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.

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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

WIE are Leaders: International Summit

September witnessed a celebration of women in engineering and technology from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. The largest IEEE WIE summit was hosted from 11-12 September, 2015 for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region with 200 delegates, 40 speakers, 18 partners and 4 sub-tracks at Hotel Green Park, Chennai, India. IEEE Young Professionals partnered with the summit in hosting the Early Career track.

The summit attendees

The summit attendees

With the theme – “Beyond Yourself – Leveraging your strengths and Breaking barriers”, the summit aimed to build a strong network for its attendees and give them actionable data and points of contact as a leg-up in their careers. The mission of this summit was to bring together individuals from different backgrounds of engineering, empower and inspire them into leadership and entrepreneurship. With diversity as a key for both attendees and speakers – the congregation consisted of delegates from Japan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, USA, Sri Lanka and speakers from industries that included Defense, Automotive, Technology, Consulting, Media & Arts, Not-Profit, and many others.

The program was divided into four sub tracks – Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Inspiration (sponsored by IEEE Young Professionals) and Empowerment (sponsored by CISCO, India) with four sessions in each track and a one hour career-planning workshop on the second day of Leadership track. The summit focused on various aspects of a professional career and also included inspiring talks from individuals from non engineering backgrounds.

Delegates in deep discussion

Delegates in deep discussion

The first day set the pace for the remainder of the event with multiple networking and learning opportunities. Kumud Srinivasan, President, Intel India opened the conference with a keynote on pushing boundaries, women in leadership and discussed opportunities for diverse influence. The panel discussion by IEEE WIE leaders (three IEEE Global WIE Chairs – past and current) on how WIE Affinity Groups are playing a key role in transforming the role of women as change makers was well received by the audience. Malvika Iyer shared her candid story on how she continued to do what she loved in spite of impairment – PhD in Disability – Inclusion and becoming a Global Changemaker. Her quote – “Disability is in the mind of the observer, not the observed” left the audience awe-struck and received a standing ovation.

Teach for India, showcased leadership in the classroom, with TFI students sharing their stories. Archana Ramachandran, Chennai City Director TFI presented the leadership lessons that fellows learnt from the low-income schools and students.

The technology panel discussed a range of disruptive technologies with larger insights from CISCO. Lavanya Gopalakrishnan, Director CISCO caught the attention of senior delegates in the room while sharing – “Five things I wish I knew early in my career”.

11779869_1492636874391816_5998709747242720681_oThe viral hashtag #ilooklikeanengineer was discussed by Kamolika Peres, Vice President, Ericsson India on how it is important to break the stereotypes about women in technology. For MBA career enthusiasts, the fireside chat with Vibha Kagzi (CEO, ReachIvy & Harvard Business School Alumna) provided useful insights to the top ten frequently asked questions on how and why MBA matters while transitioning from Engineering into Management.

For the early careers/young delegates, talks by Leena Bansal (Globe Trotter who solo travelled 32 countries), Esther Ling (IEEE Larry K Wilson Award recipient) and Ekta Grover (Bloom Reach) stood as great inspiration to be creative and think outside of the box.

Esther Ling at the Inspiration track sponsored by IEEE Young Professionals

Esther Ling at the Inspiration track sponsored by IEEE Young Professionals

The summit ended with a keynote from Lakshmi Pratury on stories around  leaders from different cultures and backgrounds – a 12 year old who battled her life with a deadly illness to an entrepreneur from a rural background, who revolutionized women’s hygiene by creating a 1INR sanitary napkin and about young women entrepreneurs and leaders who leverage technology to make this world a better place. The organizing committee was recognized at the closing ceremony along with the support volunteers.
Committee Leads with IEEE Leaders and SICCI President - Mr. Jawahar

Committee Leads with IEEE Leaders and SICCI President – Mr. Jawahar


Click here for more details on the 2015 IEEE WIE Leadership Summit
More photos can be found here

Article Contributed by – Preeti Kovvali (Program Curator & Partnerships Chair, 2015 IEEE WIE Leadership Summit). Preeti works at Tech Mahindra as a Service Delivery Leader handling database operations for a major healthcare client. She played a key role to design and curate the program for the IEEE WIE Leadership Summit. She also serves the 2015 Committee Member, Global Strategy Adhoc Committee & Liaison of the IEEE Young Professionals for IEEE WIE.

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

Startup in Focus: Hand in Scan and Tamas Haidegger

Tamas Haidegger is the CEO/CTO of Hand-in- Scan & Adjunct Professor at Obuda University in Hungary Budapest. He is highly active within IEEE through the Robotics and Automation Society and currently representing Young Professionals. We interviewed him today to find out more about his research and his startup product Hand-in-Scan. Here is what he had to say to the Young Professionals around the world:

Hand-in-Scan's CEO Tamas Haidegger was awarded the prestigious Dennis Gabor award in the Hungarian Parliament for his entrepreneurial achievements

Hand-in-Scan’s CEO Tamas Haidegger was awarded the prestigious Dennis Gabor award in the Hungarian Parliament for his entrepreneurial achievements

Your Research is in the field of Long Distance Teleportation control. Could you elaborate on this?

I was very interested in Space Robotics and through a Physician colleague, who asked questions about the possibility about performing long distance surgery in space, my interest in this area increased. Despite the fact that surgical robotics started in 1975 with the aim to support Astronauts, there was no research on the physical consequences of space travel. Hence I chose the topic of my thesis to be the feasibility of such analysis and whether tele surgery will be possible.

Could you tell us more about the field of Long Distance teleportation control?

The field of Long Distance teleportation control became a hot topic in research when tele robotics became possible. There are a lot of transatlantic and transcontinental robotic research experiments that are undertaken in this area today. In the meantime, I still think that it is very extreme and the more we think about going to the moon and shooting from Mars the more interesting the area is becoming.

How did the idea of Hand-in-Scan come about?

The idea of Hand-in-Scan came from one of my students who worked in hospitals. He researched the process doctors and nurses sanitized their hands after surgery. There are a lot of market products but when not used properly can cause infections which actually happens more times than we know of.  In the western world, statistics also say that about 200,000 people die because of secondary infections they receive at hospitals during getting a treatment. Hand-in-Scan is an engineering machine which scans hands to point out the missed areas after regular sanitization is done. There is also a reporting function in the machine which sends reports and statistics to the management for analysis to make sure that processes are running correctly.

