About Us

IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) is dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists and inspiring girls around the world to follow their academic interests to a career in engineering.

Local Organising Committee


Chair: Soheila Ghane Ezabadi
Vice-chair: Subhashi Jayasekara
Treasurer: Priya Rani
Secretary: Ruwangi Fernando

Event manager: Maryam Rahou
Webmaster: Hourieh Khalajzadeh
Publication manager: Gita Pendharkar
Activity Organisors: Maneesha Perera, Rakshitha Godahewa, Fatemeh Jalali

Mentors: Gita Pendharkar & Fatemeh Jalali
Honory members: Nalika Dona, Eehui Lim, Mehrnaz Shoushtarian, Harmony Yu

Soheila Ghane

Soheila Ghane is a researcher and data scientist graduated from The University of Melbourne. She has more than four years of experience in leading students societies targeting inclusion and diversity in STEM. She is a recipient of the Richard Merwin award from IEEE Computer Society recognising her academic and leadership excellence. She is also a Grace Hopper Celebration scholar recognised as an inspiring woman in tech.

Subhashi Jayasekara

Subhashi Jayasekara graduated in 2014 from the University of Westminster with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Engineering, Software Engineering. She also graduated in 2017 from Charles Sturt University with distinction in Master of Information Technology. After that, Subhashi joined IEEE WIE and has volunteered in the committee as the event manager and webmaster. She has contributed to organising both technical and personal development workshops and re-designing and maintaining the IEEE WIE, Victorian Section website. Her purpose of volunteering is to encourage women to pursue a career in STEM and build outstanding leadership skills. Subhashi is interested in the fields, Software Engineering, Data Science, and Automation, and currently working as a Process Automation Consultant at FlexRule.

Priya Rani

Priya Rani is currently working as a sessional tutor in School of Engineering at RMIT University, Melbourne. She received her Bachelor of Technology in Biomedical Engineering and Masters (By research) in Biomedical Engineering from VIT University, Tamil Nadu, India. She completed her PhD in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research work is mainly focused on image processing with applications in medical settings. During her PhD, she was awarded with Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Student Leader Award at RUSU (RMIT University Student Union) Student Life Awards 2019 for her contribution towards creating a social media presence, organising activities and increasing sense of belonging of research students while working as an HDR Student Representative at School of Engineering, RMIT. She has been an active member of IEEE EMBS and Women in Engineering (WIE) for 9 years and has attended multiple international IEEE conferences in different countries. She was also the Chair of IEEE Student Branch at RMIT in 2019 and is currently working as the assistant treasurer in IEEE Victorian Section and as treasurer in IEEE WIE Victorian Section.

Ruwangi Fernando

Sri Lankan-born PhD student Ruwangi, studies at Victoria University’s Centre for Applied Informatics in the Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, and also a sessional lecturer in VU’s the College of Business, as well as a Research Ambassador, providing peer-to-peer support to other VU researchers. Ruwangi earned a full scholarship from Data 61 CSRO and was also named a finalist in the 2019 Victorian International Education Awards under research category, as well as 2019 Visualise your Thesis contest, an international competition of graduate researchers from 16 universities in four countries.

Ruwangi believes in giving back and set up STEM Sisters in 2017 to attract, support and celebrate female international students and migrants (women of colour) in science engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) fields. Ruwangi is also Study Melbourne Ambassador for 2019 and has also appeared as a panellist for a range of events promoting women and diversity in STEM, including a ‘Learning on the Edge’ event, International Women’s Day celebrations at Victoria University, and presented at the Study Melbourne-supported Future Female Conference. She completed a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colombo and her master’s degree in information technology from the University of Wolverhampton.

Hourieh Khalajzadeh

Dr Hourieh Khalajzadeh is a Research Fellow and educator in the Faculty of IT at Monash University. Her research interests include big data analytics, data science, and incorporating human-centric factors and human characteristics in software engineering.

Hourieh is passionate about increasing visibility of girls and women and encouraging them to pursue careers in STEM as well as advocating for gender equity in STEM.

Gita Pendharkar 

Dr Gita Pendharkar is currently working as a Senior Educator at the School of Vocational Engineering Health & Science, RMIT and an adjunct researcher at Monash University, Melbourne. She has lecturing experience of 26 years and has lectured in India, Africa, Australia and America. She has established interdisciplinary research collaborations locally and overseas and have contributed to a wide-range of journal, conference papers and book chapters. Gita has received number of grants for teaching & learning & is a reviewer of journals in biomedical engineering.

