How ‘WorldServe Education’ is Transforming Lives Daily

Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Sudhir Rao Rupanagudi. Mr Rupanagudi and his team have worked tirelessly to help develop ‘WorldServe Education’, helping students and providing quality education to those around the world. WorldServe Education also caters to the worlds of research, design and development, particularly in the fields of FPGA Design, Image Processing and Web Design and Development.

1. Briefly tell us about yourself;

My name is Mr. Sudhir Rao Rupanagudi, founder and Managing Director of WorldServe Education, Bengaluru, India. I completed my education in Electronics and Communication from Atria Institute of Technology, Bengaluru in 2006 and found an extreme liking toward communication and the world of FPGA’s during my Bachelor’s degree. In order to further pursue my dream, I moved to Sweden and completed my Masters in System on Chip at LTH where I majored in Communications and developed a low power decoder for wireless communication systems. Upon completion in 2008 and arriving back to India, I joined the Indian Institute of Science as a Research associate in the ECE department. Within this department my major role twas to work on baseband architectures for Wireless Sensor Networks on FPGA. It was during this time, over numerous coffee sessions with my like minded friend and co-founder – Miss. Ranjani B. S., we realized that there was a huge vacuum in India for students to turn their technological dreams into reality. The question of “Why not create an organization, wherein a student having an idea can just walk in, discuss and turn his/her idea into actuality with the help of guidance from highly experienced individuals?” sprung into our minds and thus WorldServe was born.

Sudhir Rao Rupanagudi - Founder and Managing Director, WorldServe Education gives a lecture on advancements in Image Processing

Sudhir Rao Rupanagudi – Founder and Managing Director, WorldServe Education gives a lecture on advancements in Image Processing

2. What is WorldServe Education and what inspired you to develop this concept?

As I mentioned earlier, WorldServe Education is an organization with a sole intent of guiding students and people who want to learn new things, innovate and create technologies to make a difference to the world. We started off in 2008 with just six students, and after that there was no turning back! Currently, we have catered to more than 1000 students worldwide, teaming up with them and innovating more than 100 projects related to humanitarian causes, agriculture and lifestyle.

I feel the main inspiration to start this organization are the very students themselves! They come to us with a varying multitude of ideas – from low cost automated conveyor belts (in order to segregate produce for the farmers of India) to humanitarian based concepts such as automated Braille to English converters… It’s amazing to see young innovators in each and every one of them and moulding them brings great joy to us at the end of the day.

Our various students at work and showcasing their projects

Our various students at work and showcasing their projects

3. What are some of the key achievement of WorldServe today? Can you give us examples of how your work has affected others?

I guess the major achievement of our organization is the fact that our students have been able to prototype their project ideas at such low costs! For instance, a project of ours wherein a patient suffering from motor neuron disease can communicate through blinks or move a wheelchair with just his eye gaze, has been designed for approximately $100 The students, who have developed this prototype, could then later market their product and this in turn would be an economically viable solution to people, especially in developing countries.

Apart from this, WorldServe has also been effective in providing several job opportunities for our students both inside our organization and also outside. A fine example of this would be our Senior Research Associate – Ms. Varsha G Bhat, who started off as a student two years ago and has now completed guiding more than 100 students at our organization. It’s very encouraging when students call us back, after their course, with a good job offer or a word of recognition from a University abroad, for their project.

The team of WorldServe at work

The team of WorldServe at work

4. How has the IEEE influenced you career path and what you have achieved?

Come to think of it, if I plot a timeline of WorldServe Education’s growth from what it was in 2009 to what it is in 2015, we would be able to see IEEE in that timeline at every major juncture! I feel one of the main motivational factors for our students to complete their projects has been the IEEE. Writing a conference paper, submitting it to an IEEE sponsored conference and finally seeing it enlist on the IEEExplore website has been a thrilling experience for all our students. To date we have around 14 papers enlisted over on the webpage. Apart from that, I am proud to state that our projects were shortlisted twice, once in 2013 and again in 2014, for the IEEE Humanitarian challenge – a competition held every year by the IEEE. In 2013, our student group led by Sachin S K went on to win the 3rd Place at the Demo – IT competition held at Hyderabad as part of the AISC – IEEE. It doesn’t end there. IEEE also funded three of our projects last year as part of the “IEEE standards programme”. Three groups utilized various engineering standards in their projects and were very appreciative in receiving this amount.

In this way I could say IEEE has always been a steady support for our work without which we would not be able to probably achieve or reach the heights we have today!

Various students presenting their papers at IEEE conferences. Highlight - Dr. Peter Staecker, President, IEEE with Sachin S K at the Demo - IT competition, Hyderabad, India (Bottom row, second from right)

Various students presenting their papers at IEEE conferences. Highlight – Dr. Peter Staecker, President, IEEE with Sachin S K at the Demo – IT competition, Hyderabad, India (Bottom row, second from right)

5. Where do you see WorldServe Education in the next 10 years and do you have anything big planned that you would like to share with our readers?

