Awaken the Entrepreneurial Genius in You!

2015 International Microwave Symposium (IMS) Young Professionals Special Session and Complementary Reception

IEEE Young Professionals Global, IEEE Young Professionals Phoenix, and IEEE MTT-S Young Professionals teamed up for the Young Professionals Special Session on May 19th at the 2015 International Microwave Symposium (IMS) in the Phoenix Convention Center.  The session was sponsored by MTT-19 Business Issues and chaired by Emile Davies-Venn.  That night, a Complementary Reception (19:00 to 21:00) was held at Lucky Strike Phoenix.  The reception was sponsored by IEEE Young Professionals Global and hosted by IEEE Young Professionals Phoenix Affinity Group.

IEEE Young Professionals

IEEE Young Professionals at IMS 2015

The Special Session, titled “Young Professional Discussion Forum: Awaken the Entrepreneurial Genius in You! ” featured dynamic entrepreneurial speakers and panelists discussing various aspects of entrepreneurship (http://www.ims2015.org/about-microwave-week/young-professionals/young-professional-session). There were about 40 attendees, a good number of questions from the audience to the speakers/panelists (and a great discussion):

IMS 2015, IEEE Young Professionals mixer

IMS 2015, IEEE Young Professionals mixer

The Complementary Reception was a great event where about 400 diverse attendees from all over the world were able to network and socialize while enjoying bowling, billiard, and food. The Past Chair (Shafiul “Jacky” Islam) and current Chair (Jennifer Taggart) of IEEE Young Professionals Phoenix were appointed as the IEEE Young Professionals Global Representatives by the Vice Chair of Strategic Relationships (Elie Rosen) of IEEE Young Professionals Global.   They communicated to attendees the purpose of IEEE Young Professionals initiative as well as some of the events IEEE Young Professionals Phoenix engaged in last year e.g. Technical Speakers Series, Social Events, and the two mega events: 1st Annual Career Mixer and IEEE Young Professionals Leadership Conference 2014. Plans for future IEEE Young Professionals Phoenix events were also announced.  During the reception an IEEE Young Professionals Global presentation/video played on all of the screens at Lucky Strike.

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In the spirit of IEEE Young Professionals Strategic Alliance, IEEE Young Professionals Global and IEEE Young Professionals Phoenix engaged in this collaborative event for the first time and experimented with it to take the learnings from this event and use it as a model for other subsequent events e.g. other IEEE technical conferences etc. We highly appreciate and acknowledge the contributions of following key people who enabled such a great event:

  • Elie Rosen, Vice Chair Strategic Relationships, IEEE Young Professionals Global
  • Elsie Vega,  IMS 2015 Event Management

Article contributed by Shafiul “Jacky” Islam, Past Chair, IEEE Young Professionals Phoenix  

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.

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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