A Young WiP Member: Perspective on Her Professional Journey

PES Women in Power (WiP) fosters a more diverse leadership by supporting the career advancement, networking and education of women in the energy industry.  IEEE PES WiP is impacting the lives of young engineers throughout the world. Sumedha Sharma, a WiP member from India gives her perspective on her professional journey:

“I was born and raised in culturally diverse parts of India. Moving around different states, cities, and schools gave me the opportunity to explore and develop my interests. My early education compelled me to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (2013). Additionally, I underwent several internships during my undergraduate studies, which helped me identify my passion for power engineering and automation in system operations. I got drawn towards the popularization of ‘smart’ systems and my fascination inspired me to undertake my undergraduate project in the field of programmable logic controllers and SCADA applications for smart systems.

I further continued to pursue my Master’s Degree in Power Systems (2016) during which I got attracted to research in renewable energy systems, focusing on power system deregulation, clean energy and energy efficiency. Solar energy is a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted resource. This has been the backbone of my research, since living in a tropical country like India which receives over 300 sunny days annually, made me realize that solar is, in fact a largely underutilized resource. Moreover, the growing issues of climate change and global warming has necessitated the need to reduce carbon footprints. This motivated me to conceptualize heating and air conditioning systems energized through seasonal thermal energy storage.   It was during this time that I had my first close encounter with IEEE in the International Transportation Electrification Conference, held in Chennai, India. I got the opportunity to interact with some of the biggest names in academia and industry. My inclination towards research got streamlined and I soon developed it as a passion. Naturally, a Doctoral Degree had to be the next step.

At the age of 25, I joined one of the most prestigious institutes of India, IIT Delhi for a Doctor’s Degree in Energy Management. My main areas of interest are multi-energy systems, microgrid operations, demand side management, and smart buildings. My role as a Research Scholar grew my closeness with IEEE and its activities. IEEE is synonymous to research, and is undoubtedly, the largest single platform uniting engineers globally. I have been a student member of IEEE, member of PES and PELS since 2017. I got the opportunity to attend several workshops, seminars, and distinguished lectures under the aegis of IEEE. Over the years, I have become closely associated with the IEEE family, which has helped me improve my networking and enhanced my professional skills. I was soon introduced to IEEE PES Women in Power (WiP), and closely coordinated the First Annual Conference of WiP, held in New Delhi (2017). Meeting and interacting with the successful and strong women in academia, and the power industry has been a driving force in my career. On the personal front, WiP has been a refreshing platform to know and develop acquaintances with the lovely and amazing women from across the globe, who share the common interests of promoting women engineers.

Every new day I am inspired to work hard and grow as a power engineer. I am dedicated towards continuing my work as an IEEE volunteer and strongly advocate young girls to join PES and WiP early in their careers because it guides you, and helps you explore and develop your interests. It strongly boosts your confidence which motivates you to work harder, for the society and for engineering. I am honoured to be a Woman in Power, and invite you all to share the joy and eventful experience!”

Sainab Ninalowo