Getting to Know the ‘Humans’ of IEEE

Inspired by the Humans of New York project, I spotlight the many faces of members

9 February 2015

Photo: Humans of IEEE

From Left: IEEE student members Petra Chidiac from Lebanon; Muhammad Hanan Daudpota from Pakistan; and Khaled Moktar from Egypt are featured on the Facebook page Humans of IEEE.

Being a huge fan of the Humans of New York project, which highlights the diversity of people who live in just one city, I thought it would be interesting to replicate the same idea using IEEE members. It may surprise people to know that engineers come in all ages, backgrounds, and personalities. So in July, I launched Humans of IEEE on Facebook to showcase that.

No matter what our personal stories are, we are united with the same IEEE mission of serving humanity using technology. The Humans of IEEE Facebook page is a place for members to share their passions with one another, and even inspire us as a group to do more. These stories describe why members from around the world joined IEEE, and what motivates them to volunteer. My goal is to get all 430,000 members and more than 1,000 staffers to contribute.

One example comes from IEEE Student Member Oyewale Sao Ademola, an engineering student at Obafemi Owolowo University, in Nigeria. He posted: “While growing up, my parents discovered I had a knack for solving problems, and I knew engineering was the way for me even though I failed at it a few times and wanted to quit.” But Ademola didn’t give up. He joined IEEE and placed first in the country in the 2013 IEEE Xtreme 7.0 competition. He is also the chair for his university’s IEEE Computer Society chapter and the IEEE Nigeria Section ambassador for the IEEE madC competition, a mobile app development contest.  

“I was always on the lookout for ways I could affect changes in my community and how technology could be the tool to help me do that,” he wrote. “Nigerian engineering students are comparable to their counterparts around the world, but the missing thing for us is exposure. Joining IEEE has opened my eyes to opportunities and the network of people who do exceptional things.”

THE BACKSTORY

For me, an interest in engineering and interviewing people began at home. My father, an accomplished and passionate mechanical engineer, encouraged me to become an engineer too. He’s also the one who told me about IEEE.

My mother, a medical professional, taught me how to talk to people, listen to their stories and concerns, and console or motivate them.

These two skills led me to want to better understand the people behind the technology. I even had a column in the Technology Times newspaper in Pakistan called “Entrepreneurs in the Making.” Interviewing them and listening to their feedback has given me more motivation to share their work in order to inspire others.

BE A PART OF HOIEEE

If you want to share your story, email humansofieee@gmail.com. You can also send a message through the Facebook page.

Sarang Shaikh is an IEEE member and the Student Activities Committee chair and treasurer for the IEEE Karachi Section, in Pakistan. He currently works at two startups: TechTV Pakistan as a business development manager and Outacircle, as cofounder and lead operations. He has given a Tedx talk on the future of the Internet.

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