HAC Committee Members

Our committees build capacity for IEEE Humanitarian Activities to make an impact, and we do this by harnessing the skills and interests of our members to do things that no one person, no single committee or team, can do alone.

2021 IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee Members

Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan
Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan is a renowned technologist known for his innovations in addressing global humanitarian and sustainable development challenges. Prior to serving as the 2021 HAC Chair, Sampath was the 2019-2020 IEEE SIGHT Chair, leading the program to record-breaking growth through high-impact, technology-driven sustainable programs benefiting members in 115+ countries. In 2020, Sampath was an expert in the Broadband Commission working group on school connectivity co-chaired by UNESCO, UNICEF and ITU to drive “GIGA,” a Global School Connectivity Initiative. He is the founder and president of “The Brahmam,” a humanitarian program delivering next-generation social innovations to achieve sustainable development goals and benefit marginalized communities. He currently works as a senior technology and program management leader with Alexa Artificial Intelligence Group at Amazon. Sampath was recently accredited with the 2020 IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award.
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Kartik Kulkarni
Immediate Past Chair
In 2019, Kartik Kulkarni spearheaded social impact measurement of IEEE’s sustainable development projects around the world, using the technique of SocialROI. Kartik also heads Oracle's team architecting the Blockchain Transaction Engine; he is a co-inventor on 10+ US Patents, both granted and pending. The DiscoverE Foundation recognized Kartik as a 2015 USA’s New Face of Engineering.
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Simay Akar
MGA Partnerships Chair
Simay Akar has been working in the energy industry since 2012. She specialized in solar and renewable energy fields. Akar is currently the Chief Commercial Officer & Co-Founder at Innoses. Additional current roles include Sales & Marketing Director of EkoRE – Eko Renewable Energy and Marketing & Business Development Director of GoodWe Turkey, Head of Overseas Marketing at Talesun Solar Akar has worked in China and Turkey and mostly focused on international commercial activities and has been employed by CSUN Eurasia, Schneider Electric, Arcelik (BEKO), and Lucida Solar. In addition to her professional acclimates, she is an IEEE Senior member, acknowledged volunteer since 2007. Simay is a graduate of Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. https://www.simayakar.com/
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Mario Aleman
Regional Participation Chair
Mario Aleman is a Senior Member from IEEE Nicaragua Section. He has professional and research experience in the field of solar technology, energy efficiency, and community development. Currently, he is the founder and president of “Ciencia y Desarrollo Nicaragua”, a non-profit social organization dedicated to the promotion of science and development in underserved communities. Mario has been a SIGHT volunteer since 2014 and has experience in the deployment of humanitarian technology projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has previously been a HAC member since 2016 leading different subcommittees.
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Supavadee Aramvith
Communications Chair
Supavadee Aramvith received the B.S. (first class honors) degree in Computer Science from Mahidol University in 1993. She received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Washington, Seattle, USA, in 1996 and 2001, respectively. She joined Chulalongkorn University in June 2001. Currently, she is an Associate Professor at Electrical Engineering with specialization Video Technology. She is very active in the international arena with the leadership positions in the professional organizations such as IEEE, IEICE, APSIPA, and ITU. In 2021, she currently serves as a member, IEEE Educational Activities Board (EAB), EAB SEOC Chair, CTSoc BoG member, HAC member, NIC member, IEEE N&A member, Award Board P&P committee. She formerly led Educational Activities and Women in Engineering for IEEE Asia Pacific (Region 10) from 2011-2016.
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Mei Lin Fung
Assessment Chair
Chair, cofounder with Vint Cerf of People Centered Internet Mei Lin is an early pioneer of customer relationship management (CRM). Keynote on Decade of Digital Transformation at the World Bank IFC Global SME Financing Forum, presented at World Economic Forum Digital Economics 2017, socio-technical lead for US Federal Health Futures initiative she convenes Digital Cooperation and Diplomacy network. Chair IEEE Industry Connections Social Impact Measurement committee, founder of the Global Help Desk. Working at Intel & Oracle then Douglas Engelbart’s business partner, she organized the 2008 Program for the Future. On the 2016-2018 WEF’s Global Future Council on Digital Economy and Society and a member of the Precision Medicine and Digital ASEAN working groups. BSc in Math ANU, MBA in Finance MIT.
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Lwanga Herbert
Lwanga Herbert is an innovation and technology enthusiast and practitioner inspired by technological solutions to diverse problems and challenges. He is the Co-founder of M/S LOG`EL GROUP LTD, an IT company based in Uganda and the co-founder of Log`el Science Foundation, a civil society organization which conducts research and development in science and technology. Lwanga Herbert was a beneficiary of the presidential innovation fund in Uganda from 2000-2005, which allowed him to develop a variety of innovations to address corresponding community challenges. These innovations were patented with the support of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. He has made several contributions within the IEEE community, which includes co-founding the IEEE Uganda Section and implementing humanitarian projects and programs in Uganda with IEEE support.
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Paul Kostek
Education Chair
Paul Kostek is an IEEE Senior Member and an Advisory Systems Engineer with Base 2 Solutions, a systems and software engineering consulting firm in Bellevue, Wash. He works with companies in defining system architecture, system requirements, interface definition and risk management. Paul received his B.S. from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. He works in a range of industries including aerospace, defense and healthcare medical devices. Paul is a long-time volunteer with IEEE serving as President of IEEE-USA, on the IEEE Board of Directors, as President of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society and Chair of the American Association of Engineering Societies. He has chaired conferences on intelligent transportation systems, digital avionics and humanitarian technology. He’s also an Adjunct Faculty member in the ECE Department at Seattle University. 
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Nirupama Prakash Kumar
Project Monitoring Chair
Nirupama Prakash Kumar, SMIEEE earned her undergraduate degree in power systems engineering from University of Mysore, India. She finished her MS in Energy Systems from the University of Washington in Seattle and worked for. Her research interests included effective demand response techniques to improve energy efficiency. She completed her MBA from Cornell University where she was recognized both as an ‘Environmental Finance and Impact Investing Fellow’ as well as an ‘Emerging Markets Fellow’. She has worked for the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NextEra Energy, and a FACTS startup called Smart Wires. Currently, she is Senior Product Manager in Microgrids with Bloom Energy. Niru’s interests also include the most cost effective methods of making technology accessible to the base of the pyramid. Niru is heavily involved with IEEE and its humanitarian technology efforts.She is also the IEEE Region 6 Humanitarian Activities Coordinator. She works with the South Asia Working Group of IEEE Smart Village. She is also part of IEEE USA’s Energy Policy Committee.
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Karen Panetta
Projects Chair
Dr. Karen Panetta is a Fellow of the IEEE. Dr. Panetta received the B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. She served as the 2013-2014 IEEE-USA Vice-President of Communications and Public Relations. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine and Editor of the IEEE Boston “Reflector” Newspaper. She served as the 2011 IEEE Boston Section Chair, and as the Chair of IEEE Women in Engineering from 2007-2009. She is currently the Dean for Graduate Education and a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Adjunct Professor in Computer Science at Tufts University. Karen has traveled around the globe to inspire youth to pursue engineering through her internationally acclaimed “Nerd Girls” Program.
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Ajay Poddar
*Corresponding Member, Society Partnerships and Industry Engagement Working Group Chair
Ajay K. Poddar received his B. Tech in Electronics & Communication Engineering from NITC-Calicut, India; MTech in Radar & Communication Engineering from IIT-Delhi; Dr.-Ing. from TUB-Berlin, Germany; and Dr.-Ing. habil from BTU-Cottbus, Germany. He is a Chief Scientist with Synergy Microwave Corp., NJ, USA, a Full Professor at Oradea University, Romania, and Guest Lecturer at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. Dr. Poddar serves as a member and Chair of IEEE MTT-S SIGHT and AP-S SIGHT Groups, IEEE MTT-S and AP-S Region Coordinator, MTT-S AdCom Member, AP-S Distinguished Lecturer, and AP-S New Direction Committee member. He has received over a dozen awards for technological innovations and meritorious services; holds over two dozen patents, published over 250 scientific papers, and co-authored four technical books and chapters.
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2021 Liaisons to HAC