When you had the Hand-in-Scan idea, how did you know that you wanted to turn it into an entrepreneurial opportunity?

For me, I definitely think that it was an evolution more than a revolution for me and initially I tried to acquire some research grants and some funding for this project but after struggling for a couple of years, we decided to run it as a business. And we had to really change our mindset from Academic to business oriented.

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Could you share your experience working with the World Health Organization WHO in relation to the Hand-in-Scan product?

WHO has a special patient safety group consisting of users and companies who devote a lot of their time, energy and money to improve the standards of patient safety. One subgroup or committee is the hand hygiene group which consists of companies selling hand hygiene products and solutions and we are a part of that community and try to contribute towards better patient care.

With doing research, managing a company and teaching, how do you manage your time?

Excellence in research involves good methodology, very thorough basic knowledge and good people you work with can really make you successful in research and this can be translated into good startups. Teaching has provided me with the sales skills required to run this startup successfully.  Also because the company is embedded into the university itself, management is something that I think I am doing well.

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Where do you see yourself working in Technology in the future, while also working at the university?

I think the technology transfer process from university is a very interesting one because I think brilliant students deserve a chance to make their ideas a reality and university can help with translating some ideas into businesses if not all. And I think that is a very exciting future for students.

What role has IEEE played in your career so far?

Starting with 10 years ago, we were organizing small IEEE chapter events, organizing competitions and exchange programs for local students. I did not only get in involved in organizing events but also getting involved in community. Since then, throughout many years, I have attended many IEEE conferences and I developed strong professional connections which helped me in numerous ways. One of the best thing was that I met the best people in my field and once I got to know them, I could ask them questions any time and they assisted me all along. On the other side, IEEE does a lot of work in the business outreach direction as well.  I gained a lot of regulatory knowledge from this which I used during the development of my project.

How has your experience been so far and do you have any special moments you wish to share with us?

I have a lot special moments working so far and I think if you cannot enjoy your work, then you need to change it. Two key messages that I really live by and would like to share with young professionals worldwide are that if you can enjoy your job, you will never have to work your entire life and that get smarter people aboard and make them excited about your problem. And this will help you be creative both in academic and business.

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So what is your message to young robotics professionals around the world? What can they look forward to in the future in Robotics?

This field is growing immensely and the rise of new systems and new companies is unprecedented. The Robotics and Automation society grew from 9000 members to over 12000 members now and I am not talking about amateur member students, but professionals who are currently working in this field. Robotics is integrating into my life increasingly. So this is a good time to join if you are interested, more over if you have an idea which has not been explored before, you can get paid to actually get it into fruition by forming a team.

The team at Young Professionals thanks Tamas for this amazing insight into the world of Robotics. It sure is a field that is growing tremendously and is always hungry for more innovation.

Interview conducted by Shashank Gaur, IEEE Young Professionals

Interview transcribed by Sneha Kangralkar, Assistant Editor, IEEE IMPACT

10 soft skills to define your early career

It is 9 am Monday morning and for many people it is a day just like every other. However, it is late September and in the southern hemisphere (in my case Australia) it is summer internship application period. During the last two weeks of September I will meet with dozens of students looking to secure one of many highly competitive work experience positions. My inbox is flooded with emails related to CV structure, cover letters, interview advice and if there is sufficient mention of projects/technical content in a job application. What I find in 99% of engineering and technology students is that their key sales point to industry tends be along the lines of “I am a good coder”, “I am a great electronics designer”, “I am an outstanding mechanical engineer”, “I am highly proficient in the use of CAD” and the list goes on. I think by now you get the point. Historically students in STEM careers have ignored the “soft skills”, often brushing them aside to hone in more of the tech crunch. The 21st century engineer can no longer expect to find jobs solely on their ability to solve problems.

"Stand out in the crowd with a well defined set of soft skills" says Dr. Eddie Custovic

“Stand out in the crowd with a well defined set of soft skills” says Dr. Eddie Custovic

 

In a recent survey 77 percent of employers surveyed by careerbuilder.com said they were seeking candidates with soft skills — and 16 percent of the respondents considered such qualities more crucial than hard skills. Soft skills relate to the way employees relate to and interact with other people. Another study conducted by Millennial Branding said employers ranked placed the most emphasis on: communication skills, a positive attitude and the ability to work in a team, all of which can be labelled soft skills or emotional intelligence. Hard skills, on the other hand, are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify, such as a proficiency in a computer programming language. In today’s world employers have an expectancy that graduates will come to an organization already in possession of soft skills. When employees lack these basic soft skills, it can hurt the overall success of the organization.

While there are endless articles on which soft skills matter most, I have taken the liberty of creating a summary of 10 that are crucial:

1. Effectively managing your time and being organised Time management is one of those skills that we often feel we are failing at as students. Late assignments? Missing a class? Forgot to do your preliminary reading before a laboratory session? During your studies you will be introduced to the concept of project management which contains an element of time management. Your undergraduate degree should serve as a testing ground to hone in on your time management skills. 8 semesters of studies will allow you to experiment with different ways of keeping track of time. Some of you prefer keeping notes in a diary and others will use a digital diary/calendar to keep track of tasks. It is important that have time management and organizational skills that stand out. There is not much room to missing meetings and project deadlines when out in industry. Missing project deadlines can often have grave consequences for the organization you work for.

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2. Working under pressure. Many of you have pulled an “all-nighter” during your undergraduate studies. Drinking red bull or coffee to give you that extra few hours of concentration need to complete an assignment or project. While learning good time management skills can help you minimize the frequency of these taxing situations, they are likely to occur from time to time in a demanding job. This is particularly true if you are wanting to make an impact early in your career.While “working smarter, not harder” is a term often thrown around, evidence shows that putting in the extra hours from time to time early in your career delivers results. You will not go unnoticed. It might come as a surprise that the ability to focus all your energy on something is a skill you often utilize in the workforce.

3. Being dependable. Employers value workers they can rely on to get the job done. There’s nothing better than an employee who is on time every time and is highly reliable. Your managers will be under enormous pressure to deliver outcomes. Having employees who can take on tasks with confidence can alleviate some of the pressure from management.

