Carmen Villafane, Advisor to the Tandon Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, is Honored
“As soon as they walk into my office for the first time, they become like my own kids,” Carmen Villafane says of the students who cross her threshold. With that level of heart and dedication, it’s easy to see why Villafane, who has been employed at the School of Engineering for almost three decades, was recently honored by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) as a Regional Chapter Advisor of the Year.
Villafane serves as the Program Coordinator in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and for over a decade she has volunteered as the Co-Advisor to the University’s SHPE student chapter. With her help, students have organized Career Fairs, honed their interviewing skills, utilized networking opportunities, and spread cultural awareness to the broader university community through events like Hispanic Heritage Month, performances, and Latin cuisine festivals. SHPE’s members are also actively engaged in K-12 outreach and have visited area schools to bring awareness to younger Hispanic students about the possibilities of careers in STEM.
While the Chapter’s focus is on academics and professional pursuits, Villafane is always readily available to assist the students, and she emphasizes that her main objective is to assist them or direct to the appropriate resource.
Villafane is gratified by the recognition from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National Advisor Committee but asserts that her biggest reward does not come in the form of a plaque or statuette. “The absolute best thing is when students stay in touch with me long after they’ve graduated. Hearing about their lives and success is much more satisfying to me because it confirms that I made a difference.”