That’s a very interesting question! I guess our major goal at this point of time would be to expand our services to as many students as possible worldwide. Even though we have a good web presence, a physical presence across the world would assist in catering to them quite easily. In 2012, we were the first to host an International workshop on a major programming software online. We now plan to host similar workshops at several locations around the world. This would be possible with the support of Universities and also sponsoring organizations like the IEEE. We also are on the lookout towards funding agencies or investors who could take this dream further ahead.

Apart from project guidance, WorldServe recently collaborated with the ICTS-TIFR (International Centre of Theoretical Sciences – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), to develop a video processing based game to understand mathematical functions better. This exhibit was a part of the Mathematics of Planet Earth 2012, Bengaluru and was received with great appreciation. We look forward to developing many such applications in the future as well.

6. Do you have any words of advice for Young Professionals wanting to make a change?

Absolutely! My father always says – “Learn from other’s experience, rather than your own”.  I really feel any young professional who has a great idea and a plan to make a difference to people, should really not think twice in starting up their enterprise. They should have self-belief and take the plunge. Taking my own example, if I look back, I was an introvert, a person who could not face crowds or give a speech on the stage. When I meet my teachers now, they feel “Is this the same guy?” The main reason for this change was self-belief in the idea – “If you gotta do it, you gotta do it”. Another important aspect required to start a movement like ours, is patience! Things will happen eventually but they shall take time. Also, you will meet a whole lot of people during the process of setting up – a few encouraging and a few who might downplay your ideas! Simple solution – DO NOT GIVE UP. Take bad reviews with positivity and see how you can solve them, but if you feel you were not at fault – there’s always that recycle bin! At the end of day make sure you stick to your plan, focus and remember it’s not always about reaching your destination… don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

 I would be extremely happy if people would like join us or give us any advice. Those interested could directly send me a mail to sudhir@worldserve.in, visit our website – www.worldserve.in or find latest information on our programs on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/WorldServe-Education/188151774563301?sk=infoon

Article edited by Michael Gough, Assistant Editor, GOLDRush

 

 

“Afro-tech-girls” Breaking down traditional barriers

Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Adeola Shasanya from Lagos, Nigeria. Adeola is currently an Electrical Engineering and Renewable Consultant with the Lagos State Electricity Board. She has worked tirelessly with young girls throughout Lagos State and surrounds to raise awareness and promote STEM careers through the organisation, “Afro-Tech Girls”.

Adeola Shasanya (left) and Morenike Johnson (Afro-Tech Girl Founders)

Adeola Shasanya (left) and Morenike Johnson (Afro-Tech Girl Founders)

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your work history, particularly focusing around the current energy industry and challenges faced in Nigeria.

I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and have always had a keen interest in the sciences and technology. As a child I gravitated toward activities that had “STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” at its core, such as puzzles, jigsaws and Lego. Even my cartoons of choice were technology themed; ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ being my favourite. Having that inclination from an early age, studying Engineering was the natural progression for me. I have a Bachelor Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a Masters in Renewable Energy and Clean Technology from the University of Manchester.

On-site during an energy audit exercise at a Lagos State School

On-site during an energy audit exercise at a Lagos State School

My work experience to date has been quite diverse within the engineering field. I have worked in construction, technology consulting and energy research which has enabled me to gain a multi-facet view of the industry.

At present I work within the Lagos State Electricity Board. I have been privileged to work on various projects in my time there, focusing primarily on the Lagos Solar Project. This project provides state owned schools and health centres with solar plants as an alternative source of energy. This project was set up to relieve the supply from the national grid, creating more power to consumers.

2.  How did you get involved with the IEEE or hear about the IEEE and what benefits has this had on your career?

I first became involved with the IEEE during my undergraduate degree at Covenant University, Ogun State, Nigeria, being a key member of the student chapter. Being a part of the IEEE has impacted me greatly, enabling me to draw on the skills and values I have gained not only in my studies, but also in my work. It has helped me in my research of ‘smart grids’ and renewable energy during my dissertation. During my postgraduate studies I had the pleasure of meeting other IEEE students and professionals through various chapter meetings. This provided me with the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and call on support for advice.

3. The IEEE is thrilled to see your detailed work engaging particularly females to take up STEM careers. Could you please highlight the challenges you have identified that young females have experienced and what you believe can be done to make STEM careers more inclusive?

Growing up, engineering was always perceived to be a ‘male dominated’ field. The struggle, however, lies in difficulties and challenges facing young women trying to break into industry. Luckily, I was raised around women in my family that had done well in STEM industries despite the various barriers imposed in their time.

In my short career, I have observed numerous challenges to women in STEM careers.

Namely, one of these is the concept of ‘tokenism’. A lot of the time, entire teams or departments will have only one token woman, or just one female representation at senior management level. This often results to a feeling of isolation and a hostile working environment; a direct result of a lack of mentoring. The lack of female representation in the STEM field has meant that many in the coming generations will have no direct pathway on how to achieve their career goals and no one accessible to turn to for such guidance.

Pic3

To make STEM careers more inclusive, I believe the battle begins in the classroom from the ages as early as five and six. Girls and boys should be given equal encouragement and equal opportunities to take up STEM subjects.