4. Being creative and innovative. Whether you are an IT professional or biomedical engineer, creativity is what sparks change in the workplace. Finding a unique solution and thinking outside of the box is what standout graduates do. During interviews you will most likely face questions such as “Please tell us about a time when you were assigned a tasks and how you dealt with it”. This is the time to demonstrate your creative thinking and ability to provide innovative/non conventional problem solving. The challenges we face in industry often require solutions that fall outside of what we normally expect to see. A great example of a large scale creative solution is the construction of the Burj-Khalifa tower in Dubai. To ensure the concrete of the mega structure cured properly, ice blocks were thrown into concrete and poured over night.

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5. Voicing opinions while being open to feedback. Employees who are confident in their ideas but open to feedback can play influential roles in a workplace. During a brainstorming session, for example, such an employee would not only share ideas but also challenge others’ by asking thoughtful questions. This can create a stimulating discussion and even spark innovation. As a graduate you should ask yourself the following questions; Are you open to training and advice? If someone senior in the organization made a comment about your work (feedback), how would you react (defensive or acknowledge it)? Accepting negative feedback in a graceful manner speaks volumes about an individual and their character.

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6. Solving problems. Especially for fast-paced organizations, strong employees can think critically and effectively solve problems. Are you generally a resourceful person? Even if you don’t have all the answers, would you be able to look for them? Know what to do? People who take ownership and are ready to own up their mistakes are highly regarded by the organisation. A typical question you will face during an interview in this area is: “Please provide an example of a time when you had to overcome a challenge in the workplace”. This will help a hiring manager gauge the candidate’s ability to solve problems, be resourceful and face obstacles at work.

7. Coaching and mentoring of co-workers. According to Millennial Branding report, 92 percent of employers value strong teamwork skills. Strong employees are individuals willing to help co-workers and coach them along the way. Let’s say a new employee has been hired and added to a group project. The new employee probably doesn’t have a clue about what’s going on yet. In this scenario, an employee who’s been on the team a while should take the new worker under his wing and coach the person through the new project.

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8. Taking initiative. An employee demonstrates initiative by coming up with an idea and putting it into action. For example, an employee might develop an idea for social-media marketing campaign that will build awareness for the organization. Don’t always wait to be assigned a task, if you can see a problem take initiative to see how you can contribute in solving it.

9. Being flexible and focused. Deadlines and projects can change at a moment’s notice. Employees need to quickly adapt while remaining focused on meeting deadlines. For example, an employee may have just received an assignment and deadlines for the week. But Wednesday arrives and the manager decides everything needs to be shifted to arrive a day earlier. A flexible employee would be able to quickly adapt to these changes and focus on projects with top priority.

10. Developing new work processes. Employees with the ability to analyze work processes and discover new ways to complete them efficiently are valuable to employers. Not only does this save employers time, but it can also add to the bottom line.

Have other soft skills that you believe should be in this list? Let us know.

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

 

YP Member Spotlight – Anthony Deese

IEEE PES Young Professionals is an international community of enthusiastic, dynamic, and innovative members and volunteers. A spotlight on selected PES YP members is provided here to provide insight into this great community. These members provide unique insight into their education, career goals and progression, and personal lives.

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Anthony please tell us about yourself 

I am currently an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The College of New Jersey as well as director of the NSF-funded Smart Electric Power System (SEPS) Laboratory.  I teach a number of courses on power system analysis, power electronics, electronics, circuits and systems, as well as differential equations.  My research areas include field-programmable analog array (FPAA) technology, artificial neural networks, measurement-based load modeling, demand response, and state estimation in distribution systems.  Much of my work examines applications to power system planning and operation.  I completed both my undergraduate and graduate work at Drexel University, working on my doctorate as a research assistant within the Center for Electric Power Engineering (CEPE) under advisors Dr. Chika Nwankpa, Ph.D. and Dr. Karen Miu, Ph.D.  I am a member of the IEEE Power and Energy Society as well as IEEE IEEE Young Professionals Committee.  My hobbies include running as well as playing piano and guitar.  Please refer to my website: www.anthonydeese.com for further information.

Dr. Deese with students during a hydroelectric power plant visit

Dr. Deese with students during a hydroelectric power plant visit

What professional achievements are you most proud of?

I am very happy that I have had the opportunity to establish a power engineering laboratory at The College of New Jersey.  Not many undergraduate institutions have a facility like SEPS.  It has been a great asset in both teaching and research.  I look forward to further expanding the capability of the laboratory in coming years.

What were your early career goals (first 10 years in industry)? Which have you accomplished? How did you plan/execute these goals?

My early career goals included acquiring a tenure-track faculty position at a highly-regarded institution of higher learning as well as starting my own laboratory.  I have been able to achieve these goals through hard work and the assistance of many colleagues from Drexel University, The College of New Jersey, and the IEEE.  I cannot overstate the importance of IEEE and PES involvement; the resources it provides are invaluable to young electrical engineers.

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What are you career goals moving forward?

One of my primary career goals moving forward is the acquisition of additional research funds that 1) allow more undergraduate students to participate in research and 2) provide students and faculty at TCNJ with more robust power engineering research and educational facilities.  I am also interested in learning more about the utilization of artificial neural networks and machine learning in power system planning and operation.  I hope to include these topics in both my future teaching and research.

How are you involved in PES?

I serve on the IEEE PES Young Professionals Committee.  Additionally, I have attended the IEEE PES General Meeting every year for the past 5 – 7 years.  It is a great opportunity to present work, learn about emerging topics in the field of power engineering, and connect with others in the power community.

Do you have any advice for Young Professionals getting involved in PES?

First, I would advise YP members to learn about and take advantages of all the opportunities the IEEE provides.  There many sources of scholarship, travel funding, and job placement assistance that go under-used.  Subscribe to IEEE Spectrum as well as IEEE Power and Energy Magazine, and make time to read them monthly.  The IEEE uses these publications to communicate with its membership and inform them of new and exciting opportunities.  Second, I would advise YP members to always maintain a five-year career plan, formal or informal.  It is important for young engineers to ask themselves important questions regarding: 1) technical areas to focus on, 2) interest in graduate education, 3) desire to work in academia vs. industry, as well as 4) expectations for income and lifestyle.  I have always maintained an informal five-year plan.  And, although it’s constantly changing, this vision for the future encourages me to devote some time to career development in spite of more pressing / immediate tasks.

