With help from her SHPE Familia and mentors, Catherine was able to overcome academic struggles and land her dream internship.
"Engineering is not a box. You can be whoever you want to be in engineering because that's what we are. We're problem-solvers. We are creatives. We are so many things. It's such a diverse field."
"I just knew that I was meant to be a computer engineer at age 12."
There wasn't a lot of STEM awareness at Catherine's school so she used the internet to learn as much as she could. She won an HTML-coding contest in middle school by creating a website combining her two passions- fashion and coding.
"The university I went to was huge so I joined SHPE for the community and the Familia. Finding people that looked like me, that had the same passions and dreams as me was important because I was still finding myself."
"My sophomore year, I started struggling a lot in my classes. I looked for help in the usual places (outside of SHPE) and instead of encouraging me, they ended up telling me that engineering was not my place. I was devastated and embarrassed to go back to my SHPE Familia. I felt like I let them down."
"They kept coming back to me, giving me resources, and telling me 'We are here with you because that's what familia is for.' I am so grateful to them for re-assuring me that engineering WAS my place."
Catherine left the engineering major but was encouraged to return and continue following her passion by her SHPE Familia.
"Once I got back into SHPE, I went to National Convention that same semester. I landed my dream internship at Intel."
"Since SHPE changed my life, I can't think of a better way to thank them than to give back to my chapter. My hope is to influence students to feel like they are a part of something bigger and that engineering is definitely for them."
Catherine is now the Student Chapter President at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley.
"My advice for a new SHPE member is to find a mentor. I am fortunate enough to have many mentors- not just mentors but lifelong friends. They've helped me pave my career path and have supported me emotionally. They are definitely my backbone."
"This is not a success story that ends. My hope is that I can come back and keep inspiring SHPE-tinas to do whatever they want to do. We need that support system, especially for women, and I'm so happy to have that with SHPE."
We can’t wait to meet you.
Joining SHPE marks the beginning of something great for you—both personally and professionally.