More scholarships and funding of extra-curricular programs and workshops should be made available to encourage female participation. I would love to see such initiatives included on the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) programmes of leading firms. I also believe one on one mentoring programs with women in STEM would go a long way to seeing the playing field become more even. This way, girls will have direct access to first-hand information of what it takes to work in the industry and they can better equip themselves for a successful career.


4. You and your colleagues have tirelessly worked with the setup of the Afro-Tech Girls non-governmental organisation over the last couple of years. Could you please outline what initiatives this group does and perhaps what programs and events the group undertakes.

‘Afro-tech Girls’ was created to inspire young girls to become interested in STEM through creativity, art and innovation.  We have had various “meet and greet” sessions with some of the Lagos State schools. This was undertaken to gain an insight on how girls see women in technology and also to build a longstanding and meaningful relationship with the girls that we meet.

Earlier this year, we ran a competition called ‘Sciletes’ for senior secondary school girls from various schools across Lagos State. The competition was a quiz based on math, physics, chemistry and biology.  Our findings showed that the Lagos state school system provided a genuine pool of intelligent and talented young girls, who with the proper motivation and guidance could develop into valuable contributors within the STEM industry.

We are currently working on a logo competition where girls can design the Afro-Tech girl logo from what they feel a woman in STEM should be like. Later this year, we are planning a full career day which will involve key notes by accomplished women in STEM as well engaging practical exercises.

Pic45. What advice can you provide to IEEE Young Professionals seeking to make their mark in the world of engineering and technology?

I have always believed that anyone can do anything with the right mental attitude and given the necessary tools and opportunities. I would tell any young lady seeking to build a career in engineering and technology, or in fact anyone who enquires, that hard work and drive cannot be compromised.  Focus on your abilities and the opportunities around you, and maximise those rather than looking at what seemingly limits you. Be ever learning and improving. Prepare for opportunities through self-education. There is too much free information through the wonder of the internet to stay uninformed. I would say find a mentor. It doesn’t have to be someone you have access to. It can be a well known public figure, or a CEO, or even a woman you discovered on Linkedin. But it should be someone you can relate to and who is a good example so that you can study their journey.

Do not be limited by anything. The way to overcome fears and limitations is to attempt, so always have a ‘go for it’ attitude. The worst you can be told is no. But rest assured the more you attempt, the better you’re getting and the more you increase your capacity and ability.  And finally, never get discouraged. You may encounter lots of trials and knock backs along the way, but gear yourself not to quit and to be in it for the long haul.

The Afro-Tech Girls Team

The Afro-Tech Girls Team

For more information on Adeola’s work with ‘Afro-Tech Girls’ please like their Facebook page at; https://www.facebook.com/afrotechgirls

Article edited by Michael Gough, Assistant Editor, GOLDRush 

Getting SOCIAL with Devon Ryan

What is SOCIAL?

Suggestion, Opinion, Concern, Idea, Advice, Lesson (SOCIAL) is a new initiative of the IEEE GOLDRush publication team to connect with Young Professional volunteers world-wide. The SOCIAL questionnaire provides members with a “voice” that can be shared with our entire membership by answering a few simple questions.

Mr. Devon Ryan, Region 5 Young Professional Chair, IEEE USA Young Professionals Representative

Mr. Devon Ryan, Region 5 Young Professional Chair, IEEE USA Young Professionals Representative

Who is Devon Ryan?

Mr. Devon Ryan is a Young Professionals Representative and an IEEE-USA Board Member. He is the current Region 5 Young Professionals Chair and Co-Founder of Lion Mobile LLC, an innovative inventing mobile applications team.

Suggestion – Do you have any suggestions for the IEEE?

Entrepreneurship is steadily growing. As more and more people gain access to the internet, the more people will have access to tools and resources to start their own businesses. With that being said, I believe entrepreneurship can help accelerate an individual’s development and amplify their abilities. My suggestion for IEEE is to provide more entrepreneurial resources and initiatives. For example, funding, incubators, tools & resources, collaborative workspaces, etc.

Opinion – Provide an opinion on any IEEE related topic.

In my opinion, IEEE has numerous channels and it can be overwhelming from the member and volunteer viewpoint. Perhaps, we can hyper-focus efforts on the top 20% of IEEE that provides 80% of the value for both members and volunteers. This sort of defragmentation could help IEEE be very efficient from both a business and customer perspective.

Concern – Express a major concern related to IEEE

I am concerned that there is not enough emphasis on leadership amongst Young Professional members and volunteers.

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Idea – Do you have any great idea for the IEEE?

IEEE does not have the best track record when it comes to branding and marketing; however, it has improved nonetheless. The Young Professionals are the future and my idea is to focus our efforts on reaching them with the right message.

Advice – What advice can you provide to IEEE or IEEE members?

IEEE has helped me accelerate my career by providing me with a larger and more diverse professional network. IEEE also helped me develop and polish my professional brand. It not only helped my resume, but IEEE enabled me to create unique opportunities to be more impactful in my industry. Accelerate your growth with IEEE and position yourself to create unique opportunities.