Gita completed MEngSci (Electrical & Electronics Engineering) from Melbourne University and PhD in biomedical engineering from Monash University both on scholarships. She was a visiting scholar at the University of Delaware, in The US in 2013.  Gita has inspired many local and international students and new migrants from her community to pursue higher education and continues to do so. She volunteers to present at local schools in Australia & India in order to educate the school students with cutting edge technology & the safe use of technology.

Academic Awards:

  • Project Lead – Women in STEM (VE), RMIT University, 2018 & 2019
  • Women in Industry Award (National Award) Mentor of the year – Australia, 2018
  • Women in Industry Award (Finalist), Australia – 2016 & 2017
  •  American Australian Association Fellowship Award (National Award) – July 2012.
  • Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA) Innovative Program Award (National Award) – August 2011.
  • International Specialized Skills Institute (ISSI) Fellowship Award (National Award) – November 2009, Australia.
  • Award Certificate for TOP 50 Courses – June 2007, 2017 & 2018 & November 2009Based on Course Evaluation    Survey (CES) 95% and above, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. 
  • Teaching Award   –  November 2008TAFE Initiative of the Year, RMIT University, Australia.
  • Monash –  King’s College London Award –  November 2006, Monash University, Australia.

Maneesha Perera

Maneesha is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, School of Engineering. As a part of her PhD at Melbourne University, she also works as a part-time research intern at IBM Research Australia. Maneesha has a strong computer science background with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computer Science from University of Colombo School of Computing, Sri Lanka. She was also awarded the best computer science final year research from her cohort. Maneesha has industry experience working as a Software Engineer for a leading software company – SyscoLabs, Sri Lanka, the technology arm of Sysco in the United States (one of the Fortune 100 companies in the world). Her current research interests are in time series forecasting, machine learning and renewable energy.
During her undergraduate studies, Maneesha was an active volunteer in organizing several leadership development seminars for undergraduate students. She’s currently engaged in volunteering activities that encourage and increase gender diversity in STEM fields.

Fatemeh Jalali

Fatemeh Jalali is currently a research scientist at IBM Research. Her background is a combination of telecommunications and computer engineering. she is a strong advocate of diversity, equality and wellbeing within the workplace.

Fatemeh’s technical activities and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) promotion activities are recognized by various professional organizations.

Rakshitha Godahewa

Rakshitha Godahewa is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Information technology, Monash University, Australia. She is also working as an Associate Instructor for the Monash Data Fluency community. She is an enthusiast in Computer Science and likes to explore the possibilities involved in computer engineering.  She is expressly passionate about deep learning technologies. Her PhD research focuses on time series forecasting using ensemble approaches that is a closely related area of deep learning.

Rakshitha holds a degree of Bachelor of the Science (Honours) of Engineering specialized in Computer Science & Engineering from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka where she scored a First Class and was recognized as one of the top four students in the batch. She holds the British Computer Society (BCS) degree from BCS, UK as well. Prior to commencing her postgraduate studies at Monash University, she worked as a Senior Software Engineer for nearly three years for Codegen International (Pvt) Ltd which is a leading software company in Sri Lanka. She was also a part of SL2College, Sri Lanka and has voluntary contributed to organize sessions for underrepresented Sri Lankan students to support their higher education goals. She is currently working as an activity organiser for IEEE WIE Victorian Section.

Former Committees

Local Organising Committee

2018 Committee

Chair: Fatemeh Jalali
Vice-Chair: Nalika Dona
Treasurer: Hongmei(Harmony) Yu
Secretary: Mahsa Salehi

Event Organiser: Bonnie Vong
Webmaster & Event manager: Subhashi Jayasekara
Activity organiser & Publication manager: Audrey Patarroyo Sánchez

2016 Committee

Chair: Nalika Dona
Vice-Chair: Fatemeh Jalali
Treasurer: Marcela Vecino
Secretary: Fatemeh Jalali

2015 Committee

Chair: Ee Hui Lim
Vice-Chair: Mehrnaz Shoushtarian
Treasurer: Annick Boghossian
Secretary: Nalika Dona

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