Being a Young Professional in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Today we had the privileged of speaking to Dusanka Boskovic to learn about one of the smaller but very active IEEE groups based in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Can you tell our readers about the IEEE Section in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

The IEEE Section in Bosnia and Herzegovina was founded in 2005, and we are now celebrating our 10th anniversary.  We are a relatively small section, with approximately 300 stable members. Although the majority of our members are members of the Computer Society and the ComSoc, we have also very active Chapters linked to the Power & Energy, the Industrial Applications, and the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Societies. The Chapter’s activities focus around organizing technical meetings with interesting and motivating lecturers. We try to be regular in making use of the ‘Distinguished Lecturer Program’, and bringing to our members recognized experts and topics on emerging technologies.

Since our members are mainly from academia, we are engaged in technical co-sponsorship of our local conferences, with motivation to improve their quality.  We were also bringing some prominent IEEE conferences to Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a region.Our Student Branches and YPAG are in addition to technical activities, engaged in organizing workshops related to soft skills, and also social events, technical excursions and competitions.

STEP Visit to PowerUtility Company

STEP Visit to PowerUtility Company

Tell us about the Young Professionals group in BiH and their activity

Young Professionals AG were the organizer of some very interesting and popular training, focusing mainly on communication skills and emotional intelligence. They are motivated in helping students to make easier careers starts and they organize students’ visits to major companies, panel discussions related to job opportunities and career development.  Such activities are performed in co-operation and conjunction with our Chapters.

What are some of the key achievements of the IEEE in BiH?

Providing a framework for motivated volunteers to work together and make better conditions for engineering professionals in our society. With the IEEE we have access to relevant publications and are in touch with distinguished professionals from all around the world. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Section was a proud host for the Region 8 Committee Meeting in Sarajevo in 2013.

We are especially proud with the achievements of our students. The IAS SBC University of Sarajevo received in 2014 IEEE Region 8 Student Chapter of the Year Award, and several awards from the IAS, most recently as 2nd Most Happening Chapter globally. The PES SBC University of Sarajevo was also declared as Outstanding Student Branch Chapter in the PES. Our programmers are regular participants of the IEEEXtreme, and for many years were positioned among the top 25 teams.

Active on campus

Active on campus

For me the most important achievement was a chance for our students to measure up with their peers and build their confidence in their knowledge and their abilities.

Our Section is continually sponsoring participation in the Region 8 and Cross-section Students and Young Professionals Congresses, where they can enjoy being a part of the large community of engineering students.

Can you tell us about any upcoming and exciting initiatives?

There are two important projects that our students and YPs are engaged with:

  • Construction of a “Solar tree” at Campus University of Sarajevo, which will be used for battery charging, and also for analysis of the solar energy potentials.
Solar Tree project at University of Sarajevo

Solar Tree project at University of Sarajevo

  • Smart home project, recently launched, for which our SB was awarded funding from the IEEE and our Federal Ministry of Science and Education.

We plan for several PA trainings for YP members related to project management and writing project proposals.

BiH went through a terrible war in the early to mid 1990’s which left the country devastated.  Can you tell us a little about how an organization such as the IEEE can help rebuild relationships amongst ethnic groups and provide a platform for the betterment of youth?

The role of an organization such as the IEEE is very important to help us recognize our abilities, capacity for development and building connections with our peers worldwide. This is especially significant for our students and young professionals to have possibility to build their skills and competences.   The difficulties that these young people are facing during their education and in their careers are linked to devastation of industry and economy, lack of the resources,  and these difficulties are the same, all around Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Young Professionals and Students Celebrate IEEE day in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Young Professionals and Students Celebrate IEEE day in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

With activities in our Section we try to facilitate our members in joint actions to bridge these gaps and overcome these difficulties. It is very important when these efforts are recognized and awarded, especially by Societies through their Chapters, as focal points of technical activities.

Anything else you would like to add?

We are very proud of achievements of our students and young professional members, but there are so many projects and ideas ahead of us. We would like with these activities to attract our young professionals to stay with us, with the IEEE , and to be able to offer to them support through the different stages of their career.

