Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Empowered Ambitions: Eduarmar Flores advocates for Hispanics in STEM on Capitol Hill

Eduarmar Flores is a junior at South Dakota Mines and recently went to Washington, D.C., as a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Eduarmar Flores understands the challenges of navigating college life both as a non-traditional student and a Hispanic woman in the STEM field.  

However, Flores, a junior business management in technology (BMIT) major at South Dakota Mines, found a support system and a sense of belonging at Mines, especially through the university’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).  

Flores recently shared her success story on Capitol Hill as part of the inaugural SHPE Hill Day. The Venezuela native joined a group of nearly 60 other student representatives advocating for Hispanics in STEM and lobbying for increased funding to support programs and scholarships.  

Flores was chosen to attend out of 530 applicants and was the only representative from South Dakota.  

“I was honored to travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby and advocate on Capitol Hill for increased funding and awareness of Hispanic-serving institutions that promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education amongst Hispanic communities nationwide,” she said.  

Flores met with the offices of U.S. Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune along with staff and legislative representatives from other states, including Nebraska, New Mexico and North Carolina. The reception was positive, she said. “The feedback and recognition received were extremely positive for future steps to address the challenges faced by both the rapidly growing STEM workforce and the Hispanic population.” 

The students shared their personal experiences as Hispanics in STEM, being members of SHPE, as well as strategies on how to increase the STEM workforce starting with more federal investment in education and professional development, especially for non-traditional students. 

“Only eight percent of Hispanics are in STEM roles, and it is the fastest growing minority in the country,” Eduarmar said. “SHPE is certainly making significant strides, and I’m confident that its impact will be monumental for the next generation of Hispanic communities entering STEM fields.” 

Eduarmar is grateful for the opportunities available for her at Mines. Aside from her involvement with SHPE, which helped secure her current summer internship with Caterpillar in Peoria, Ill., she is involved with the university’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program, and the Caterpillar MineStar Consortium – CatLab, a partnership between Mines faculty and students and Caterpillar engineers and researchers to help build the next generation of mining and construction technology. 

“It was a source of immense pride to witness the nationwide recognition of South Dakota Mines,” she said of her visit to Washington, D.C. 

Flores exhibits a keen interest not only in engineering but also in its business applications, which motivated her choice of Mines to pursue her passion. Through her internship, she navigates Caterpillar's business and engineering facets, leveraging her BMIT background to comprehend engineering management comprehensively. As a BMIT major, not only does she take classes in engineering, but she also takes classes on business management. This, she said, allows her to speak both languages. 

“My major aligns with engineering and business. Those are two of my passions,” she said. “I enjoy both the business and engineering aspects, but my aspiration is to collaborate within a team to develop ideas and pass them on to the engineers. This allows me to pursue my passion for both business and engineering.” 

Flores plans to graduate in December 2025 and will take her experience and passion for STEM into the workforce. 

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About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Michelle Pawelski, Communications Manager, 605-394-6082, Michelle.pawelski@sdsmt.edu