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You have been in the power industry for approximately ten years, what was the biggest challenge you faced in your career? How did you deal with this challenge?

The biggest challenge I have faced in my career is learning how to turn negatives into positives.  Almost everyone faces setbacks in their career.  However, it is important to realize that these setbacks are invaluable learning experiences essential to self-improvement and long-term career success.

In your experiences, how important has/is continuing education to career advancement and personal development?

No one succeeds in their chosen profession without devoting time to continued education and personal development.  This education may take place in the university classroom, research laboratory, or corporate / industrial environment.  However, it is essential that professionals look ahead and obtain the skills that will be needed in the future, especially in a fast-changing technical field like engineering.

What advice do you have for newly graduated power engineers?

I strongly believe that you (aka. the recent graduate) have chosen the right field to enter at the right time.  I suggest that you use the early years of your career to gain as much experience and as many skills as possible.  They will pay high dividends in the future.

Profile was provided by the Young Professionals of Power & Energy Society (PES)

Life on Oil and Gas rigs: An IEEE insider view

Today we bring you an exciting inside view of what it is like to be an engineer on oil and gas rigs. We interview Loai Khalayli an active IEEE member who provides us with detailed information about his life and how he ended up working in this exciting industry.

Woodside Petroleum gas find off Australia's west coast.

Woodside Petroleum gas find off Australia’s west coast. Image courtesy: Couriermail

1.       Loai Please tell us a little about yourself?

 

I was born in a little town called Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates. Having spent the majority of my life (22 years) in the UAE, I completed all my schooling, and my bachelor degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). After that, I decided to cross the Indian ocean and went to Melbourne University for a master degree in Mechatronics Engineering.

 

2.       What prompted you to move to Australia?

 

Australia is a beautiful country: its nature, people, lifestyle, standard of living, culture (or multi-culture) are unique. When I got my offer to study in Melbourne, at Australia’s top university, I couldn’t reject it, and decided it was time to move to another part of the world.

Loai receives award - HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashed Al Maktoum in Dubai

Loai receives award – HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashed Al Maktoum in Dubai

 

3.       Please tell us about your involvement with the IEEE? 

 

Without exaggeration, the IEEE has shaped my life. It all started when I was a freshman student exploring student clubs at a club fair at AUS. I joined the “sub-committee” as a volunteer for the IEEE student branch. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had joined one of the most important technical organizations in the world. We were organising international conferences, technical workshops with major companies, social events, and lots of other great events. The hard work immediately paid off with the networking opportunities and the lifelong friends I made from companies and universities around the world. It was one thing that brought us altogether – our passion for IEEE.

 

Two semesters after my join date, I was offered the opportunity to join the team for a partially sponsored study tour to France. That was a one-of-a-kind experience: a highlight of that trip was a visit to the Airbus manufacturing facility in Toulouse, at which we saw the A380 being assembled. The most impressive aspect of the study tour was that it was completely organized by students for students.

Loai, the rig and nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see

Loai, the rig and nothing but ocean as far as the eye can see

Over the next years, I held different positions in the committees of IEEE student branches at AUS and University of Melbourne. Over the course of 6 years volunteering for the IEEE, I was exposed to many different projects which developed my professionalism. It provided me with a wide spectrum of skills: technical (from conferences, publications, etc.), and organizational/leadership/social skills (from our committee projects). Most importantly, it exposed me to difficult situations, and taught me how to deal with people, as well manage my time as I juggled volunteering around my studies and part-time work. 

 

Another notable experience I’ve had with the IEEE is when my undergraduate senior project won the second prize in the IEEE Myron Zucker Student Design Competition. As a result, my team and I were flown to Las Vegas, Nevada to present our project at the IEEE Industry Application Society AGM. People from all around the world were present to showcase their work.

 

4.       You were recently employed by Woodside Petroleum. Please tell us about your journey of employment.

 

I started working with Woodside in February 2015 (not long ago!). So far, it has been a very rewarding journey. Working in this sector requires a very strong focus on safety – a requirement for all employees travelling to offshore platforms is the completion of the TBOSIET, which stands for Tropical (water) Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training. This entails fire-fighting, escaping a smoke-filled room (with zero visibility), escaping an upside down submerged helicopter, survival at sea, first-aid and lots of other aspects. It can be a bit daunting at first, but then once the safety culture is built into your mind, you can never think differently – the first thing you would do at arrival to any place (even if it’s a cinema, or a hotel) is identify emergency exits and map your escape routes.

 

Another part of the job that I have enjoyed learning is specialised knowledge in hazardous areas (all our electrical devices must be explosion-proof). Woodside provides its graduates many opportunities to learn on-the-job, while allowing graduates to be creative in solving the toughest problems! It has been very challenging to learn about hazardous areas, while being presented with non-conventional problems. I feel like I’m breaking new boundaries every single day.

 

5.       Woodside is the largest operator of Oil & Gas in Australia. Tell us about some of the major projects you have been involved in?

 

Currently, I’m working on the North West Shelf Project, Australia’s largest resource development project. Specifically, I am working on the offshore gas processing platforms. These platforms are some of the largest in the world in size and gas processing capacity. Visiting the sites is not an ordinary visit – many of our projects have held or hold world records.

Northwest Shelf - Australia

Northwest Shelf – Australia

Being part of the frontline engineering team that keeps the plant up and running is a very interesting experience. The plant runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and if a fault occurs, it needs immediately attention. Being called into the office on a weekend/public holiday/weeknight is not unexpected (of course, employees follow fatigue management plans that allow them to take a day off in certain cases)!

 

6.       You travel a lot as part of your work and spend time in remote sites including oil/gas rigs. What is it like to work on a rig? Can you describe what a typical day will consist of?

 

I do get to travel to sites in the North West of Australia, off the coast of the town of Karratha. It takes about 5 to 6 hours to get there from Perth (Capital of the Western Australian state) between a fixed wing flight, a helicopter ride, and airport waiting times. Once you arrive there, you are briefed with safety instructions, and are allowed to start work afterwards.

