Student group mentors Latinx students in STEM

SOLES president hopes to revamp club this year, outreach to future students

SOLES+provides+Latinx+students+studying+in+STEM+a+place+to+learn+about+professional+development%2C+as+well+as+a+chance+to+reach+out+to+high+school+students+interested+in+WSU.+

LAUREN PETTIT

SOLES provides Latinx students studying in STEM a place to learn about professional development, as well as a chance to reach out to high school students interested in WSU.

MATAYA SIEMION, Evergreen reporter

The Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists are revamping their club in hopes of providing more mentoring services and other resources for Latinx students who are pursuing STEM degrees.

The main focus of the club is to help students be successful in school and obtain degrees. They also help students network so they can find employment once they graduate, SOLES president Alejandra Carranza said.

“The main mission of the club is to help inspire other Latinos and minority students in engineering, as well as other STEM majors across campus, and really provide a safe community for them,” SOLES adviser Yadira Paredes said.

SOLES hosts socials, provides professional development and mentoring. They also help host the Latino Parent Conference for potential students, Carranza said.

The Latino Parent Conference is for Latino high school students from lower socioeconomic areas, Paredes said, in which their parents learn more about WSU and STEM programs.

“It’s a full day of STEM-related presentations, workshops, activities, campus and lab tours for both the parents and the students completely done in Spanish,” she said.

Carranza became involved with SOLES when she first entered WSU in 2016. She has been attempting to revamp the club and obtain more members so they can take advantage of the club’s opportunities, Carranza said.

One of the things that made Carranza interested in the club was learning about how past members studied abroad, which inspired her to study abroad in Spain, Morocco and Italy.

Carranza has also been able to help coordinate events like the Latino Parent Conference, which has helped her develop communication skills, she said. It also allowed her to gain leadership skills, including how to be a mentor for other students.

“We used to offer scholarships when we had a lot of funding, and that is something I am hoping to bring back as well,” Carranza said.

The club currently has about eight members, and Carranza said she is hoping to have about 15 members by the end of the year. Carranza is focusing on rebuilding the club so it will continue running once she graduates.

Carranza is pursuing a degree in architecture and civil engineering. She hopes to someday develop her own nonprofit focusing on helping developing countries, Carranza said.

“I would love to be able to go to developing countries and create safe havens,” Carranza said, “so that looks like creating homes, building educational or health facilities such as clinics, little schoolhouses, and also brainstorming how to bring in portable water.”

Due to COVID-19, Carranza said she is still planning on how SOLES meetings will work.