Deepak Mathur
HAC Board Coordinator
Deepak Mathur is Director of IEEE Region 10 (Asia-Pacific Region) and has served in many leadership roles in IEEE at Section, Council, Region, MGA and IEEE levels. Deepak was IEEE India Council Chair in 2015-16. Deepak has always been passionate for ‘Humanitarian Activities’ and served at Region 10 as the Chair of Humanitarian Technology activities Committee(2012-2014). He promoted SIGHT activities in Region 10 extensively and established SIGHTs in many of its sections. Deepak was instrumental in starting Humanitarian Technology Conference (R10HTC) in Region 10, organized first R10HTC in 2013 in Japan and second in 2014 in Chennai (India). R10HTC is now an established flagship conference of Region 10. He also served as Chair of IEEE SIGHT Operations Subcommittee (2014-2016).
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Marko Delimar
IEEE Foundation Liaison to HAC
Marko Delimar is an electrical engineer, educator, and researcher. He is a professor at University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, and is a head-of-studies at the University of Zagreb Study Programme of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources in Šibenik. His interests include electric power and energy systems, intelligent systems, and engineering education. His research focuses on smart grid architectures and large-scale integration of renewable energy sources. An IEEE volunteer since 1994, he previously served as IEEE Secretary, IEEE Region 8 Director and is a co-creator of IEEE Xtreme. In 2021, he serves as IEEE Foundation Vice President – Programs and member of the IEEE European Public Policy Committee.
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Janati Nakimera
IEEE Entrepreneurship Liaison to HAC
Janati Nakimera is a steering committee member of the IEEE Uganda Section, and a student pursuing a Master’s degree in power systems engineering of Makerere University, Kampala. She serves as treasurer and is also in charge of industrial relations in Makerere University IEEE Student Branch. Janati is co-founder and CEO of Solar Net metering Uganda, a solar energy startup company for rural Uganda, which became an IEEE N3XT® Star at G-STIC 2018. She is also a YALI network member. Janati is an IEEE Volunteer in Leadership Training (VOLT) 2018 graduate, is Vice-Chair – Programs on the 2021 IEEE Entrepreneurship Steering Committee. and is active in local IEEE activities of the IEEE Power & Energy Society, IEEE R8 Young Professionals, and IEEE Women in Engineering.
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Staff Support