 

A working day on-site is about 12 hours, with regular scheduled breaks for re-energizing. The day starts early, with a 6 am start, and goes ahead with the morning meeting: this covers information on the different work on site, the weather conditions, and the plan for the day. All those are talked about with relevance to safety: how can all the work be done such that everyone can return home safely. After that, everyone heads off to their job, which can be very different from one person to another. On some days, I find people calibrating sensors, and on others I see turbines being dismantled.

Loai undertaking his duties on the rig during a typical day

Loai undertaking his duties on the rig during a typical day

I guess the most interesting part about working offshore is the people you meet – great characters, and lots of technical experience. More importantly, the safety culture that people live and breathe is quite impressive. People look after each other all the time. Another very important learning curve is the Permit-to-Work system: this system essentially prevents conflicting works (in terms of safety, or for functionality of the plant) from happening at the same time. There are several other aspects covered by this system, such as electrical isolations, process isolations, etc. depending on the work being undertaken. 

 

7.       What advice can you offer to other Young Professional members looking to get into this sector of work?

 

I strongly recommend any engineer who is considering joining this industry to explore it – it’s a world of its own, and it holds great learning opportunities. The work is never monotonous – one day you’re in the office meeting engineers, the next day you’re testing equipment in a lab. Other days you find yourself on a helicopter on your way to site. One thing I’d like to stress on is joining a company that looks after the safety of its employees. The reality is it’s a hazardous industry, and having many people working on the same plant requires a lot of management, planning, and knowledge of the plant structure for everyone to be safe. One thing that I’m proud to say is that Woodside has great safety accomplishments.

 

8.       Anything else you want to add?

 

Yes. I’d just like to mention one thought that always came to my mind. Every transition stage of one’s life is like hitting a ‘reset’ button, or perhaps, a step applied to one’s system – whether it’s a new city you move to, a new job/industry, a new degree/university, etc. Change is something that one always has to embrace to be successful. People can handle change differently – but it may be a good idea to take changes in small steps – this ensures that you are always stable (excuse my control systems terminology!). Nevertheless, my advice to everyone is to move outside of their comfort zones, reach the unreachable, and work their way smartly to success!

 

Interview and editing – Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, IEEE IMPACT

Central Europe in focus at CEuSYP

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.

Congress Atmosphere

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.

CEuSYP 2015 Participants

More information about the CEuSYP can be found at: www.ceusyp2015.org and

https://www.facebook.com/pages/IEEE-CESYP-Congress-2015/836051769789015?fref=ts

Article contributed by Vinko Lešić, Croatia Section Young Professionals Chair and Ivana Stupar, Croatia Section Student Activities Chair

Article edited by Michael Gough, Assistant Editor, IEEE IMPACT

Finished study? Where to next?

You have your necessary engineering tertiary qualification; check!

You are a member of various engineering related organisations; check!

You are actively partaking in numerous co-curricular activities; check!

……. however you are struggling to ‘land’ that first job, relevant work experience and job ready skills.

This is the problem facing many current graduates from all over the world.  I was not immune to what seems to be a common scenario in the industry today.  I graduated from a leading university in Melbourne, Australia with an engineering degree, majoring in civil engineering. Although the construction and design industry has been vibrant over the last few years, I always found it difficult to obtain the exact skill employers apparently require; that being “experience”.

Every summer during my university vacation throughout my degree, I would try to arrange some form of relevant work experience while away from my studies.  The work ranged from obtaining formal roles with local councils to enrolling in appropriate software CAD classes (for upskilling), in my spare time. Basically, I made it my mission to ensure that no employer at any interview could suggest that I supposedly “did not have enough experience”.  While it is not entirely imperative that the work experience be in your exact field of study, I believe that it is important that all upcoming graduates attempt to immerse themselves in areas and experiences that allow for opportunities to build upon their transferable leadership, teamwork and self-responsibility skills.

University specific job sites and job boards are often a very good resource to use in order to find relevant opportunities for experience.  Generic job sites often are ill-equipped to cater for the requirements often facing newly graduated and current engineering students.  The following list highlights a few engineering specific job sites from around the world that should be visited by engineers, graduates, students and employers alike.

  1. Monster – monster.com

While not exclusive to showcasing engineering jobs, this job site should be visited by job seekers and those looking for experience.  Region dependant, this site provides extra services such as resume guidance and help, together with career resources and insightful interview technique tips.

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  1. Engineering & Technology Jobs – engineering-jobs.theiet.org

Hosted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, this site allows prospective employees to search for available positions based on the engineering and technology disciplines.  The site is based in the United Kingdom, with the jobs primarily focussed toward this region. The site also allows for job seekers to connect with recruiters in the area who have an intimate knowledge of the specific working landscape.

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  1. EngineerJobs – engineerjobs.com

EngineerJobs is one of the leading engineering job sites visited in the world. Attracting nearly 400,000 monthly visitors to the site, its users can filter search results based on a combination of criteria including engineering discipline and home city.  There are approximately 300,000 jobs advertised on this site at any one time. This site is a great place for all prospective seekers from North America to begin their search. EngineerJobs also allows applicants to upload a copy of their resume for easy access from any potential recruiters.

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  1. EngineeringJobs – engineeringjobs.net.au

Hosted by Webjobz, this website performs a search on available engineering specific job availabilities across Australia.  The search function allows a search by job title, location and even company name.  Although this site slightly favours the mechanical engineering discipline, the search results often provide a diverse mix of available jobs, with varying entry requirements.

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  1. EuroEngineeringJobs – euroengineeringjobs.com

EuroEngineeringJobs, as the name suggests, caters to prospective job searchers looking for roles in predominantly Europe.  The built-in search function allows for job advertisements to be filtered by country or job field. In addition, job advertisements can be further sorted by the level of experience required; namely 0-2 years’ experience, 3-4 years’ experience, 5+ years’ experience and at the manager and executive level. An applicant’s CV and resume can also be uploaded into the job website and a job alert is provided when matched with criteria set by the user.

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  1. Engineering – engineering.com

Engineering.com (don’t you love the name?) provides a search portal for various job listings, predominately located in the United States, Canada and even the United Arab Emirates. Focussing mainly on automotive and aerospace engineering, this job site sorts the job advertisements based on discipline. In addition, job seekers can access valuable resources on career tips and industry information.