Lesson – Describe a lesson you have learnt as a result of the IEEE

The lesson I learn as a result of IEEE would have to be that technology and people combined will help you do far more greater things in life. Embrace people, embrace new technology, and always strive to challenge yourself and great things will happen. You can only do so much alone. When you put yourself in a room with different people from all over the world really cool ideas come to life.

Want to get SOCIAL with IEEE GOLDRush? Send us your response: GOLDRush@ieee.org

Want to get in touch with Devon? devon.ryan@ieee.org

Getting SOCIAL with Muhammad Rabeet Sagri

Who is Muhammad Rabeet Sagri?

Muhammad is Young Professionals Chair of Karachi Section and a software engineer at Wavetec.

Mr Muhammad Rabeet Sagri

Mr Muhammad Rabeet Sagri

Suggestion – Do you have any suggestions for the IEEE? 

IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB) is undertaking really exciting projects such as EPICS-In-IEEE, TISP, SIGHT and many more. Yet, most of the IEEE humanitarian activities and its services are executed at Section level. My suggestion is to let the IEEE Student Branches and High Schools (Pre-University) experience the humanitarian challenges more closely and encourage them to participate by providing possible solutions for these challenges. These projects will not only help the students to get involved in humanitarian activities but also become aware of the challenges faced by our local community.

Opinion – Provide an opinion on any IEEE related topic. 

In my opinion, IEEE doesn’t emphasize career development and leadership building sufficiently amongst the membership. As a results of that, IEEE faces a challenge in retaining IEEE Student membership upon graduation. IEEE should focus on developing IEEE Young Professionals, providing services such as career counseling, assisting in getting the right job, conducting more leadership and entrepreneurship workshops etc. These activities help not only to retain IEEE Student members but will provide IEEE members opportunities  to pursue a successful career.

Concern – Express a major concern related to IEEE 

I have a concern that apart from the interaction within the IEEE Section, IEEE is not providing any local benefits to its members which could be materialized. All benefits provided by IEEE are in electronic form, which cannot provide much value to its members in the local area.

Idea – Do you have any great idea for the IEEE? 

IEEE could consider providing some local benefits to its members. This idea emerged from one of the active IEEE student members. The idea of providing local benefits is to provide value to its members. I started working on this idea (named as ‘IEEE Local Benefits’ project) at the platform of IEEE YP Karachi, in which we have corporate partners in the local area joining to provide benefits to our IEEE Karachi Section members, such as discounts on travel and food. This is just an idea to value our IEEE members and this idea can be reflected in other IEEE Sections also.

Advice – What advice can you provide to IEEE or IEEE members? 

IEEE Sections and IEEE Young Professionals groups should provide a platform in bridging the IEEE student branches with corporate organizations. This bridge can be developed in several ways; organizing various study and field trips by students to different companies, arranging tech-talks of professionals at IEEE student branches where they can share their experiences with students and train them, conducting job hunting and other activities that can make the universities interact with the organizations etc. These activities will successfully create a better industry–academia relationship.

Lesson – Describe a lesson you have learnt as a result of the IEEE 

IEEE is always providing me life changing experiences. After joining the IEEE, I was able to interact with other IEEE student branch members. I started sharing ideas, building a great ‘technology’ network with the people having the same passion, striving towards the same goal. IEEE is always helpful when building my professional network. I started making friends within the IEEE Karachi Section and now I have IEEE friends from all over the IEEE Region 10 (Asia Pacific). Thank you IEEE for helping me out in growing my network with professional executives of corporate organizations.

Article edited by Nadee Seneviratne, Junior Assistant Editor, GOLDRush 

IEEE Academic – An interview with founder Mr. Rui Costa

It is with much excitement that we bring an IEEE GOLDRush exclusive interview with the founder of IEEE Academic, Mr. Rui Costa.

Mr Rui Costa delivering the concept of IEEE Academic

Mr Rui Costa delivering the concept of IEEE Academic in 2013. Several years later and IEEE Academic is growing at a rapid rate.

How did you come up with the concept for IEEE Academic?

The IEEE Academic concept started when a group of students in one of the universities in Portugal understood that, despite all the available online contents, most of them failed to prepare students for their classes and examinations. The problems were that the majority of the videos were English based and establishing a relation between what was being watched and what was being taught in classes was very difficult. That was due not only to the fact that the teaching language was different but also the technical jargon was sometimes hard to compare. We then had the idea of inviting a few academics from our university to create video modules about the most difficult topics and make those available in an online platform so that our community could watch and use those videos in their studies for free. This quickly became a big success and that was the very beginning of what today know as IEEE Academic, a project were students and academics work together to create community-relevant video modules in multiple languages all over the world.

IEEE Academic Poland website

IEEE Academic Poland website

What is the vision for IEEE Academic and how do you and your team plan to achieve it?

The goal of IEEE Academic is to become a fully sustainable project that is a global reference for multi-lingual online educational content based on multimedia. By creating a vast library of high-quality contents in multiple languages, students all over the world will recognise IEEE Academic as the go-to place for the videos created in their language. The way we are working to achieve that goal is by capturing the efforts of many volunteers and academics all over the world, that in a distributed fashion create video modules for their communities and make those available using the global platform of IEEE Academic.