About Dusanka

Dušanka Bošković completed her tertiary education at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she is currently an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. Before joining the University, Dušanka was working on software development for embedded systems for Energoinvest – Institute for Computer and Information Systems (IRIS).  Currently, she is teaching human computer interaction and biomedical engineering, and was the founding President for the Bosnia and Herzegovina National Association for Biomedical Engineering. In addition to teaching and research, Dušanka has been engaged in several projects promoting accreditation activities to improve quality of engineering education in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Dusanka Boskovic at CERN

Dusanka Boskovic at CERN

Young Professional Update from Iraq

It was not long ago that we reported on IEEE Young Professionals in Iraq and their struggles. With this article we wanted to update all IEEE members on the situation there and some their activities. Despite the raging war and instability our IEEE members are still making the best of their time.

iraqi

IEEE Iraq section and Young Professionals team in collaboration with American University of Iraq, Sulaimaniya (AUIS) ran a scientific workshop in late October based on the topic of “Robotics Sciences”. The purpose of the workshop was to gather all robotics experts and students to share the latest developments in the field. The workshop was conducted in coordination with IEEE Iraq Section represented by Dr. Eng. Sattar B. Sadkhan, Vice chairman of IEEE in Iraq who emphasised the importance of IEEE Robotics society, benefits of being IEEE member to motivate new students of AUIS to join IEEE family. The importance of robotics in disaster recovery was also discussed. Mr. Suhail Al-Awis, IEEE Young Professional and doctoral Candidate from University of Technology, presented the on the use of neural networks in robotics and explained the concept around the investment into neural networks in the implementation of autonomous vehicles.

The topics covered advanced concepts and applications of robotics in general and the role of IEEE in supporting local activities in this field. The interaction created stimulating discussions as well as brainstorming for possible future collaborations and activities in the field of robotics.

The event was concluded with celebrations of IEEE Day 2015. All attendees shared the special IEEE cake in spirit to encourage new volunteers in serving the society by scientific or humanitarian activities which reflect. So dear friends of IEEE, we are well and we are continuing to operate with smiles on our faces. We will continue to contribute in developing technology for the advancement of humanity.

IEEE Iraq Section and Young Professionals

IEEE Iraq Section and Young Professionals

Why your Network is your Net Worth

Networking is one of the most powerful and useful acts an individual can undertake to advance their career. Your network can help you build visibility, connect you with influencers, and create new opportunities. However, as professionals who work in technology development and management we often overlook the importance of this attribute. Given that I was born in the 1980’s, I can clearly remember the widespread usage of the internet and some of the basic social functionality that emerged. In the last 5 to 10 years we have been swamped with online portals that offer alternatives to face to face networking such as Linkedin. In today’s article I will dissect networking and why I believe the face to face approach is still the key to success, provide you with six points of advice to hit the ground running and a few useful online sources.

Be strategic about your networking (Image courtesy: http://spotcard.co/)

Be strategic about your networking (Image courtesy: http://spotcard.co/)

Networking?

Networking in simple terms is an information exchange between you and another individual with a focus of establishing relationships with people who can help you achieve a particular goal; including advancing your career.

A networking contact could result in one of the following:

  • Intimate information on the latest in your field of interest (IEEE technical society is a good example) or information about an organization’s plan to expand operations or release a new product.
  • Job search advice specific to your field of interest (where the jobs are typically listed).
  • Tips on your job hunting tools (resume, cover letter and /or design portfolio).
  • Names of people to contact about possible employment or information.
  • Follow-up interview and a possible job offer

Who is in my network?

Developing your network is easy because you know more people than you think you know, and if you don’t then you really should get out there and start meeting people. Networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another.

Your family, friends, room mates, partners, university academics and staff, alumni, past and present co-workers, neighbours, club and organization and association members, people at the gym, people at the local cafe and neighbourhood store, and people in your sports club.

These people are all part of your current network, professional and personal. Keep an on-going list of the names and contact information of the people in your network. Ask your contacts to introduce you to their contacts and keep expanding your list. Opportunities to network with people arise at any time and any place. Never underestimate an opportunity to make a connection.

Who is in your network?

Who is in your network? “Start a conversation and see where it leads you to” says Dr. Eddie Custovic

Online vs Offline?

