the academic year, we will travel to a country in Latin America and do volunteer work with high school students to teach them about STEM and encourage them to pursue a career in engineering,” Fagre Guerriero said. “This past May, we went to the Dominican Republic for a week. I think that’s unique because we are one of the only–if not the only–SHPE student chapter in the nation that has such a coordinated volunteer program for global outreach.”
Fagre Guerriero said the trip is an important way to connect to the Hispanic community. “I remember at the time I was taking a Histology class about cells, and I showed scans of cells and how to identify the different cells in the body to the students,” she said. “They were perplexed by that. It was cool to bring that opportunity to a community for the first time and see that experience through someone else’s eyes, like it was once new for me.” Planning is already under way for the 2024 U-M SHPE trip to Costa Rica.
For more information about U-M SHPE, please visit here.