Celebrating IEEE Education Week – 14 – 20 April 2024

Celebrating Education Week 2024

Join us in celebrating Education and what it means for the IEEE community and the world in honor of IEEE Education Week! Held during the third week of April each year,  IEEE Education Week is a weeklong celebration of educational opportunities provided by IEEE and its many organizational units, societies and councils from around the world. It is a great time to explore education programs and offerings from IEEE. 

As a bonus, IEEE Education Week beautifully coincides with Global Volunteers Month (also in April)! Volunteers make our world richer and more fun – and literally get the work done at IEEE. 

During IEEE Education Week, the IEEE Foundation pays special attention to and lavishes fanfare on the IEEE Foundation Educate Pillar and the donor-supported programs under its umbrella. So to kick off the merriment, IEEE Foundation is shining a bright light on five individuals from around the world who benefited from five different Educate Pillar donor-supported programs and how they are paying it forward as IEEE volunteers. Those five beneficiaries turned IEEE volunteers are: Akshay Kumar Rathore, Audrey Corbeil Therrien, Daniel C. Cambron, David Oyedokun and Heba Shaban.

Akshay Kumar Rathore (Singapore)

Akshay Kumar Rathore is a volunteer with IEEE through many different programs, including: Chapter and Membership Development R10 Area Chair (as well as many other roles) of the IEEE Industry Applications Society (IAS), Fellow Evaluation Committee of IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (IES), co-Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics, and IEEE conferences in R10. In 2017, he and his team at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada were awarded a Myron Zucker Student-Faculty Grant by IAS for their project “High-Density Wide-Band Gap Based Variable Frequency Power Factor Correction AC/DC Rectifier for More Electric Aircraft.” Akshay chooses to volunteer through IEEE because he was the beneficiary of the donor-supported programs through the IEEE Foundation. When asked about why he pays that honor forward, Akshay said, “Because it has offered me opportunities to move ahead, grow, and lead with confidence, I opted to pay it forward to inspire the young professionals in their early career and the students in bridging their student life and the work life.”

Akshay also recognizes that the donor-supported programs “motivated my fellow researchers and graduate students as well. I established a research program and my graduate students produced award winning theses out of the research facilities developed through this donor-supported program.” He adds, “IEEE is an exceptional body of researchers, educators, and facilitators that offers a unique and large platform to network, learn, and nurture yourself. I am an example who has been elevated to IEEE Fellow, received 5 technical and 2 service awards, obtained distinguished lectureship of the two sister societies, and all within 12 years of career after PhD. IEEE volunteers help enhance our skill set both personally and professionally. In addition to the professional growth, IEEE has several humanitarian programs where we can contribute and make a difference to empower and inspire the life of the underprivileged.”

Audrey Corbeil Therrien (Canada)

Audrey Corbeil Therrien is the IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) Liaison for the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) and also was an elected member of the IEEE NPSS Radiation Instrumentation Steering Committee for 3 years (2019-2021). She has been Technical Program Chair for the IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium and in 2022, organized an IEEE WIE event for the IEEE NEWCAS conference. Audrey was inspired by being the inaugural recipient of the IEEE Glenn F.  Knoll Graduate Educational Grant. She said, “having encountered a few roadblocks during my PhD (as most of us do) I was uncertain of the value of my research. Receiving this grant and having my work recognized was very validating and pushed me to continue trying new things, even if many of those new things didn’t always work, there is learning to be had.” Of her time as a volunteer, Audrey shared that “being a volunteer let me meet a lot of people from a diversity of backgrounds, many of whom are still good friends today. It let me build a network of scientists early which was very helpful when the time came to ask for reference letters for job applications and grants. But mostly it helped me feel like I was part of the community and that I can make a difference in my environment and the world, even small as it is. Small changes build up into big changes!” 

Audrey encourages others to volunteer because, “a good volunteer opportunity can do three things : it can teach you new skills, it can give you meaning, and it can help make a small part of the world a better place. Make a small difference where you can!”