There are a number of social networking sites where you can make great professional contacts, such as LinkedIn and Facebook. You can also use discussion groups such as blogs, newsgroups, and chat rooms to network online. IEEE Collabratec is a fantastic integrated online community where technology professionals can network, collaborate, and create – all in one central hub. This will help you discover the hot issues in your field of interest, post questions, and find out about specific job openings that are not otherwise posted to the general public.

“The digital arena has shown much promise in terms of networking. It is convenient, universally accessible and very quick. The 21st century human is impatient and demands results at the snap of a finger. While online networking is a big part of relationship-building nowadays, it is only one part of relationship/partnership building. Face-to-face interaction still offers a host of real, unique advantages – which you should not brush aside easily. Trust, transparency and momentum behind strong business relationships emerge as a result of sharing a physical presence. Online interaction of whatever format it may be can’t provide this. It can’t simulate the reassuring grip of a confident handshake, or the positive energy of experiences, values, and interests shared face to face. These things can only unfold by interacting in person. Because of that exclusive context, live networking can be a valuable opportunity to help keep you ahead of the game.”

The power of personally connecting and human interaction accelerates relationship building. In 10 minutes I can know more about someone, or they about me, in person than in several months online. However, you must also keep in mind that online and offline complement each other. If I meet you online and strike up an online relationship that has value and interest to me, then taking it offline is going to enhance and progress that relationship. If we meet in person, then staying connected online is going to enhance and progress our relationship until we meet in person again.

Online or Offline networking? Or something in between? (Image courtesy: http://www.wall321.com/)

Online / Offline networking? Or something in between?
(Image courtesy: http://www.wall321.com/)

Another thing worth noting is that the new generation of young professionals has become heavily online dependent and often lack a strong face to face networking approach. It is easy to sit behind the computer and type questions but one must have the confidence to do the same in real life. By ensuring you have the face to face element covered also means that you are one step ahead of the pack!

Get out there, start a conversation and make it happen!

If you haven’t been out and about enough, make some goals this year to reconnect in person in your community, business world or hobbies. Go where you already have commonality and know people. It’s much easier and faster to get connected, get personal and make some new friends, connections and you just might get that job, interview, or new customer. Once you feel comfortable with your ability to strike up a conversation then you may want to consider meetup.com as a way of growing your network.

Want to learn how to network? The IEEE Young Professionals can help.

Want to learn how to network? The IEEE Young Professionals can help.

Here are some strategic tips on how leverage networking to maximise outcomes:

  1. Be strategic about your networking – Strategic networking is more than just socializing and swapping business cards, it is about developing relationships to support your career aspirations. It takes focus and intention to build such a network, but it’s invaluable for your professional development. Identify who you know and who you need to know to help you reach your career goal and build a power network to support your advancement.
  2. The power of diversity – Move out of your comfort zone and identify people who can help your career, not just those people you like and the people who can immediately be of benefit.
  3. Be proactive – Networking is not something that we do and then sit on the shelf. It must be done proactively. Ask yourself this “If you were to lose your job tomorrow are you confident that your current network would be able to help you bounce back and start lining up interviews for new roles?” If the answer is no then It will most likely take you much longer to find a new position. And how can you get information about a hiring manager or new boss if you don’t have a network of people to provide that information? As fantastic as some of job sites are, remember that you are not the only one online looking at job adverts. A majority of jobs don’t make it to the websites and are filled through a powerful network.
  4. Follow up Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honour that and your referrals will grow. It’s often said that networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you’ve had a great exchange, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch. Some people like email or phone; others prefer online sites such as LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours of the event to show you’re interested and available, and reference something you discussed, so your contact remembers you.
  5. Volunteer in organizations – A great way to increase your visibility and give back to groups that have helped you. This is one of the first tips that I give to my students and it is often right in front of you.
  6. Be interested, stay focused – The best way to network is to show interest in what others have to say. People will be more likely to trust you because they’ll know it’s not all about you. In this process you will also uncover new information that can lead to favourable outcomes. You don’t know what you don’t know. So what’s the best way to learn more?  Step away from your desk and do something, see something, read something or listen to something/someone that has nothing to do with your work. Do something that has nothing to do with what you know.

