The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) has established a SHPE Junior Chapter at a high school in Amsterdam, N.Y. The Amsterdam City School District has an approximately 37 percent Hispanic population of students, as reported within the 2011-2012 New York State School Report Card.

The Rensselaer Engineering Ambassadors (EA), a group of highly motivated students focused on inspiring a younger audience to explore the role of engineers in society, are particularly focused on encouraging underrepresented pre-college students to explore engineering as an educational and career pathway.

On Oct. 24, SHPE and the RPI Engineering Ambassadors teamed up and traveled to Amsterdam High School to participate in an event supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

The program was designed to help kick off SHPE’s year of activities at Amsterdam, while also encouraging new members to participate in the high school student SHPE Junior Chapter.

The SHPE members and EAs presented a program that included such activities as “Newspaper Tower,” “Drag Force on Cars,” and “Water Filtration,” which engaged 39 high school students in modules on civil engineering, physics, and chemistry.

“There is no question the event was well received by all,” said Elizabeth Herkenham, K-13 Program Director in the School of Engineering. “Both organizations were pleased to work together toward the goal of the program and look forward to continuing to partner on other events in the near future.”

One high school student said, “it’s cool to know the science behind how things work.”

Almost 15 new members signed up and plan to be active members.

To learn more about the Rensselaer Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, go to To learn more about the RPI Engineering Ambassadors, go to