is currently a Customer Account Manager for Zodiac Seats US LLC of the Zodiac Aerospace Group. Originally from South Texas, her design for a mechanical engineering degree and industry experience took her to Milwaukee, WI to attend Marquette University, later transferring to Texas A&M University - Corpus Christ. While in school she held five internships; three of which were in the aerospace industry. Her favorite internship was working for the U.S. Army analyzing damage and implementing repairs for helicopters for our war fighters. Most recently, Martin served as Director of Professional Development for Region 5 for the 2014-2015 term. As one who strives to inspire and empower others, Martin aims to utilize her RVP tenure to provide all members - whether students entering high school all the way to experienced engineers - with the resources to ensure continued success. She is especially passionate about valuable and relevant benefits that will attract and retain professional membership as they are the closing end of the SHPE Familia pipeline.
Regional Student Representative
Sofia Alarcon is a senior in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and grew up in Sugar Land, Texas. She hopes to focus her career on Environmental Engineering. Last year, she served as President of UT-SHPE, leading 200 members and 18 officers. She previously served as Vice-President and Recruitment & Retention Director for the same chapter. As RSR, she hopes to facilitate communication between the leadership team and the chapters, as well as give all of the chapters access to any resources that they may need. She looks forward to getting to know all of the Region 5 chapters and creating a collaborative group of leaders in the region who can help and learn from each other. She has been involved for 4 years now and hopes to bring her passion and experience with SHPE to the regional level in order to assure that every student chapter is developing their members to the best of their ability and that SHPE continues to change lives.
Regional Graduate Representative
is a Ph.D. candidate at the Biophotonics Center in the department of biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University. Ayala earned his B.S. (2012) in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. Ayala's work at the Biophotonics Center, which uses light to understand and develop optical techniques for disease diagnosis and treatment, was inspired by his high school physics teacher who taught him about the properties of light and optical instrumentation.
His interest in developing optical tools for diagnostic applications led him to his dissertation project, which is focused on using Raman spectroscopy to characterize middle ear infections with the goal of improving diagnosis. Although Ayala's three siblings were born in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, México, Ayala was born in Houston, TX after his parents left their families and everything they owned in México for the possibility that their children would acquire a higher-level education in the U.S.
His passion for working with underrepresented minorities in the sciences/engineering can be seen through the various organizations that he founded in college and graduate school, educational workshops he has assembled, and graduate school recruiting efforts at national conferences and universities.
Regional Marketing Director
was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas and is a first generation college graduate. Fernando graduated from Texas A&M University in December 2013 with a degree in Civil Engineering. He’s currently an Engineer III at Pape-Dawson Engineers where he works in the land development department on commercial and residential projects.
Received in 2016, the Young Engineer of the year Award from the Houston Society of Professional Engineers, Houston Professional SHPE Chapter.
Is the current President of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Dallas-Fort Worth Professional Chapter.
Regional Junior Representative
is a first generation college graduate from Liberty, Texas who currently resides in Houston, Texas. In 2013 he graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Engineering Technology with a minor in Math and was then employed at Liberty Forge, Inc. as the Resident Engineer. While at Liberty Forge, Inc. he began night school for a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Lamar University. After two and a half years, in December 2016, he completed his course work and graduated with a Masters of Engineering Science in Mechanical Engineering all while working full time.
He is also involved with the SHPE Houston Professional board as the Scholarship Coordinator and continues to maintain strong ties with the greater Houston area SHPE university chapters. His focus as Regional Junior Representative is to help junior chapters develop their curriculum and programs to better serve the needs of high school Hispanic students interested in the STEMs field.