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  1. IEEE Job Site: – careers.ieee.org

The IEEE Job site provides access to a searchable database of jobs available in the electrical, electronic, engineering, computing and other IEEE related fields. The site also provides updates to the many upcoming career fairs and provides a dedicated job seeker tool to assist in building a proficient resume and CV. Internship and entry level jobs are separated on the site, allowing for more appropriate results to be displayed.

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  1. Tech Careers: – techcareers.com

While not as widely known as some of the other tech industry job sites online, TechCareers.com offers nearly 200,000 tech and engineering jobs, as well as the ability to create your own career portfolio to attract interested businesses and recruiters.

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  1. Electrical Engineer: – electricalengineer.com

Plenty of great job opportunities for those interested in electrical engineering. This site contains electronic and electrical engineering jobs ranging from microcontroller engineering, power distribution engineering to project management.

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  1. Indeed – PhD Jobs: – indeed.com/q-PhD-Engineering-jobs.html

To finish off our list, a PhD related job site called Indeed. It can be very frustrating for graduate school students to find that ideal job so rest assured we did not forget you.

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Article contributed by Michael Gough, Assistant Editor, IEEE IMPACT

Article edited by Tim Wong, Senior Assistant Editor, IEEE IMPACT and Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief, IEEE IMPACT

IEEE President Elect Candidates speak to Young Professionals

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Today we bring you an IEEE IMPACT exclusive interview with the 2016 IEEE President Elect candidates.

The IEEE Board of Directors has nominated Senior Member Karen Bartleson and Life Fellow Frederick “Fred” Mintzer as candidates for 2016 IEEE president-elect. They are set to face off in the annual election later this year. The winner will serve as IEEE president in 2017.

Karen Bartleson (www.KarenBartleson.net)

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Karen Bartleson is a Senior Director at Synopsys, an electronic design automation company.

“Karen Bartleson is a Senior Director at Synopsys, an electronic design automation company. Her responsibilities include technical standards development, software tool interoperability, relationships with universities and research institutions worldwide, and customer engagement through social media. Karen was 2013-2014 President of the IEEE Standards Association. As President, she led their new strategic plan, furthered the OpenStand™ market-driven standardization paradigm, and finalized IEEE’s membership in the Global Standards Collaboration. She chaired the IEEE Internet Initiative, whose charter is to raise IEEE’s influence in Internet governance, cyber-security, and cyber-privacy policy. She was also a member of IEEE’s strategy committee, overseeing the role of IEEE in global public policy. She received the 2003 Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation Achievement Award and authored The Ten Commandments for Effective Standards: Practical Insights for Creating Technical Standards. She holds a BS in engineering science with an electronic engineering concentration from California Polytechnic State University.”

 

  1. What prompted you to become an IEEE member and volunteer?

I became an IEEE member the same way many of you did. While I was in engineering school, one of my professors encouraged me to join. He told me that it was important to be part of a professional organization, and it could help my career. Like you, I remained a member after I went to work. My in-depth volunteering began when I became involved in technical standards development. It was a perfect blend of volunteering for the IEEE Standards Association and doing my job for my employers. I have been asked how members can balance volunteering and their “day job”. I suggest finding activities in the IEEE that complement your work. That is a secret to success.

  1. If elected, how do you see yourself positively affecting IEEE Young Professionals?

I see positive effects in both directions. You should know that you, as IEEE’s Young Professionals, truly inspire me. Your enthusiasm for technology and your passion to make the world a better place give me much optimism for the future. The way you connect with and support each other is something I want to do on a daily basis, and I can learn a lot from you. In return, I would like to offer you my experience of three decades as an engineer. I would like to be a role model for what you can achieve in your careers and your lives. I want to get you more involved in the leadership and governance of the IEEE. And I want to make IEEE so valuable to you that someday you call yourselves Life Members.

  1. Outside of your professional work, what are your hobbies and interests?

My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to cook a fancy dinner. I enjoy international cuisines and make dishes from recipes in my cookbooks and ones I find online. Once I made an Ethiopian feast, complete with injera. I prepared “safari steak for the hunter” from my African cookbook. I like to make Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, and other kinds of food from all over the world. I have yet to produce a Brazilian barbeque, but that is on my list. Before I became so busy with work and the IEEE, I loved to go camping and fly fishing. Maybe in a few years, I will have time to do these again. Having a garden and backyard chickens, like I had when I was in college, is a future goal of mine.

  1. What advice can you offer to IEEE Young Professionals?

Please, Young Professionals, never lose your bright spirit or your sense of confidence. You will likely face challenges both at work and at home. During those times, remember that you are not alone. Connect with your colleagues, your friends, your family, and your mentors for the support that will help you overcome difficulties. Be sure to take time to celebrate your successes. If you look back at the end of each year and recall all your great accomplishments, you will be enthusiastic about the year to come. Do not be afraid to try new things. Ask yourself this question that my mother taught me to ask when you face a tough decision, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Often, the worst thing is something not so terrible, and it is well worth the risk to take on a new, exciting adventure. Finally, keep learning – not only technically, but also socially. The world will continue to change, and if you embrace it, you will be amazed.

Frederick “Fred” Mintzer (www.FredMintzer.net)

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Fred Mintzer was the program director for IBM’s Blue Gene Watson supercomputer facility and associate director of its Deep Computing Institute, both at the company’s T.J. Watson Research Center, in Yorktown Heights, N.Y from 2005 to 2013. He retired on 1 January 2014.

“Fred Mintzer received a BSEE from Rutgers University and a PhD in EECS from Princeton University. He joined IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in 1978. Beginning in the middle 1980s, he managed a team that developed new technologies for image database applications and validated them in projects with cultural institutions that included the Vatican Library, Russia’s Hermitage Museum, and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. From 2001 until 2005, he managed the Visual Technologies Department which developed new technologies for digital imaging, computer graphics and data visualization. From 2005 until retirement in 2013, he was the Program Director for IBM’s Blue Gene Watson facility, which once included the world’s second fastest supercomputer. He produced over fifty publications, twenty-five patents, and key features of several IBM offerings. His honors include recognition as an IEEE Fellow, membership in the IBM Academy of Technology and twice being named an IBM Research Master Inventor.”

