Hi everyone,

Congratulations on making it through 2020 despite all the hardships that the year brought to us. IEEE WIE UniMelb wishes you all a very happy and blessed 2021! In this January ‘21 newsletter edition, we are sharing awards won by IEEE UniMelb volunteers, our 2021 committee members, and welcome address from our new chair.

Awards won by IEEE UniMelb Volunteers

To recognise the contribution of Victorian Section IEEE volunteers in advancing research and technology for the benefit of humanity and community, awards were presented in the AGM on 9th December, 2020. Out of 6 award winners, 4 members are from IEEE, The University of Melbourne.

– IEEE Victorian Section Outstanding Women In Engineering Award: Ifrah Saeed, Ex-Chair – IEEE WIE UniMelb
– IEEE Victorian Section Outstanding Student Award: Noore Karishma, Chair – IEEE UniMelb Student Branch and Amir Saberi, Treasurer – IEEE UniMelb Student Branch
– IEEE Victorian Section Outstanding Young Professional Award: Nandakishore Desai, associated with IEEE UniMelb.

IEEE WIE UniMelb warmly congratulates all awardees!

Announcement of Committee 2021

IEEE WIE UniMelb Elections were held on December 17, 2020 and the committee for 2021 was elected. Please join us in welcoming our new committee.

Chair: Ishita Akhter
Vice-Chair: Simona Karevska
Treasurer: Abigail Yuan
Secretary: Arni Dhar
Webmaster: Elaheh Alipourchavary
Activity Organiser: Alice F. Branco

Welcome address of 2021 IEEE WIE UniMelb Chair 

Dear fellow members of the IEEE WIE community at The University of Melbourne, greetings from your newly elected chair for the 2021 committee. A little introduction on my part-my name is Ishita Akhter, I am a PhD student in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, having submitted my thesis, awaiting final results in 2021. Let me take up this chance to welcome you to the new year of 2021, hoping to break free from the dire and stressful situations we saw in the year 2020.

It is true that 2020 has been quite a rollercoaster ride for many of us. We are not only plagued by a global pandemic, but various financial, physical, mental and personal issues as well, primarily originating from COVID-19 effects. It has also not been easy for us, due to being confined to our homes, working online extensively, coping up with strict rules and policies, not being able to see friends or visit family members, losing on job/study opportunities and so on. Additionally, the monotony of being at home most of the time, with uncertainty looming over our future, have taken the toll especially at our mental health. Despite all these, personally 2020 has been a milestone year for many people, as they achieved their own personal milestones, successes and accomplishments. I hope this has been the case for you all as well.

For instance, I would like to share a glimpse of my 2020 that has been a rollercoaster of mixed emotions. I managed to score a job opportunity that has been much fulfilling, motivating and rewarding in 2020. However, at the end, had to say goodbye to the job due to the organisation being severely affected by the pandemic-induced financial crisis. Additionally, reached some dream milestones of my academic career-doing my completion seminar successfully and submitting my thesis for examination. It has been a memorable PhD journey, since I have been faced with many obstacles during this. Starting from changing my PhD project in 2 nd year, dealing with physical and mental health issues, personal losses such as deaths of my mother and grandmother, then extremely stressful events such as financial difficulties, having my aging father fighting COVID-19 and so on. Facing all these has pushed me to my limits many times, but with proper initiatives such as counselling, exercise, clean eating, having a very supportive life partner, some organised life choices, and most importantly my perseverance and willingness to finish on what I started have kept me going.

My advice to anyone out there facing extreme difficulties in their life/career/studies now, please seize any opportunity that comes by, always ask for help if you need rather than trying to be a lone warrior, keep healthy relationships closer and toxicity away, use all the support and resources to keep your physical and mental health upheld, and believe in yourself. Remember, it is ok not to feel ok at times, not to be perfect always and not to get what we aim for every time, but it is important to recognise the difficulties and take the necessary actions to keep yourself alright. At the end, what matters most are your collective efforts to keep your priorities sorted, and your well-being ensured, as you take on life.

I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome aboard my new team of IEEE WIE committee at UniMelb for the year 2021, looking forward to carrying on the legacy of our very able and successful departing committee of 2020. They have put their best efforts in keeping the IEEE WIE spirits alive in 2020, despite traversing through such stressful circumstances, so hats off to them, and thanking them for their enormous efforts. With all this, I welcome you to the year 2021, hoping it to be a silver lining in the cloud that we so desperately seek for, at this moment! Wishing you a happy, productive, successful and safe 2021, thank you!

If you want to share your article in our future newsletter, please feel free to email us at unimelb.wie.ieee@gmail.com. Join WIE UniMelb as a volunteer here.