By Aliyah Allen
Brian Vazquez, the engineering club advisor and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math mentor has been nominated to receive the Educator of the Year award for his involvement with The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
The mission of SHPE is to change the lives of the Hispanic community by giving them the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. As a mentor, Brian has assisted in transferring the knowledge to students in the Department of Engineering and Technology. Vazquez’s path to his career has not always been easy. He began his college career as an art major, until he found his passion for engineering. He soon realized this career path would help his community in a positive way.
He returned to ELAC as a student tutor and became more involved with STEM. ELAC launched a STEM Mentor Program, which pairs STEM students individually with a mentor.
As a mentor, Vazquez’s goal is to inspire his students to get their degree while offering them a higher learning experience. Vazquez pathway as a former student has made him understand his student’s. “Mr. Vazquez deserves the prestigious SHPE Star Award because he is an extraordinary leader at heart. He is one of the best mentors I have had” said Canderlaria Flores.
Flores admires the dedication he has to balance his education, family, friends, professional career and community outreach.
“Working with Mr. Vazquez I went to being a student that has advanced in areas such as academics, leadership, technical and critical thinking skill to much of the talents he has”, said Albert Venegas.
Vazquez, is a role model due to his strong leadership skills, they have influenced many to pursue their goals.
“There are a lot of smart and knowledgeable people, but it does not mean they have a gift to convey knowledge” said Vazquez. One way, Vazquez gave knowledge was by having twenty-five high school students and his current college students enter a robotics competition in San Diego.
This experience was very rewarding for Vazquez because he watched his college students grow and become mentors.
During the competition, he was able to see the growth between both groups of students as they became one group. “That was the most rewarding experience seeing their worlds come together and they connected” said Vazquez. His achievements gave him the opportunity to be a nominee for Educator of the Year.
The President of The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers South Bay Los Angeles, was the person who told Vazquez that he is receiving an award. “As president of the SHPE South Bay Professional Chapter, I highly recommend Brian Vazquez for the recognition of SHPE Professional Role Model” said Leonel Soto. Vazquez serves as the adviser for the ELAC engineering club, which consists of SHPE ELAC, Women’s Engineering Club, ASME and Robotics Team. Vazquez’s involvement demonstrates his passion for empowering the youth and Latino community through STEM awareness.
Vazquez will be traveling to Baltimore, Maryland on November 11th. The SHPE Technical Achievement Recognition Star Award is honoring him as Educator of the Year in the Hispanic community and for contributing to STEM. The SHPE is the largest Hispanic STEM conference in the nation. “I am very nervous because I have to give a speech” said Vazquez. He is also very excited and honored. The reward to Brian Vazquez is a reminder that he made the right decision becoming an educator. “Being in education and continuing to support my students going into engineering is far more rewarding,” said Vazquez. His overall goal as a mentor is to make dreams come true.