 

  1. What prompted you to become an IEEE member and volunteer?

My first professional job was with a small operating telephone company in northeastern Pennsylvania.  While it generously provided me with continuing education in telephony, there were only a few professional colleagues in the workplace – and no real technical community. Near that work location, there were few electrical engineers – and no IEEE activities.  After a few years there, I felt something was lacking. I decided to move on and advance technically. I resigned that position and entered graduate school at Princeton.

At Princeton, there was a lively community of graduate students who read papers, mostly IEEE papers, and talked tech. It was a great experience. As I advanced through graduate school, I had the opportunity to attend IEEE conferences and network with some of the pioneers of my field – signal processing.  Another great experience.

Interacting with Princeton professors and IEEE conference attendees taught me much about being a professional. It includes being part of a professional community; learning from the community; observing standards of the community; and contributing to the community. This is something I desired to be. I recognized that becoming an IEEE member could greatly help me to become a professional. That is why I became an IEEE member.

After graduate school, I joined IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY.   There, I found an active signal processing community that was in many ways connected to the IEEE. One of my IBM colleagues, Harvey Silverman, told me there was an opening on an IEEE technical committee (Digital Signal Processing) – and asked whether I would I like to join.  I did – and I was soon able to network more broadly, discuss the state of the art of my field, and contribute to the IEEE signal processing community. This was very satisfying. So … you might say I became an IEEE volunteer because of a fortuitous invitation, found it very satisfying, and have continued to be one. Like many other IEEE volunteers, I am indebted to the colleague who gave me that first opportunity to volunteer.

  1. If elected, how do you see yourself positively affecting IEEE Young Professionals?

I believe today’s young professionals differ from more senior IEEE members in some significant ways.  They communicate differently – having grown up with the Internet, smart phones and social media. They live in a more dynamic work environment – where they will change jobs more frequently. And they have a stronger interest in social responsibility.

The IEEE needs to recognize these differences and embrace them, if the IEEE is to be vital in the future.  To do so, we need to integrate more Young Professionals into IEEE leadership so they can represent their needs and interests. Furthermore, it is not adequate to just give Young Professionals seats at the table. When surrounded and outnumbered by more senior members, they can be reluctant to speak. We must also solicit their opinions – and listen to them. When I was the Vice President of Technical Activities, I recruited Young Professionals to join important Ad Hocs – and I solicited their opinions.  I found this very beneficial – and would continue doing it.

The old means of e-communication – e-mail and web sites – are slow, cumbersome, and lacking in interactivity. (Forgive me for stating the obvious.) We must broadly adopt, exploit, and evolve social media to support members with more interactive communication.  It is for that reason that I joined with other leaders to advocate the IEEE’s new networking and collaboration platform – Collabratec ™.  I believe Collabratec, as it evolves, will become fundament to IEEE operation.

But, beyond just providing collaboration technology, the IEEE needs to learn how to effectively use it. We need to learn how to share interesting and appropriate information – at an appropriate flow rate. We need to learn how to effectively lead on-line discussions. Our Young Professionals are often much more adept at this, given their lifelong immersion in social media – so they are natural leaders in this area.  This provides the IEEE with new opportunities to create new communication positions and recruit Young Professionals – who are very well qualified – to fill them.  By working together as peers, Young Professionals and our senior leaders can learn much from each other.

To address the changes in the more dynamic work environment, there are many things we must do.  One is to quickly and effectively identify and embrace emerging technologies, which are the homes of tomorrow’s jobs. When I was the Vice President of Technical Activities (TA), we defined a lifecycle for the emerging technology activities managed in TA’s Future Directions Committee – so more mature technologies would cycle out and create openings for newly emerging technologies.

Broadly sharing information about emerging technologies is especially important to members in the private sector so they can prepare for tomorrow’s jobs.  When I was VP of TA, we also created on-line communities centered on Future Directions’ emerging technology activities; we created an e-zine, IEEE Technical Community Spotlight that republished articles on emerging technologies; and we offered them free to all members.  In additional, the IEEE needs to ensure that funding for IEEE emerging technologies is consistent – so it does not decline when other interests emerge.

To address the changes in the work environment, we also need more effective continuing education for our members who work in the private sector.  I favor reinvigorating our Bodies of Knowledge (BOKs) by forming communities that interact around their content; Collabratec could be a piece of their infrastructure. Lastly, I believe we need to step up our support for consultants and entrepreneurs.  With shorter job durations come more frequent job transitions. Between jobs, members often consider starting their own businesses. We should support them in this by stepping up our support of consultant and entrepreneur networks

To better support IEEE social responsibility, our humanitarian activities should be revitalized – and more consistently supported. There is an IEEE Ad Hoc Committee now working on this. I personally think we need more high-visibility projects – especially humanitarian, Smart Cities, and Smart Villages, and in more Regions, as they visibly demonstrate our commitment to our mission.  As we do so, we need to ensure that these efforts are sustainable – so that we do not create any broken dreams.

In my IBM career, I managed some projects that had deliverables in places that lacked consistent power, repair parts, and readily available communication.  These problems often appear – and with greater magnitude – in IEEE humanitarian projects. The IEEE is fortunate to have the technical expertise – especially local technical expertise – to address them. However, we need to develop the organizational infrastructure to provide the sustainable support these projects need.

  1. Outside of your professional work, what are your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy outdoor activities, visiting museums, and interesting food – to name just a few. It’s a great joy for me to lace up my hiking boots and take to a nearby wooded trail on a sunny day.  Although I live in Westchester County NY, not far from New York City, there are many excellent trails in this area. Both the Clarence Fahnstock and Harriman State parks contain extensive pieces of the Appalachian Trail. There are also many shorter, but closer, trails that feature excellent scenic views. My wife Suzanne and I own a small cottage on a small lake in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania – which also have some pleasant places to hike. The scenic views there are often fewer, but there is more wildlife to see. Sometimes, I see wild turkeys, herons, osprey, and occasionally even eagles.  I love to see them.

I worked on a number of projects with museums and libraries during my professional career – and learned to appreciate their charms. The Metropolitan in New York City is spectacular – but it can be somewhat overwhelming. Smaller museums also have their charms. In the Poconos, we found museums with a full-size replica of the first steam engine in the US, John Roebling’s oldest suspension bridge, a museum of the local coal industry, paintings from the Hudson River school, and 19th century glassware made for US Presidents. They provide interesting down-to-earth views of art and history.

