Student organizes new chapter of national Latina sorority at RIT

Student Spotlight
Karina Roundtree, fourth-year mechanical engineering

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RIT will welcome its newest sorority chapter this year through the drive and determination of Karina Roundtree, president of the RIT chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Roundtree worked throughout the fall with classmates to get Chi Upsilon Sigma, recognized as one of the oldest Latina sororities in the U.S., to become part of RIT’s active Greek community. Here’s a little bit about the woman who helped make it happen:

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: Sedalia, Colo.

Q: What is your role on the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers? How long have you been associated with the group?
A: I have been a part of the club since I came to RIT. I served as freshman representative my first year and in my second and now fourth year, I’m president on the executive board.

Q: What about this organization is important to you?
A: SHPE has been a very important organization to me throughout college because it has given me the opportunity to work on my leadership skills, outreach to help our community and has opened many doors to connecting with professionals from various companies.

Q: Tell us about the new sorority? Who will be the constituents?
A: Chi Upsilon Sigma has long been recognized as one of the oldest Latina sororities in the U.S. They celebrate Latina cultural roots and recognize the impact of all cultural influences contributed by their members. They are aware of the prejudices and obstacles facing minority women in our communities and dedicate themselves to improving these conditions and work toward the betterment of all women. They promote open communication and community service, as well as the development of political, educational, cultural and social awareness.

Q: Who were your biggest supporters to establish this sorority?
A: My classmates and I have just been trying to bring it on campus, which takes a lot of time and dedication. Our biggest supporters were members of the Multicultural Greek Task Force and supporters in the Greek community.

Q: What brought you to RIT?
A: What brought me to RIT was the diversity it has to offer. RIT has such great colleges and programs. There are so many opportunities here for any type of person to join different organizations and give back to the community.

Q: What has been your favorite RIT moment?
A: I really enjoyed participating in Imagine RIT my first year. We had the opportunity to make a Rube Goldberg device that did a lot of cool things. The RIT community responded so well to our project, and I loved watching the kids’ expressions.

Q: What advice would you give other students at RIT?
A: I would tell them to get involved somehow on campus. You get the opportunity to meet other people you may have never been able to if you didn’t participate.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I’m planning on going to graduate school. I’m not quite sure where exactly I want to go, but I want to get my master’s in mechanical engineering and hopefully work for Rolls Royce in the future. I am very interested in their performance-engineering program where they get to work with engines. I have yet to go on a co-op for them, but I’m trying to get that opportunity.

Matt Gregory compiles “Student Spotlights” for University News. Contact him at with suggestions.