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.
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
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.
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”
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
Continuing the tradition of Central European cross-section congresses, after Linz in 2011 and Opole in 2013, this time Central European Student and Young Professionals Congress (CEuSYP) was held in Croatia, from May 8 to 10, 2015, at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Zagreb. This Congress edition was attended by 80 participants – student members and Young Professionals, as well as speakers, sections’ and Region 8 representatives from twelve IEEE Sections including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine.
One of the main goals of the Congress was to bring students and young professionals together, increase the interest of students to remain volunteers after graduation and participate in the activities of their local Young Professional affinity groups. Special focus was also the transfer of knowledge to new volunteers, as well as recently established or reactivated student branches and Young Professionals affinity groups. However, what these congresses are really imbued with is the enormous amount of motivating energy sprouting from each young engineer and volunteer that reminds us of what keeps the world spinning. The greatest examples carried and spread this vigour all the way to the senior membership.
After the organizers welcoming speech, the opening of Congress was initiated by Mislav Grgic, the Dean of the Faculty and IEEE Croatia Section Chair and our special guests followed with their presentations: Margaretha Eriksson, Region 8 Director-Elect, and Christian Schmid, Region 8 Secretary, emphasising the importance of student and Young Professionals volunteers in the future of IEEE. The Congress program was filled with plenary sessions related to Young Professionals, Student, Technical, Professional and Educational activities, aiming to inform the participants about the breaking initiatives and programs. Interaction and teamwork were the centre of technical, volunteer and soft skills improving workshops. Participating student branches and affinity groups shared their significant and unique stories and exchanged ideas of activities or upcoming events and gave insights in new trends in science and technology.
After all, events like these are a great place to learn everything you ever wanted to know about IEEE, other student branches and young professional affinity groups, to make new international contacts and friendships, and to do it in the most fun and catchy way. Organisationally, it was a great intersection of our young professionals and students in the most collaborative, productive, interesting and joyful way.
It’s 11:56am on Saturday 25th April 2015, when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Nepal from within and brought the landmark Dharahara Tower to rubble within seconds. So many of us, oblivious to the aftermath of such a powerful earthquake went about our daily lives, giving no thought to one of nature’s most disastrous events, killing more than 8,800 people, injuring another 23,000 and resulting in hundreds of thousands homeless. With this article, we intend to bring your attention to Nepal and the measures taken and those currently underway to comfort, relieve and reassure all those who were affected.
Nepal lies completely within the collision zone of the Himalayan arc which is formed as a result of collision between the Indian Subcontinent and Eurasia tectonic plates. This makes it an earthquake prone region and statistics have shown that on average Nepal will be subject to a major earthquake every 70 to 80 years. Experts say that the 1934 Earthquake is connected to the 2015 Earthquake following a historic earthquake pattern. In 2015 alone, 147 earthquakes of magnitude greater than 1.5 rocked Nepal of which the most disastrous was the one that took place on 25 April 2015. The Gorkha Earthquake, as it is now commonly referred to, had an intensity classified IX – Violent with the epicentre east of Lamjung and the depth of hypocentre being approximately 15km.
In a desperate attempt to help, many Chinese companies extended a helping hand. Chen Tiegang, Director of the Nepal Branch of Shanghai Construction Group lent the company’s premises to people who had lost their homes and loved ones. Three on-site engineers joined rescue efforts by using the company’s crane, forklift truck and excavator to rescue people buried in the rubble. The company became an instant de facto relief shelter providing food, tents and variety of other supplies. Within 48 hours, 650 pounds of rice and 550 pounds of flour was delivered to those affected. Where one would have thought that the usage of construction technology could be only limited to its building functions, its use in relief operations in Nepal resulted in saving thousands of lives.
ZTE Corporation, a global leader of telecommunications equipment and network solutions has operations in 160 countries around the world. The CEO and CTO of South Asia Business Development Office, Mr. Xu and Mr. Zong respectively, de-toured a business trip and assisted with the purchase and transfer of 10 tents and 50 kilograms of food to Nepal. ZTE devised an emergency logistics team which distributed supplies and assembled petrol for electrical purposes. ZTE also set up a special task force of 60 engineers to provide 24-hours on-the-ground emergency support to maintain telecommunication services throughout Nepal. Telecommunication services are of utmost importance in the event of natural disasters to enable the smooth working of relief operations.
ZTE Logistics and 24-hours On-the-site Emergency team of Engineers and ZTE Relief Supplies
The taskforce repaired and restored 400 ZTE Mobile Base Stations that were damaged in the aftermath of the Gorkha Earthquake. In order to adequately assess the magnitude of the asset damage, the team prepared a database of the base stations in the surrounding areas. Each base station was assessed and reviewed before the findings were input into the running spreadsheet. This enabled the repair works to be methodical and efficient in this time of need.
NASA’s novel technology called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response) was also used for the very first time in a real-time scenario to aid relief operations in Nepal. The FINDER, powered by a Lithium battery can detect subtle movements like the movement of skin due a heartbeat by emitting low power microwaves. The waves can penetrate up to 9m into mould rubble and 6m into concrete, thereby being extremely useful in the locating of four men trapped under 10m of rubble from two separate buildings in Nepal.
NASA’s FINDER Technology used in Nepal for Rescue Operations
Google and Facebook did not hesitate to lend a helping hand with their online web based tools, ‘Person Finder’ and ‘Safety Check’. Person Finder is Google’s missing person’s tracker which activated when Gorkha hit Nepal. Information can be submitted about people in the earthquake zone indicating their safety status. This creates the database from which people all around the world can then look for missing persons or find out the safety of a friend or family member.
Google’s Person Finder feature activated to aid in finding missing persons following the Gorkha Earthquake
Facebook’s Safety Check feature asks its users to let their network know if they are safe. When Facebook turned on this feature, it determined the users who were in the disaster area from inputted profile and personal information. People outside the disaster area could check whether their friends and family members were safe depending on their safety status.
Facebook’s Safety Check Feature activated during Gorkha Earthquake to aid Rescue Operations
IEEE’s Kerala Section in India assisted with the earthquake recovery efforts by sending 100 solar lanterns to provide immediate support. Mr Jayakrishnan MC and Mr Amarnath Raja visited Nepal immediately after the earthquake to assist the IEEE Nepal subsection with the rehabilitation efforts. Volunteers in IEEE Nepal Sub Section partnered with Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Ltd, Global Himalayan Expedition and IEEE Smart Village. IEEE Smart Village worked with local IEEE volunteers and documented the necessities needed to re-build Nepal towards prosperity.
100 Solar Lanterns donated by IEEE Kerala Section for immediate relief in Nepal
It is the human tendency or being human as we call it, that when we are threatened as a species, we fight back and we fight to win. That is why we have influentially shaped this planet for over 200,000 years and it is this that unites us in times of distress. Gorkha in Nepal was no different and we were attacked and we mourned the losses of loved ones. However, we got back up and united we stood strong to build our lives yet again.
May all the good forces be with you Nepal!
The IEEE Young Professionals team would like to thank Bimlesh Ranjitkar and Abhimanyu Pandey for their contributions to this article.
The article has been edited by Michael Gough and Sneha Kangralkar, Assistant Editors
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
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
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
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)
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!
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)
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
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.
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.
5. 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.
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
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.
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.