Michael Perez, Design Engineer at Esterline Mason, graduated from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in 2015 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Michael has been a SHPE member for 6 years - 1 year as President for the CSUN Chapter and 1 year as VP of External Affairs for the Greater San Fernando Valley Professional Chapter (SHPE-GSFV). As an undergrad, SHPE complemented the technical education CSUN offered through mentoring, professional development, and networking. Making sense of the engineering pathways as a first generation college student was much easier when like-minded students, mentors, and professionals were eager to share their educational and professional experiences, insight on desirable career competencies, and resources. SHPE acquainted Michael with one of his most influential mentors, Dr. George Youssef, PhD., Assistant Professor at SDSU. The words from Dr. Youssef, “don’t have dreams, have goals” continue to resonate with Michael as a reminder that dreams do not have to remain figments of imagination so long as we deliberately pursue with unmatched passions.

Perhaps the most life changing events occurred during National and Regional SHPE Conferences because career readiness workshops on the topics of dinning etiquette, professionalism, interviews and resume building, and fundamentals to networking. Michael was fortunate enough to also participate in the first annual 2014 Nissan Design Competition where students were asked to address a world several students were asked to address a global issue. I often felt that I had more questions than answers and it was through SHPE that I learned that this was okay. My advise to future members is to strive to create your own path from lessons learned of those that have already started their journey; if you fail to obtain the internship, fellowship, or scholarship you wanted do not give up on yourself because there is an opportunity waiting for you - you just have to be willing to find it.

Michael Perez

Design Engineer - Esterline Mason