Dedicated Volunteer and Donor Is a Catalyst for Change!

Paserba John 3196

During his nearly 20 years of being an IEEE Foundation donor, John Paserba has enjoyed allocating his contributions across 10 different programs he is passionate about within IEEE.  

“Recently,” shares John, “I have concentrated my donations to the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative and Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), as well as the IEEE History Center. These are IEEE activities that I appreciate and want to see sustained over time.”

John has been a steady force for good for decades. In addition to his role as a donor for two decades, he has been a very active volunteer for more than 30 years. His passion and commitment to supporting young engineers have nurtured programs benefiting thousands of students and early career professionals.

This desire to give back stems from John’s own student experiences. John earned his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering in 1987 from Gannon University in Erie, PA, USA. Here he was encouraged by educator, Professor Jerry Selvaggi, and IEEE Student Branch Counselor, Dr. Mehmet Cultu.

Their support set his career on a trajectory he would not have pursued otherwise. He went on to get his Master of Engineering in Electric Power Engineering in 1988 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, USA. He began his career with General Electric before joining Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. in 1998 as a Principal Engineer. He currently serves as the Vice President of their Power Systems Group.

Once John was in the workforce, he wanted to get involved and give back to IEEE, since the organization had given him so much during his student experience. John started giving back by volunteering. He has long been an active volunteer and chair of the IEEE Student Professional Awareness Committee, as well as the IEEE Student Activities Committee. He has also volunteered for the IEEE Power & Energy Society, serving on their governing board.“My passion for volunteering and seeing the progress in early career activities has led me, over time, to increase my donations to the IEEE Foundation concentrating, but not exclusively, on early career activities such as the PES Scholarship Fund and the HKN Fund,” explains John. 

When asked to detail a memorable time from his decades of volunteerism and philanthropy, John singled out an engagement he had with IEEE Life Senior Member Jim Watson after a speaking event at the University of Akron, Ohio, USA.

“Jim is one of the most engaged volunteers in the IEEE student professional awareness space that I have ever met,” explains John. “After my speech he pulled me aside. I’d been giving this talk for four years by the time Jim heard it, and he politely told me it needed work – a lot of work!” 

Jim and John worked together to revamp the presentation titled “Managing to Manage Your Career.” Today, John still receives requests to give this talk at various colleges and universities. They have also conducted multiple IEEE Student Member Branch Leadership workshops together over the past twenty years!

“Jim’s mentorship led me to advance my volunteer activities, which in turn inspired me to increase my contributions even more over time,” describes John. “I was humbled to receive the 2014 IEEE USA Jim Watson Student Professional Awareness Achievement Award.This award recognizes individuals’ contributions to Student Professional Awareness Achievement Activities in the United States.

Pictured above: John Paserba (left) receives the 2018 Walleigh Award in 2019 IEEE-USA President Tom Coughlin at the IEEE Region 3 SoutheastCon in Huntsville, Ala. And in 2024, Coughlin serves as the the IEEE- President

John’s aspirations with his ongoing IEEE Foundation donations are to benefit students and early career activities consistently. He hopes to have the same impact on the present generation of young IEEE members that he experienced during his early career engagement with IEEE. He deeply wishes to pay forward to the next generation of IEEE leaders the support he received while starting his career.

 “I encourage all IEEE members to strive to make a difference in our ever-evolving world through technology,” urges John. “The IEEE Foundation, through its various funds, can be a catalyst for making a difference.”   

And not only is John volunteering and donating to support the next generation of engineers and technologists, but he is also raising them! John and his wife Marie have two children Nikkolas and Miya, who are pursuing engineering careers. Nikkolas is a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA, and Miya is a Biomedical Engineer from Case Western Reserve University. Miya is currently a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan, MI, USA.

Join John’s efforts to support, encourage, and make an impact on students and early-career individuals by making a difference in this world!

Share This:

Related Stories
J. Baillieul

Honoring the Past While Encouraging the Future Through Memorial Giving

Heritage Circle

IEEE Heritage Circle: Our Honored Philanthropists Providing A Circle of Impact


A Prolific Innovator was Inspired by the Visionary Professor James D. Meindl