IEEE Academic teaching algorithms

IEEE Academic teaching algorithms

What are some of the biggest achievement of the program to date?

At IEEE Academic we dont like to isolate individual achievements yet focus on the overall impact of our program. Our achievements are measured through positive and encouraging student feedback from around the globe. Students from many countries thank us and all the volunteers for the effort that is put into making online educational video modules available for free, which enhance their academic achievements. Every time a new university or a new country joins the program and launches a new video tutorial a new IEEE Academic milestone is reached. As we grow our community of content producers and enthusiastic learners, new and amazing achievements will start to stand out.

Tell us a little about the IEEE Academic team, a little about the volunteers, their careers, residing country and so on.

IEEE Academic is composed by a core-team of 5 volunteers from students, to researchers, professors and people working in the industry. These volunteers are very organised and plan well ahead the next steps of the project to ensure that quality content is kept flowing. A team of ambassadors organize and foster the growth of the project in many countries by working closely with the volunteers in various universities. We have ambassadors and project support scattered all over the world including; Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Greece, India, Portugal, Colombia, Tunisia, Brasil and many more, a truly global team!

IEEE Academic on your mobile phone

IEEE Academic on your mobile phone

Tell us about the next big thing in regards to IEEE Academic

We have much planned for the remainder of 2015. IEEE Academic will make available more innovative video modules that will approach and teach  various topics using more creative techniques. Also, an improvement in the quality of the website along with some exciting key-partnerships to make IEEE Academic a more global and interesting platform for online education.

Tell us about the most memorable moment while you have been involved with IEEE Academic.

The most memorable moment with IEEE Academic was when I received the first email from a student sending his gratitude to everyone involved in the project, for creating video modules that actually helped him reach academic success in a course he was trying to pass for several semesters. The excitement did not stem from the fact it was the first email, but because it made me understand that with some effort and dedication to this project we could positively impact the lives of many. This was more than enough to fuel the IEEE Academic team.

IEEE Academic Pakistan

IEEE Academic Pakistan

Can you provide us with any facts, figures and statistics in regards to IEEE Academic?

As of today, IEEE Academic has published more than 380 video modules in 6 languages. We have 16 ambassadors from 16 countries working to make more videos available. The website received more than 90 000 hits from over 32 500 unique users and IEEE Academic video modules have been watched more than 102 000 times (equivalent of 230 days of continuous video viewing).

Who is Rui Costa?

Rui Costa is a MSc. Network and Communications Engineering graduate from Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal. Rui Costa has a research focus on Vehicular Networks and Intelligent Transportation Systems which was developed as part of his Masters thesis titled He is currently developing cutting-edge systems and technologies to build up vehicular-network enhanced cities as Senior Systems Engineer at Veniam Works. Rui Costa is the founder and coordinator of IEEE Academic, international non-for-profit educational project, based on online multimedia resources developed in close collaboration with several universities to deliver free, high quality contents, in the local languages.

Rui Costa, Founder of IEEE Academic

Rui Costa, Founder of IEEE Academic

He is an experienced and creative presenter, having led several presentations to different targets on several topics, such as vehicular networks, team management/motivation, entrepreneurship and usage of technologies within education. Rui Costa was awarded the Larry K Wilson Student Activities Award in Region 8 for his outstanding contributions

Interview conducted by Sarang Shaikh, Senior Assistant Editor, GOLDRush

Article edited by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor In Chief, GOLDRush

Getting SOCIAL with Kavinga Ekanayake

Who is Kavinga Ekanayake?

Kavinga Ekanayake is the Chair of the Sri Lanka Young Professionals Affinity Group and a research assistant at University of Moratuwa.

Kavinga

 

Suggestion – Do you have any suggestions for the IEEE? 

IEEE is a great platform to utilize the skills of bright minds across the world for the betterment of humanity. However, due to lack of awareness, I feel that sometimes these brilliant skills of IEEE volunteers are not fully optimized. If IEEE can devise an effective plan to create awareness about the vast number of opportunities available in the career path from the student branch member level to the IEEE President, both parties will benefit through increased motivation towards IEEE and optimal contribution attracted from the skilled volunteers, while helping their professional development.

Opinion – Provide an opinion on any IEEE related topic. 

IEEE is currently more focused on academia, whereas organizations like IET have more industrial relations. IEEE should focus more on getting the industrial personnel involved to their activities and committees. People should be able to use IEEE as a great platform to bridge the gap between industry and academia which are a bit more separated at the moment, especially in region 10. Academic researches should reach the public through industry in order to advance humanity through technology.

Concern – Express a major concern related to IEEE 

Huge percentage of student members and volunteers of IEEE are not retaining their membership after the graduation and this is a major concern. IEEE should concentrate more on this issue through the entities like Young Professionals groups to retain the members and volunteers with a clear motivation. IEEE Young Professionals is a great platform to bridge the gap between student members and sectional level.

Idea – Do you have any great idea for the IEEE 

Media can play a major role in shaping attitudes of people in any part of the world. I suggest that IEEE should invest more time into IEEE TV and bring it to the level of a satellite channel to reach out to every corner of the world, capturing a wider audience. Investments could be obtained from industrial partnerships, especially from Multinational organizations, allowing their brand to be promoted through this. It will showcase the all the IEEE activities, adding more value to IEEE and volunteers and members could easily learn from each other improving effectiveness of all IEEE activities.

