The Daily Gamecock

USC student represents South Carolina at Exxon conference

Gabe Carrilho was one of 40 students, and the only student from South Carolina, to attend the ExxonMobil Future Leaders Academy in Houston, Texas this fall. 

From Sept. 30 until Oct. 2, Carrilho, a second-year mechanical engineering student, and the other students at this conference met and connected with every program within ExxonMobil.  

“We had the opportunity to mingle and connect with these leaders and get to know their career progression, the things they’re working on and their personal lives,” Carrilho said. 

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation and ExxonMobil partnered to create the ExxonMobil LOFT Fellowship program for Hispanic students with a passion for STEM. ExxonMobil considered over 400 applicants for this program and selected only 20. The ExxonMobil Future Leaders Academy drew from a larger pool of applicants to select the 40 students for its program. 

Through the ExxonMobil LOFT Fellowship, Carrilho received a mentor, Martha Miranda, who nominated Carrilho for the ExxonMobil Future Leaders Academy. Miranda is the global manager of brand and product integrity at ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants Company. 

"For someone at this stage in their college career to have that extensive leadership potential, a demonstrated leadership potential, I think is commendable and probably one of the key reasons he was selected," Miranda said. 

On the last day of the conference, Carrilho interviewed with three companies within ExxonMobil and left with an internship offer with ExxonMobil’s Upstream. 

Beyond the fellowship and conference, Carrilho is active both in the Carolina community and the community at large. He was a project lead for Tiger Burn, runs his own graphic design business and worked with Engineers Without Borders to investigate solutions for water filtration.

 "He is a very creative person, and I think it really combines well with his interest in engineering," Zita Porter, a second-year international business and accounting student, said.

He is also the current president of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). 

Carrilho said SHPE was a collapsing organization and, as president, he has worked to grow its membership.

"[W]e are still not satisfied with our membership count," Carrilho said in an email. "[O]ur SHPE chapter has been actively pursuing outreach events to connect with middle and high school students, as well as empower future minority engineers." 

Peers who work with Carrilho in SHPE say he is an inspiring leader.

"For me, I think he's a role model for the way I want to become," Andre Calderon, a fourth-year biomedical engineering student, said.

Calderon said Carrilho's listening skills enhance his leadership abilities within SHPE. 

"He has a great way of basically pushing people to pursue their goals and encouraging others and inspiring other people to pursue what they want to do," Porter said.