Daniel C. Cambron (United States of America)

Daniel C. Cambron has served as Chair of the IEEE Lexington Section section for the past two years. Following his induction into IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) in 2013, Cambron was an IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) Scholar in 2014-2015. He says of his volunteer time, “We are a small section, so I get to be directly involved in putting together events for our members such as our annual banquet which featured a visit from the IEEE-USA’s MOVE Community Outreach Trucks!” Daniel was also the recipient of The Charles LeGeyt Fortescue Scholarship, which allowed him the opportunity to pursue graduate study without being tied to the competing interests of a particular corporation or professor’s research team. Daniel said of this experience, “[the fellowship] allowed me to enter the workforce without being saddled by large student debt. This made a huge impact on the trajectory of my life and career, and gave me a sense of responsibility to have lifelong involvement with IEEE. I am honored to have the opportunity to volunteer at the section level and pay it forward!”

Daniel credits IEEE with changing his life. He adds, “in college, IEEE introduced me to several life-long friends and shaped the trajectory of my career. This was all made possible by IEEE volunteers, and it showcases how important it is to get involved and stay involved with IEEE!”

David Oyedokun (South Africa)

David Oyedoken came across EPICS-in-IEEE in 2010 at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. As David recounts, “the UCT IEEE Student branch implemented the first EPICS-in-IEEE programme outside the US in 2009. Like the umbilical cord between a baby and the mother, I’ve been connected to the programme since then.” David has led three EPICS-in-IEEE projects in South Africa, including the 2011 project: Modelling and Installation of a Solar Water Geyser at Emasithandane Children’s Home in Nyanga. In 2012, he was a member of the first IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee and later the IEEE Teacher In Service Programs (TISP) and the IEEE Young Professionals (YP). When we asked David what it was like to be a donor-supported program beneficiary and how he opted to pay it forward, he responded, “It’s an honour and privilege to be entrusted with donor funds to fulfill the vision of the IEEE Foundation. I’ve enjoyed every moment of the programmes and projects I’ve been involved in.”

David encourages others to volunteer, saying “I see the IEEE as a vehicle available to take you to great heights in fulfilling professional objectives and improving global conditions for humanity. All that is required is to volunteer to serve; you’ll not regret it. Hop in the volunteer train for an exciting time of your life.” He also acknowledges that his association with IEEE gives him great personal satisfaction, “derived from my engagement in seeing the direct impact of our programmes on the lives of many.”

Heba Shaban (Egypt)

Heba Shaban has been an IEEE member for 17 years, and an active volunteer for 6 years. She currently serves as a member of IEEE Educational Activities Pre-University Education Coordinating Committee (PECC), IEEE-HKN Advisor Support Subcommittee, IEEE STEM Champion, and the Founding and Current Faculty Advisor of Mu Beta Chapter of IEEE Eta Kappa Nu (which was a 2021-2022 HKN Outstanding Chapter Award recipient). Heba recognizes the significant impact of the donor-supported programs and states, “The Mu Beta Chapter has benefited from this program in scaling up the impact of one of its activities on the local level. In a similar manner, IEEE TryEngineering STEM Grant program helps scale the number and quality of STEM outreach programs and activities worldwide. The number of programs and activities impacted by the program is increasing, which will ultimately help in inspiring the next generation of engineers and technologists.” 

Heba has found true passion in technically helping and inspiring others close to home and around the world. She said, “Volunteering with IEEE Educational Activities Board has given me the opportunity to collaborate with IEEE fellows from many countries around the world, find my purpose, challenge myself, and enrich my professional personality and skills.” She knows first-hand the impact of education and shared that the most rewarding part of engaging in IEEE STEM outreach is seeing pre-university students believe in themselves and seeing the potential they have for a future in technology. She shared, “I was privileged to have started my volunteering journey by being the founding faculty advisor of the Mu Beta Chapter, the first HKN chapter in Egypt and Africa. This opportunity gave me the advantage of working with chapter members and volunteers to create a unique volunteering experience, and to find ways to promote excellence in leadership and foster the ideals of HKN of Scholarship, Character and Attitude.” 

Taking in the thoughts shared from Akshay Kumar Rathore, Audrey Corbeil Therrien, Daniel C. Cambron, David Oyedokun and Heba Shaban, we can’t help but see themes of connectedness both locally and globally, empowerment of youth and the less- advantaged and growth both personally and professionally. If you would like to learn more about IEEE Education Week or how you might get involved, we invite you to visit the IEEE Education Week site – where you can find events, resources like volunteer toolkits and special offers. Also please join us in celebrating the work of these volunteers and all of the people who choose to give their time and talent to IEEE. 

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