My visits to Region 9 meetings, these past two years, have enabled me to see the gold museum in Bogota Colombia and a “living museum” steel mill in Monterrey Mexico. At the Region 10 meeting in Kuching, I was able to visit a Malaysian native village. Near meetings in Region 8, I was able to see the

Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Greek ruins in Limassol Cyprus. These provide a view of art and history that is beyond interesting.

Suzanne and I are foodies; we enjoy interesting foods. We eat at a restaurant, perhaps once a week. Beyond just enjoying our meals, Suzanne picks up cooking tips that she uses in her own cooking. There are a variety of interesting restaurants near our home in New York. We have a favorite Indian restaurant, two favorite Italian restaurants, a favorite Mexican restaurant, a favorite Latin restaurant, a favorite Asian restaurant and a favorite fusion restaurant that combines elements of different kinds of cuisine to form interesting dishes such as Peking duck quesadillas. When in the Poconos, I like to grill on a charcoal grill. Barbequed Buffalo wings, “Fred burgers,” veggie kabobs, grilled corn, and grilled Kielbasa are among my specialties.

  1. What advice can you offer to IEEE Young Professionals?
  1. Be proud of your chosen profession. Tech professionals create the innovations that make life better for everyone – and create jobs. We have a significant positive impact on daily life.
  1. Recognize that your career is your responsibility. It is up to you to maintain marketable skills – and you should use your IEEE membership to do this. I have had colleagues tell me “I need this job. I have nowhere else to go.” This is tragic. I never want to hear you say this.
  1. Your network will help you remain technically current and will ground you in the reality of your technical environment. And it may someday help you find a job.
  1. Keep abreast of emerging technologies. The tech world is changing rapidly. Some jobs disappear because commercial interest disappears. If you need to change fields someday, emerging technologies will be good candidates to have job openings.
  1. Be venturesome. Go for the gold ring. Sometimes “crazy” projects provide the greatest opportunities. At IBM I once built a “small computer system” to store images of paintings of a famous artist (Andrew Wyeth). This project seemed to have limited follow-on potential – until the Internet arrived and museums all over the world wanted the kinds of technologies we had developed. Hundreds of thousands of people have since seen images of artwork that I helped put on museum web sites. I remember these contributions very fondly.
  1. Look for opportunities to make the world a better place. Volunteer. You will receive more than you give. And you may find that you have skills and abilities of which you are unaware.
  1. Vote for me in the IEEE Presidential election. It may not make you feel better, but it will make me feel better

Interview with president elect candidates was conducted by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor-in-Chief IEEE IMPACT

Young Professionals, Microwaves and a Regional Gathering

The third edition of the prestigious IEEE Region 10 Student/ Young Professionals/ Women in Engineering Congress 2015 was held Colombo, Sri Lanka from 9th July to 12th July, 2015. The congress began on a high note with the first ever IEEE Cricket league played between different sections. This fostered a sense of healthy competitive spirit among all the delegates of the Asia Pacific region. This was followed by an ice breaking session where people from different sections mingled and got a chance to know each other. On the night of Day 1, the congress was officially declared open by Dr. Ramakrishna Kappagantu, Director, IEEE Region 10 who warmly welcomed all the guests and delegates.

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The Microwave Theory and Techniques society hosted a special session on students and young professionals engagement in the society. Tushar Sharma, Member, image and Visibility committee spoke at length about the initiatives of the MTT society and how beneficial it is. He shared the core vision of the society which is to foster the advancement and application of RF and microwave theory and techniques. MTTS involves all the three type of member’s i.e. student members by encouraging them to set up student branch chapters, young professional’s engagement through conferences and workshops, and women in microwave by taking initiatives to involve them in the fields of RF and microwave.

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The society plans launching Young Professionals in Microwave plan with focus of recruiting volunteers and industry professionals from different parts of the world. This point struck a personal chord with the audience as each one of them could find some benefit in joining MTTS. He talked about the student activities conducted by MTTS, some of them being: Summer grants program, Undergraduate and graduate scholarships, Distinguish Microwave Lecture Program, Education Activities and Conferences and workshop. He also spoke about the various volunteering opportunities through which one can create an impact on the society. He shared success stories how locally some chapters were able to have an phenomenal impact through  IEEE MTTS-NASA and Stanford collaboration for research programmes as well as the IEEE- MTTS STAR(Students Teachers and Researchers) program. He also talked about the numerous funding opportunities available in MTTS be it in the form of Undergraduate/PHD scholarships or 1000$ that MTTS gives every year for Chapter activity support. Tushar Sharma explained the audience as to how to use MTTS efficiently for technical projects, industrial visits, microwave symposiums, and forming Special Interest Groups. The deadline for undergraduate and graduate scholarships for upcoming year is October 15, 2015 and can be found at http://www.mtt.org/students.html.

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This was followed by a small talk on IEEE MTTS SIGHT and its initiatives. Tushar spoke about the upcoming SIGHT panel sessions, design competitions, and amateur radio classes to be hosted in International Microwave and RF conference (IMARC 2015) in Hyderabad which will be held on 10th December, 2015.  The objective of this event is to motivate high school students, young engineers, professionals to apply low cost innovative microwave technology for disaster readiness and humanitarian needs. IEEE MTT-S SIGHT has also started the concept of Makaton’s:- The technical Marathon where the teams have to identify problems faced at the local level and to “make something” to solve that problem.

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The IEEE MTT society stall also saw a lot of crowd with many interested students coming forth and talking about their problems with Mr. Tushar Sharma. This Congress proved to be the perfect platform for MTTS to increase their visibility and enlighten the delegates about its resourcefulness. On the last night of the congress, a cultural night was organized so that delegates could have a better understanding of each other’s culture and admire how big and diverse our world is. Each section put up a cultural performance as well as a stall with various souvenirs from their sections. The prize distribution ceremony took place on the last day of the congress. Feedback was also taken by the organizers so that the organizing committee of the next Congress could take note of these points and organize the Congress on an even better and bigger scale. The congress ended with one last group photograph and a lifetime of memories, collaborations and friendship.