Holly Schneider Brown
HAC Staff Lead
Holly Schneider Brown is Director, Public Imperatives and Corporate Development at IEEE and the HAC professional staff lead. Holly has supported HAC since 2012, when it was a newly formed ad hoc, and has guided its transformation into the committee it is today. Holly assists HAC volunteer leadership with strategic planning and program development and oversees all aspects of operational execution. Key accomplishments include helping to establish, develop, and grow the IEEE SIGHT program, standing up and continuously improving the HAC funding programs, and co-founding and -leading with the IEEE Foundation the cross-IEEE Humanitarian & Philanthropic (H&P) coalition.  Prior to IEEE, Holly held various positions in project, program, and department management, all with a focus on high achievement in time- and resource-constrained environments. Holly volunteers her time as Chief Operating Officer for a small non-profit concentrating on biodiversity conservation and women’s empowerment in Madagascar. Holly holds a BA from Vassar College and an MA from the Freie Universität Berlin.
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Julianna Pichardo
Julianna Pichardo joined the Humanitarian & Sustainable Development Activities team at IEEE in 2018 after returning to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic. While in the DR, she worked with Esperanza International, a microfinance nonprofit dedicated to poverty alleviation. At Esperanza, Julianna held positions in communications and operations analysis, working closely with diverse stakeholders, from board members to program staff to donors to micro-entrepreneurs, to increase long-term impact for 10,000+ clients. A fluent Spanish speaker, she has studied in Valparaiso, Chile and serves on the Board of Generation to Generation Network, a Guatemalan NGO focused on building capacity among local non-profit leaders. As the IEEE SIGHT Program Specialist, Julianna supports the IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee in its mission to empower a global network of IEEE volunteers partnering with underserved communities & local organizations to leverage technology for sustainable development. She especially enjoys meeting SIGHT members and supporters from around the globe and working with them to achieve a common goal.
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Betsy Toland
Administrative Support
Betsy Toland joined the Humanitarian & Sustainable Development Activities team at IEEE in 2016, returning to employment at IEEE after previously working with the IEEE Signal Processing Society where she managed the conference business of the Society.  While on a break from IEEE to raise her family, Betsy focused much of her time volunteering with the Home & School Associations in her town, serving in various fundraising roles and as one group’s President. She also volunteered with her son’s Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop, as well as a local dog rescue group.  She continues her volunteerism with both the rescue group and the town’s Project Graduation. Returning to IEEE brought Betsy the opportunity to be an important part of the volunteerism of the IEEE in the HAC, where her time is spent helping to develop operational processes, assisting in the support HAC committees, and managing the financial operations of the department.
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