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.

2022 IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee Members


Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan
Chair
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
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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Mei Lin Fung
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
IEEE SIGHT Chair
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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Jayakrishnan MC
Jayakrishnan MC is a Senior Member of the IEEE Kerala Section. He completed his post-graduate studies in computer application and is currently the COO of InApp, India. Jayakrishnan has been Chair of the IEEE Kerala Section SIGHT Group since its formation in 2013 and spearheaded initiatives like SIGHT camp, CEW (Community Engagement Workshop), and Student HTC, which became examples for SIGHT Groups worldwide. In 2015, he traveled to Nepal with an IEEE Region 10 team to assist the Nepal Subsection after the devastating earthquake. He currently leads the DART (Disaster Assistance and Recovery Team) operational team constituted by the IEEE India Council.
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Karen Panetta
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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Pritpal Singh
Dr. Pritpal Singh is a professor of electrical engineering at Villanova University, where he teaches courses on semiconductor microelectronics, power electronics renewable energy systems, sustainable product development for low resource settings, and information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D). He has developed a telehealth project in Nicaragua, supervised students from Villanova and the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (Nicaragua) on humanitarian engineering capstone projects, and worked with UNICEF in Nicaragua, Burundi, and Zimbabwe giving workshops on renewable energy and entrepreneurship. He has recently worked on humanitarian projects in Ecuador in renewable energy and connectivity with colleagues from the Escuela Politecnica de Littoral (ESPOL).
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Lucia Pia Torres
Pia Torres is an electronics engineer from Tucumán, Argentina, specializing in project management, process optimization, digital transformation, and innovation in industry settings. She is a social entrepreneur, UN SDGs Promotor, Diversity and Inclusion Champion, and STEM Education Ambassador. Pia is an IEEE Senior Member, an IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Member, and has been a volunteer since 2001. Currently she is the IEEE Industry Applications Society Diversity & Inclusion Chair. Awards include: the 2020 JCI Argentina Outstanding Young Person for Humanitarian & Volunteering Services, the 2020 IEEE Region 9 Student & Young Professionals Prominent Supporter, and the 2019 IEEE WIE Inspiring Member of the Year.
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Rabab Kreidieh Ward
Rabab Kreidieh Ward has over 40 years of postdoctoral experience in education, research, and leadership. She has published approximately 700 refereed journal and conference papers and holds eight patents. Her research contributions are in broad areas of signal processing and their applications. She served as the Director of the Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (1996-2007) and as the Science Research Coordinator of UBC VP Research Office (2008-2014). She was the IEEE Signal Processing Society President (2016-2017), and an IEEE Director (2020-2021). Dr. Ward is a Professor Emeritus in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
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Ajay Poddar
*Corresponding Member
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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Staff Support

Holly Schneider Brown
IEEE 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
IEEE SIGHT Staff Lead
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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Contact

Email us at hac-office@ieee.org.