Advice – What advice can you provide to IEEE or IEEE members? 

All IEEE members should try to hold an effective volunteer position as long as they can. IEEE is the greatest platform to develop interpersonal skills such as leadership, management etc. through volunteering. It’s a rare opportunity to create local as well as international connections with a community of higher caliber. Sharing experiences among the people of different regions will help to make the world a much better place to the humanity.

Kavinga 2

Lesson – Describe a lesson you have learnt as a result of the IEEE 

I was attracted to IEEE because of its tagline – “Advancing technology for Humanity”. It helps me to use my skills towards the betterment of humanity, which has been my very own ambition since childhood. I was lagging behind in leadership and public communication skills in earlier days. IEEE helped me a lot to improve leadership  and communication skills through a variety of volunteer positions. One of the greatest aspects is the opportunity to create an international network of friends. I learnt how to deal with different people and different situations. I owe all of this to the IEEE since it has unveiled my true potential.

What is SOCIAL?

Suggestion, Opinion, Concern, Idea, Advice, Lesson (SOCIAL) is a new initiative of the IEEE GOLDRush publication team to connect with Young Professional volunteers world-wide. The SOCIAL questionnaire provides members with a “voice” that can be shared with our entire membership by answering a few simple questions.

Article edited by Nadee Seneviratne, Junior Assistant Editor, GOLDRush 

From star gazing to rising stars

Wrapping up a solid year of growth and community contribution, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Young Professionals Southern Alberta Chapter has recently been awarded best Canadian Young Professionals group for 2014. The team’s vision – to cater to the professional and overall development of their fellow young professionals – has made them role models for young professionals.

Electrical and geomatics engineering students on the IEEE Young Professionals Southern Alberta Team. Front row (l to r): Yuting He, Mohsin Aziz, Piyush Rawat, Jatin Chatrath. Back row: Yuhong Liu, Neha Dawar, Tushar Sharma, Hani Badaway and Zhixing Zhao. Photo courtesy IEEE Young Professionals, Southern Alberta Section, Region 7

Electrical and geomatics engineering students on the IEEE Young Professionals Southern Alberta Team. Front row (l to r): Yuting He, Mohsin Aziz, Piyush Rawat, Jatin Chatrath. Back row: Yuhong Liu, Neha Dawar, Tushar Sharma, Hani Badaway and Zhixing Zhao. Photo courtesy IEEE Young Professionals, Southern Alberta Section, Region 7

Under the leaderships of current chair Tushar Sharma, a graduate student in the iRadio Lab at the Schulich School of Engineering, the chapter has undertaken a number of academic exchange, industry engagement and educational activities.

In the 2013-14 season, the chapter held several technical lectures aimed at increasing research and knowledge exchange among different areas in engineering, physics and education. Special focus was given to professional and career development in the form of mixers, panel discussion, and networking sessions, with the goal of assisting members in the transition from undergraduate to graduate student or to joining the workforce.

University of Calgary students, faculty, staff and industry at the IEEE Holiday Mixer.

University of Calgary students, faculty, staff and industry at the IEEE Holiday Mixer.

In collaboration with the Astronomy Teacher Training Institute, the Young Professionals created a students, teachers and researchers (STAR) initiative to spread awareness of radio and microwave education to schools across Alberta. The group hosted a star gazing session at All-Star Telescopes outside Calgary, where IEEE members, students, and Mitacs interns from around the globe witnessed phenomenon like saturn rings and meteors. Plans for 2015 include an extension of the 2014 lectures series and the creation of a continuing education centre in Siksika Nation.

Sharma will receive the award on behalf of the Southern Alberta Section during the IEEE Canada regional meeting in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Québec this April.

Article contributed by Tushar Sharma, IEEE Young Professionals Chair of Southern Alberta, Canada 

Getting SOCIAL with Preeti Kovvali

What is SOCIAL?

Suggestion, Opinion, Concern, Idea, Advice, Lesson (SOCIAL) is a new initiative of the IEEE GOLDRush publication team to connect with Young Professional volunteers world-wide. The SOCIAL questionnaire provides members with a “voice” that can be shared with our entire membership by answering a few simple questions.

Ms Preeti Kovvali

Ms Preeti Kovvali

Who is Preeti Kovvali?

Ms. Preeti Kovvali is the past Chair of the Hyderabad Young Professionals and the Service Lead, Database Operations at Tech Mahindra.

Ms Preeti Kovvali

Suggestion – Do you have any suggestions for the IEEE? 

IEEE is a global organization, catering to local needs which puts it in a unique position compared to other professional organizations. Diversity being the important aspect of globalization, I would like to see a substantial representation of women in leadership roles. Young professionals leadership via micro volunteering should be encouraged through all units from the section to the board. This enables volunteers to bring and execute unique thoughts and ideas.

Opinion – Provide an opinion on any IEEE related topic. 

