“There’s a population who don’t get certain opportunities—maybe they work, maybe they have a family and they can’t focus on their education,” stated Juan Zepeda, a former Scholarship Foundation recipient. “We want to help that population because we were that population.”
Meet the Four Ingenieros, former Santa Barbara City College STEM students who started a local chapter of the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and didn’t stop there.
Juan and his friends—Noe Gonzalez and Luis Miguel Garfias, also our alumni, and Neftali Aguilera—bonded during their time as officers of the SHPE chapter, and stayed connected even after they transferred to other colleges to complete their bachelors’ degrees.
After graduation, they formed the Four Ingenieros Foundation to find engineering internships for STEM students of color. “Rarely did I hear people suggest, ‘You should be an engineer,’” Juan remembered. “A lot of these students need to be inspired.”
Both Juan and Noe recognize how support from the Scholarship Foundation helped them work less and study more, and for Noe in particular, that boosted his GPA significantly. Those experiences prompted them to want to help the next generation of engineering students, and pay it forward.
To find out more about the Four Ingenieros Foundation and their mission, please visit their website.