You network will quickly become a web of intertwined relationships that can be a very powerful tool in advancing your career. In conclusion, don’t underestimate what networking can do for you. Your network is your net worth.

Some useful networking tools for your career:

  • assessment.com/  – An online career assessment that identifies how one best fits in the workplace
  • efactor.com/ – An online community and virtual marketplace designed for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs.
  • networkingforprofessionals.com/ – A business network that combines online business networking and real-life events.
  • plaxo.com/ – An enhanced address book tool for networking and staying in contact
  • ryze.com/ – A business networking community that allows users to organize themselves by interests, location, and current and past employers.

Article contributed by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, IMPACT by IEEE Young Professionals

Young Professionals, Students and Industry gather in Melbourne, Australia

 

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Students & Young Professionals network with Industry representatives Mr Justin Carline from Mondelez International and Ms. Fiona McGill from NBNCo.

On Wednesday 23rd September, 2015, IEEE Young Professionals, students and industry gathered for an annual networking event hosted by La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

The event provided a fantastic opportunity for students, ieee members of all membership status, academic staff, alumni and industry to renew contacts and expand their own personal networks across the fields of engineering, computer and mathematical sciences. Almost 150 attended the night, contributing to a vibrant and friendly atmosphere.

The night was sponsored by and industry partner Vert Engineering, the IEEE Victorian Section and La Trobe University, whilst the main Australian engineering governing body, Engineers Australia, proudly supported the event.

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A capacity crowd of nearly 150

One of the key highlights of the night was the insightful and passionate talk provided by the guest speaker, Tim Dunlop. Tim was awarded the 2015 Young Victorian Professional Engineer of the Year and spoke about the challenges and rewards he has faced over his 10 year working career. Tim is currently a project manager and civil engineer and has worked on many high profile oil and gas projects. Throughout his career he has had roles in the design phase, construction phase and even as a project manager. This has enabled Tim to understand all aspects of project delivery at a deeper and more complex level.

Mr Tim Dunlop, Young Professional Engineering of the Year

Mr Tim Dunlop, Young Professional Engineering of the Year

Tim also highlighted his background and discussed his early childhood; being raised in a small regional town. Growing up, Tim always had very big ambitions; ambitions that he continually strives toward to this day. His “can do” and “never give up” attitude has enabled Tim to develop within the industry and make a positive impact with those he works with.

IEEE_DINNER

The night was a fantastic opportunity to socialize with like-minded individuals on an array of differing topics. It provided a means of mentoring and allowed for students to mingle with leading industry guests. I particularly enjoyed the casual nature of the event, providing a fun atmosphere for all those who attended.

Others who attended the night were also impressed with the calibre of young prospective engineers in attendance and how ‘in touch’ they were with the current engineering industry and climate. It was certainly a night to remember.

IEEE IMPACT Editor in Chief, Dr. Eddie Custovic believed that the night was a huge success.

What I found most fascinating was to see such a rich multidisciplinary crowd. We had representatives from the civil engineering profession engaging electronics engineers to discuss smart buildings and smart cities. Biomedical engineers were in deep conversation with telecommunication engineers to discuss security measures for patient data. Agricultural scientists were exploring the option of advanced imaging systems for plant phenomics that could ultimately improve crop productivity in hostile terrain. There were also round table discussions around the effective skills transfer from the automotive and aerospace industry to improve margin and productivity in the food sector. In summary, the event exceeded all expectations. I would highly recommend more of these events to help bring professionals from a variety of industries around common goals”

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The IEEE Young Professionals are strong believers in networking events to open new opportunities for students, young professionals, industry and academia.

Article contribution – Michael Gough, Assistant Editor, IEEE IMPACT

Entrepreneurship: Startup Weekend in Chennai

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur? The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014. Today we speak to Mr. Nivas Ravichandran, an IEEE volunteer at heart of this program.

Big Picture

Nivas, tell us a little about yourself and your IEEE involvement.