Early this year, I attended a strategy session of the IEEE BoD which was primarily about IEEE’s focus on the “future”. It is very important to be a visionary and think well into the future and that would be a key differentiator in making IEEE the most preferred global organization. There were many ideas that emerged to answer one question- How can we better position IEEE for success in 2030? Everyone in the organization should be envisioning what IEEE could be 15 years down the lane. It is our collective thinking from the grassroots that will advance technology for humanity catering to changing needs.

Concern – Express a major concern related to IEEE 

After working tirelessly in their home section, Young Professionals are likely at some stage in their career to move elsewhere. As a result, in the new community, they have to start from scratch. Enabling a continuous “global-volunteering” framework with IEEE is important in this case. One of the challenges is that the volunteer doesn’t update their information which disables the communication at the new location. There should be a relative “how-to” wiki that could help the volunteer upon relocation. IEEE Collabratec is one of the pilots focusing on this, but again it is very important to create value in using this social networking medium as the de facto “Facebook of IEEE”.

Hyderabad - The home of Ms Preeti Kovvali  (Photo credit: Trillophillia)

Hyderabad – The home of Ms Preeti Kovvali
(Photo credit: Trillophillia)

Idea – Do you have any great idea for the IEEE? 

Re-initiating alumni connections with the graduating students is quite important to engage the young professionals and the student members. To enable this, YP should create focused YP groups along with the student branches in each school or college led by the final year students who will constantly interconnect with their graduated seniors. This leads to a better transitioning experience for the graduating students, strengthen alumni associations and establish stronger mentor-mentee relations.

Advice – What advice can you provide to IEEE or IEEE members? 

IEEE comprises of global innovators and technologists who explore how technology drives the world and impacts the society of today and tomorrow. The beauty of this network is that there is a place for everyone who believes that advancing technology can revolutionize the way we live. IEEE provides a platform for individuals who want to figure out what they want and how they can fit in to deliver the mission. The best way to do this is through volunteering, which will facilitate exploration of self and areas of interest while being part of the journey.

Lesson – Describe a lesson you have learnt as a result of the IEEE 

As a firm supporter of women leadership, especially in technology, I learnt more about my strengths, weaknesses and interests through the IEEE journey. One important thing I learnt is discipline. Discipline can lead to perseverance and stability. While volunteering with IEEE, I experienced both and this enabled me to figure out my areas of interests and follow my passion. When we combine the passion, action and things we love to do, it creates a life’s work. Many times volunteering involves coming back to the learners mode and being pragmatic. IEEE helped me lead to self-improvement, confidence and become a better leader!

Want to get SOCIAL with IEEE GOLDRush? Send us your response GOLDRush@ieee.org

Want to get in touch with Preeti? preeti.k@ieee.org

Article edited by Nadee Seneviratne, Junior Assistant Editor, GOLDRush 

An IEEE beacon of light in Iraq

Today’s story is a very sad one, but also one filled with a sense of pride and hope. The once beautiful country of Iraq has experienced much hardship in recent times, going from one conflict to another. Following the withdraws of foreign troops in 2011, the country has plunged into unrest which has led to deep division. With the current difficulties in Iraq, we have had the pleasure of speaking with one of the beacons of hope, a dedicated IEEE volunteer, Saad Jasim, the IEEE Young Professional Chair of Iraq. Saad and his IEEE volunteers see no division and no barriers in educating others, even in the hardest of times. Currently there are over 3 million displaced people in Iraq as a result of the attack of terrorism forces (ISIS), amongst them many IEEE members and their loved ones. These families are distributed in many cities and the IEEE Iraq Section is continuously visiting these families to offer them any kind of support possible.

Dr. Sattar with student and local volunteers

Dr. Sattar with student and local volunteers

An overview of IEEE Young Professional activity in Iraq

IEEE has been in operation in Iraq since 2008 and since then has taken major steps in expanded IEEE offerings from conferences, workshops, specific lessons, and many social activities. This has been highly beneficial to the entire Iraqi society and in particular to educational bodies such as universities and colleges. The IEEE Iraqi volunteers support the educational bodies by introducing the core values and objectives of the IEEE and the scientific activities which assist in promoting the engineering profession. Iraq has 18 cities and many rural regions which are not easy to access. As such, a major effort is required to distribute the activities throughout the country. The dedication of the IEEE volunteers has made this possible. The IEEE in Iraq have an active Communication and Computer society as well as enthusiastic YP and WIE affinity groups.  Since 2012, the IEEE Young Professionals of Iraq have run many valuable events supported in many instances financially by volunteers in times of hardship. Some of their activities are listed below:

  • Social gatherings to introduce the vast interests of IEEE to students, professionals and communities
  • Lessons on wireless communications (2G,3G and evolution of 4G) for many companies.
  • Robotic lessons supported by professional experts
  • IEEE day celebrations on an annual basis with other volunteers and share it with non-members like children.
  • Dinner meetings and discussing for future direction
  • Management of IEEE Iraq section elections

In the words of Saad Jasim

Before the ISIS conflicts, the education in Iraq was normal but the internal conflicts heavily impeded on the progress of education. For example the road between Baghdad and the northern cities has been extremely dangerous, preventing students from travelling freely. As a result of the country status, permission for thousands of students to complete higher education outside of the country was given and this has complicated the lives for the families due to displacements, cost of living and education is high and the economy and salaries not sufficient. I can say that in Iraq we have the ability to live through the hardest of times because hard times such as this turn your heart to “iron”.

