Ismayra Jiménez Leads the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers into the Future

 For approximately the last three years, Industrial Engineering senior Ismayra Jiménez has called Louisville her home. A native of Puerto Rico where she attended college at the University of Puerto Rico, Jiménez moved to Louisville initially to co-op at General Electric, before transferring to UofL and settling down here. Here with her mother and father, Jiménez feels a sense of community, not only as part of the Speed School, but with the broader Hispanic and Latinx community of the Louisville metro area, which led to her involvement with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), where she serves now as president.

“When I moved here, I didn’t know there was a big Hispanic organization. If I had, I would’ve been motivated to do more with it,” says Jiménez of her initial experiences with SHPE upon transferring to the Speed School.

SHPE is much larger and recognized in Puerto Rico, so Jiménez is committed to bringing this chapter into a greater prominence, not only internal to the Speed School, but as a means of community outreach to illustrate the virtues of Hispanic/Latinx culture. While Jiménez admits that she could just as well have joined the Society of Women Engineers, she opted for SHPE to help lend a voice to an overlooked group of people.

“We need to be an advocate, not just in school, but in the community. I know there are a lot of stereotypes, but we want people to know that there are a lot of good people in the community." says Jiménez. "At this point in time there is a lot of controversy, immigration and the Hispanic community, but there is a lot more to it than that. We have more in common than you think. I want to give us a voice, because there is so much more than we have to offer.”

With just six weeks left before her graduation, Jiménez is determined not only to raise the profile of SHPE by bringing it into the larger community, but to prepare for the next generation of leadership. Not only has she worked diligently to ensure the organization’s visibility, but to inspire a new group to take up the charge.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about embracing your heritage and wanting to do something about it for people that are in your same situation. If there is one thing I’ve learned here, the Hispanic community is very close. It’s not for them, incoming leadership, it’s for anyone that comes here in the future. Realistically, I only have a year left here, but I’d rather spend that time helping the Hispanic community in the future, than how it could help me,” says Jiménez.

As to her own plans, Jiménez hopes to pursue patent law, a field she believes is rife with possibility. She explains, “I want to find some sort of job that also allows me to interact with different companies. Maybe travel. Maybe represent the companies I work for, but not stay local at all.”