I am Nivas Ravichandran and I work as a Growth Specialist at a startup called Frilp. I have been an IEEE Volunteer for the past 6 years and have organized more than 150+ events under IEEE. I belong to IEEE Madras Section and I volunteer with IEEE Region 10 as a member of the Electronics Communication and Information Management (ECIM) committee. I am also a part of the IEEE India Strategic Initiative in the Entrepreneurship Wing to foster Entrepreneurship amongst IEEE members across India. I am very passionate towards IEEE and love to give back to the society. A Social Media savvy person too.

Mr. Nivas Ravichandran

Mr. Nivas Ravichandran, IEEE Young Professional driving Entrepreneurship

What is Startup Weekend Chennai, how did it come about and what role does an IEEE volunteer such as you play in this?

Startup Weekend is a three day event during which groups of developers, business folks, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists, aspiring entrepreneurs and many others pitch ideas for new products, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by the evening of the third day. Startup Weekend Chennai was started in 2014 and this is the 4th Edition with a specific focus theme on Finance Technology. Finance Technology encompasses organizations and applications that provide financial services through the engagement of technology. During the three days, ideas were validated, user research was conducted and a minimum viable product was built over a period of 54 hours.  I was an organizer of the Startup Weekend Chennai and IEEE Madras Section Young Professionals also partnered with Startup Weekend Chennai to help reach out to Students and Young Professionals across cities. IEEE members were provided an exclusive discount to be a part of the event.

Demo Pitch 1

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

Who are the participants of the startup weekend? 

The participants comprised predominantly of three categories – Hustlers (Business folks), Hackers and Designers. There were 110 participants from industry and academia from various parts of India in the age group of 17 – 55. It must be said that a majority of them were in their the early 20s. In total we had 36 Pitches and 15 Teams formed during the FinTech Edition.

Who are the mentors and coaches in the program? Can you highlight a few of the key personnel?

The program had 7 mentors, 2 speakers and 5 judges for the event. The mentors included Ashwini Asokan (CEO, Mad Street Den – An Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision based Startup), Deepak Natarajan (AVP Growth, Freecharge – An Online Recharge Application), Vijay Babu (Founder – India Operations, Altiscale), Krish Subramanian (Co-Founder & CEO, Chargebee Subscription Billing), Alladi Ram, CR Venkatesh & Ramanathan RV. As it is a Hackathon format of an event, there were not many speaker sessions. We hosted 2 lightning talks from Harshal Deo (VP Data Technology – Paypal) and Anupam Pahuja (GM APAC Technology Paypal). The judges comprised of senior folk in the FinTech space from Chennai and a few Angel Investors.

Interaction and Mentoring

Interaction and Mentoring

Can you tell us about some of most impressive ideas you have had a chance to hear about this weekend? 

There were 36 ideas pitched out of which 15 were short listed based on voting by the participants. A few of the interesting ideas were

  • PaysnapA system that optimizes your online transactions while maximizing returns
  • Loan SenseHelps monitor your loans against new loan schemes in financial market
  • SmartpayAn app that enables local merchant who do micro transactions to accept digital payments
  • PrepayRA platform to help SMEs sell their Account Receivables to Banks and increase profits.

Demo Pitch 2

The IEEE Young Professionals group has started to focus on Entrepreneurship as one of its key projects. In your view how can the IEEE Young Professionals help IEEE members with entrepreneurship?

I believe it is the right time for IEEE Young Professionals to start focusing on Entrepreneurship. IEEE YP could play a very crucial role in encouraging IEEE Student and other members to pursue Entrepreneurship. We could organize Section Level or Country Level meet-ups, talks and Hackathons for members to come up with ideas, interact and find the right talent to form teams. If we start setting the stage for young professionals to meet and share ideas in the right platforms we could automatically foster Entrepreneurship among the members. In India (Under the IEEE India Strategic Initiative), we are also working on an Entrepreneurship Development Program, which prepares IEEE Student and Young Professional Members across multiple cities. We recently piloted the program in one of the cities and had an amazing response and reach. In a few months, we are expected to launch the same program across multiple cities in India.

Ideation and Validation

Ideation and Validation

The IEEE GOLDRush team thanks Nivas Ravichandran for his contribution to today’s article which should serve as an inspiration to all IEEE members. We look forward to hearing more about the great ideas and initiatives as a result of the startup weekend.

Interview conducted by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, GOLDRush

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 

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