IEEE Circuits and Systems Society Newsletter | Volume 16 | Issue 3 | June 2022 | CURRENT/PAST ISSUES


Women in Circuits and Systems (WiCAS) at LASCAS 2022

A Women in Circuits and Systems event took place during the 13th Latin American Symposium on Circuits and Systems (LASCAS), the flagship conference for Region 9 of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS).

Left Photo: Attendees at Novohotel Las Condes in Santiago, Chile

The LASCAS 2022 WiCAS event was held on March 2nd, in the city of Santiago (Chile). The event was organized by Renata Mella (QA Engineer, Synopsys) and Paola Yang (R&D Engineer, Synopsys). Due to the situation of COVID-19 the Organizing Committee decided to have a hybrid event. A few of the local undergraduate and postgrad university students who attended received financial aid thanks to the funds granted by WiCAS. 

Right Photo: WiCAS-YP introduction by Yoko Uwate

The WiCAS event focused on the theme of renewable energy and climate change, it included a keynote presentation, a panel discussion, and social activities. Dr. Yoko Uwate (Tokushima University, Japan) provided an introduction of WiCAS-YP organization. During this introduction, Dr. Uwate delivered an inspiring message to women and remarked importance of this type of events. The keynote section titled “The Next-Generation Power Electronics Interfaces for Green Applications” was presented by Dr. Sanjida Moury (Lakehead University, Canada). The presentation was regarding the subject of the role of power electronics interface in power generation from renewable resources and electric vehicles, the challenges we are currently facing in designing power electronics interfaces, and the strategies we are taking to address those challenges.

Left Photo: Panelists: Sanjida Moury (top left), Patricia Hidalgo (top right) and Claudia Rahmann (bottom)

The panel discussion, in addition to Dr. Sanjida Moury’s, it incorporated the participation of Dr. Patricia Hidalgo (University of California, San Diego, USA) and Dr. Claudia Rahmann (University of Chile, Chile). This section covered topics such as the current situation and challenges of renewable energies, their impact on climate change. Moreover,  the panelists shared their insights and personal experiences in academia and reflected on the value of inclusion and diversity in STEM areas.  

Right Photo: WiCAS organizers: Renata Mella (left) and Paola Yang (right)

A WiCAS lunch and a networking session successfully took place at the beginning and end of the event respectively. In-person attendees had the opportunity to meet and interact with each other. Positive feedback was given by the attendees during the networking session.  

The WiCAS co-chairs want to express their gratitude to the LASCAS general chair, Dr. Victor Grimblatt, and the conference organizing committee, for the technical support received in planning and execution of the WiCAS event. The WiCAS co-chairs also thank the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society for the financial support to this event, and Dr. Yoko Uwate, for her personal involvement in the WiCAS program. Finally, a special thanks of gratitude to the panelists Dr. Sanjida Moury, Dr. Patricia Hidalgo and Dr. Claudia Rahmann for their great contribution.  

Renata Mella and Paola Yang 


Women in Circuits and Systems (WiCAS) at ICECS 2021

In conjunction with the 28th IEEE International Conference on Electronics Circuits and Systems (ICECS), the region 8 flagship conference of IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS), a Women in Circuit and Systems (WiCAS) event was held. The event was in-person, after the COVID-19 outbreaks.

WiCAS events aim to inspire students, researchers, and young professionals in the field of circuits and systems at all professional levels. These events provide a golden networking opportunity, enabling discussions on the challenges female professionals might encounter in their careers.

Figure 1 (left): WiCAS2021 Guest Speakers. From left: Dr. Muna Darweesh, Dr. Feda A. AlShahwan, Her Excellency Sheikha Noora Humaid Al Nuaimi, Dr. Fotouh Al-Ragom.

Figure 2 (below): A pleasant moment during the panel discussion

The WiCAS event at ICECS 2021 was held on November 29th, 2021, and was organized by Muna Darweesh, the WiCAS event chair for the ICECS 2021. More than sixty attendees joined the event, which included a panel discussion focusing on the theme “Empowering Women in Technical Roles”. The purpose of this discussion was to provide an interactive dialogue between the audience and the three invited panelists coming from both academia and industry fields. The invited panelists were:

  • Dr. Fotouh Al-Ragom, a Manager of the Energy Efficiency Technologies Program and a research scientist at the Energy and Building Research Center of the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research;
  • Dr. Feda A. AlShahwan, Head of Electronics Engineering Technology Department, College of Technological Studies;
  • Her Excellency Sheikha Noora Humaid Al Nuaimi, Director of AjmanX, Ajman Municipality, and planning Department.

Figure 3:Audience participation

They are all in managerial positions with recognizable achievements in their careers in the field of engineering and technology.

The panelists provided examples of how to empower women in technical roles. They all highlighted that such a goal comes from strong self-motivation, and the choose of the right circle of people around you. They shared their personal experience during their post-graduate research. Dr. Fotouh was a rising star: she provided her practical strategy for being a mother with the passion for research on power sector. Dr. Feda provided a valuable experience for the young graduates about time management. She engaged the audience a lot during the session. Her Excellency Sheikha Noora shared her PhD journey, and provided an interesting example on how she is managing herself between research, work, and family commitments.

Figure 4 (right): Panelists awarding ceremony

This edition of the WiCAS event comes at the time of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the IEEE Women in Engineering. All speakers were very proud of the women's achievements and mentioned that more accomplishments must to come. Besides, the date of the event coincided with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Day celebration. All guests congratulated the UAE researchers and professionals and, especially the women in all research fields. At the end of the event, all guest speakers received certificates of appreciation, trophies and chocolates. All attendees enjoyed the delicious buffet and received bluetooth speakers as WiCAS gift. After the event, all guests and organizers went on a cruise trip.

Figure 5 (above): Group photo after the event

Furthermore, two competitions that target female researchers were announced. The “Best WiCAS Paper Award” is one of them. All the ICECS papers with a female first author were considered for such award, which was eventually decided based on conference reviewers’ scores. For ICECS 2021, this award went to Patricia Ucker Leleu da Costa, for her article titled “ Boosting the Efficiency of the Harmonics Elimination VLSI Architecture by Arithmetic Approximations”. Additionally, another award was assigned to the best female presenter. A team of two judges, namely, Dr. Rida Gadhafi and Dr. Alavikunhu Panthakkan, attended all the presentations that were delivered by female researchers. For this award, only in-presence presentations were accepted. The winner of this competition was Marcel Khalifa, for her paper titled “FiltPIM: In-Memory Filter for DNA Sequencing”. The winner received a digital certificate and CASS membership.

Many thanks to the Circuits and Systems society that funded the event, and especially to Dr. Giulia Di Capua, for her support, patience and guidance. Our gratitude also goes to the team who shared with us their WiCAS experiences, namely Dr. Erika Covi, Dr. Nazila Fough, Dr. Zeinab Hijazi, and Dr. Suzanne Lancaster. A special thanks to Dr. Fatma Taher, the ICECS 2021 General Chair, for her continuous support and endless efforts to support and ensure the success of the event. 

Muna Darweesh, Fatma Taher and Giulia Di Capua