Dr. Sattar encouraging students to think positively

Dr. Sattar encouraging students to think positively

 

When ISIS occupied some cities of Iraq and applied their rules on the citizens there, the link with the central education system was destroyed. ISIS authorities insisted in radically altering the teaching methodology and content for primary and secondary schools because of their views and objections on existing techniques. The Iraqi students in these regions have become extremely confused and the current situation does not support them in their learning requirements. Many of these students have lost family members, their homes and their freedom.  Their history and their future being destroyed in front of their eyes. It is the most dearest wish of all of the IEEE Young Professionals and ordinary citizens that we live in peace and prosperity.

Dr. Sattar helping students

Dr. Sattar helping students

 

Lastly, I would like to share the details of a small IEEE event during the times of conflict. Dr. Sattar, an active IEEE member, recently visited one of schools that is assigned for displaced students from Mosul, Anbar and Tal’afer in (Babil City – Zuhair School). He spent much of his day listening to their hardship, educating them and providing them with words of inspiration that this will all pass and that they have a bright future ahead of the.  “They are our little angles, and all of our wishes are directed at providing them with shelter and security. To give them the happiness and so that they can go back to their homes which they see only in dreams.” says Dr. Sattar.

Last words

“I do apologise that I can not share any more with your readers and that we are not able to document every effort to help others. Please accept this simple report as a means of telling our fellow IEEE members that we are experiencing difficulties and that your support means the world to us. I am sure I’ll be in touch with you in the future since we are all part of the greater IEEE family” says Saad Jasim.

“I have visited many places in and around Babylon offering any assistance I areas between. In all these areas, we have thousands of families who have been expelled or left in fear their homes in northern and western Iraq. The Iraq section has attempted to visit these areas on a regular basis to provide a good picture about the status of these families. We have also made big efforts to visit schools as the pictures show. The last IEEE day was solely dedicated to all the students who are displaced from their homes.  Many of our IEEE Iraq Section members and their families have been collecting “financial support” to help these students. This is our “Social and Human ” responsibility as IEEE members inside our country.” says Dr. Sattar.

Dr. Sattar with future IEEE engineers

Dr. Sattar with future IEEE engineers

Article contributed by Saad Jasim, Chair of the Iraqi IEEE Young Professionals in correspondence with Dr. Eddie Custovic, GOLDRush Editor-in-Chief 

Professional Awareness Conference: Smart Cities

“Smart Cities” is a buzz phrase that is often heard, so it makes sense that IEEE Young Professionals are engaged at the core of this theme. Today’s report comes from Nigeria, where the Young Professionals and Students have put together a two day awareness conference in Nigeria themed around Smart Cities on the 19th and 20th of March 2015.

Smart Cities utilise readily available and emerging digital technologies to improve  performance and wellbeing, to reduce costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. There is a myriad of  ‘smart’ sectors which include energy, transport, health care, waste management, water. 

The conference was made of up of exciting technological exhibitions and keynote presentations. Day one featured exhibitions from special guests Prof. M. O Omoigui and representatives from the Great FM Radio Station, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) and EEESS Officials.

A total of 17 project were showcased, including; Yellow foot – a piezo electrically powered smart shoe for the blind, Artifind – an application to help visitors to a city where art can be viewed, Voissapp – an application designed to network students and teachers within the campus, Security systems for home appliances and many others.

Day two featured industry guest speakers and exhibitors including; Mr. Adeyinka Aderombi (Konga.com), Mr. Ifeayin Odoh (Schneider Electric), Mr. Samuel Enoch-Oghene (TAHMO), Mr. Oloma Ibrahim (Center4tech), Mr. Richards Boyewa (Sanwo), Mr. Femi Omoniyi  (Topupextra) and Mr. Harry Enahoro (Mettalloids).

Students and Young Professionals at the Smart Cities Conference

Students and Young Professionals at the Smart Cities Conference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few key highlights include the presentation/demonstrations from Mr. Aderombi who highlighted the importance of e-commerce and smart cities, Mr. Boyewa Richards who demonstrated “Sanwo.me” an offline payment system and Mr. Odoh from Schneider Electric who presented on innovations in Smart Grid Networks.

TopUpExtra – TopUpExtra is a web and mobile application that avails you the opportunity to recharge your mobile phone with vouchers accessed via a very intuitive, simple to use and innovative system to make the process seamless. Mr Enoch Enoch-Oghene from TAHMO examined Green Energy and Renewables for Smart Cities while Mr Oloma Ibrahim from Center4tech delved into the Transportation and Environmental Health.

Over 200 students, staff and industry personnel attended the two day event. The organisers, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) hope that this event will serve as a platform for students and Young Professionals of Nigeria to consider how they can make their city a smarter city. 

Article contributed by Tobi Taiwo, IEEE OAUSB Chair  and Abdullateef Aliyu, Chair of the Nigerian IEEE Young Professionals