IEEE SIGHTSteering Committee

The SIGHT Steering Committee (SSC) is structured into specific operational subcommittees that each provide regular updates and an annual report to the SSC. The Committee manages all aspects of IEEE SIGHT including approving new teams, training teams, organizing community engagement workshops, evaluating requests for project funding, tracking project performance, communicating SIGHT activities within SIGHT and across IEEE, working effectively across IEEE OUs, and maintaining a quality improvement process for all SIGHT activities.

Education Subcommittee

Operations Subcommittee

Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan | Chair, IEEE SIGHT

Mr. Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan currently serves as Chair of the 2019 IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee. As such, he is a member of the Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC) established by the IEEE Board of Directors.

Mr. Veeraraghavan, an internationally recognized technologist is best known for his pioneering leadership and technological innovations in developing large-scale computing systems, advanced software technologies and systems engineering solutions to solve complex real-world computing challenges across multidisciplinary domains such as healthcare, disabilities, education, poverty alleviation, assistive technologies and security.

He received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University, Massachusetts, USA (2010) and B.E. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Anna University, Tamil Nadu, India (2005). Currently, he works as a Technical Program Manager at Amazon, Massachusetts.

Mr. Veeraraghavan is the founder and director of the technology-based humanitarian program “The Brahmam” (meaning knowledge) which aims to address pressing global and local humanitarian challenges in developing nations through advanced technological solutions. For over a decade, he delivered technology-based sustainable programs that brought together the engineering community, Non-Government Organizations, Governmental agencies, engineers, students and disability advocacy groups to improve the living conditions of children with disabilities, impoverished women and students in developing nations.

Veeraraghavan’s exemplary scholarly contributions and leadership accredited him with numerous global honors. As an active IEEE & IEEE HKN volunteer, he enjoys volunteering and serves in global engineering forums to promote the advancement of engineering and technology. He has extensively contributed to numerous IEEE technology-based humanitarian efforts globally. He has been the IEEE Member & Geographic Activities Governor-At-Large (2015-2017) on the global IEEE HKN board of governors, served as the Chair for the SIGHT Projects committee (2015-2017) and IEEE EPICS proposal committee (2016-2018). Over a decade, he has served and contributed to the growth of numerous global IEEE committees such as IEEE HKN, IEEE History committee, IEEE SIGHT, IEEE EMCC, IEEE Public Visibility initiatives, IEEE educational activities, IEEE Young professionals and IEEE Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS).

Daniel Lottis | Past Chair, IEEE SIGHT

Daniel Lottis currently serves as Past Chair of the IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee. He previously served on HAC’s precursor ad hoc HAHC, as well as being a founder and the first Chair of the Santa Clara Valley Section (also known as “Silicon Valley Section”) SIGHT committee.

Over the last eight years, he has served as a volunteer in one role or another within IEEE, and was nominated for an IEEE Outstanding Service and Leadership Award at the Section level in 2017. Daniel’s involvement with IEEE HTA began in 2013, when he joined the organizing committee for the 2013 GHTC (San Jose). Daniel continued serving the Global Humanitarian Technology Conference in 2014, again identifying and recruiting invited speakers for both plenary and break-out sessions.

Since 2013, Daniel has been employed as a Principal Engineer at Western Digital Technologies. He has joined with his coworkers in numerous community outreach activities, including multiple cycles as a “Citizen Teacher” at a local Middle School with a non-profit called Citizen Schools. His activities as a community outreach volunteer at WD earned him a “Volunteer of the Month” recognition early in 2018.

Daniel earned a PhD in Physics at the University of Minnesota, preceded by a Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the Federal University of Parana in Curitiba, Brazil. Prior to being admitted to UFPR, he earned a technician certificate in construction technology at Curitiba’s Federal Center for Technological Education (secondary school plus one focus year). Eight years after earning his PhD in the USA, Daniel returned to his alma mater in Brazil, where he held an appointment as a visiting professor for five years. During that time, Daniel taught many courses for university students who were preparing for careers as STEM teachers. This included numerous visits to classrooms in public schools in Curitiba, where he supervised student teaching activities. Also during that time period, Daniel presented papers and taught workshops at several physics and science education conferences in Brazil and Argentina. His accumulated experience in Brazil, ranging from childhood to teaching at UFPR, had a profound impact on Daniel’s perspective on sustainable development and economic inequality.

Celia Shahnaz | Chair, Communications Subcommittee

Celia Shahnaz received her Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada, in 2009. Currently she is serving as a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, BUET, from where she received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in 2000 and 2002, respectively. Her research interests include the areas of speech analysis, speech enhancement, digital watermarking, biomedical signal processing, audio-visual recognition for biometric security, pattern recognition, multimedia communication, control system, robotics and signal processing & pattern recognition for power signals. She is also the founder and coordinator of FLASH, a special interest group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) in IEEE Bangladesh Section. In 2018, in order to ensure clean water for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, she conceptualized the project “Bringing Life Back to Rohingya” which received IEEE HAC funding. She has also served as lead/co-lead of several humanitarian technology based projects for people and children with disabilities.

In addition to her role as Communications Chair of IEEE SIGHT in 2017, Dr. Shahnaz has also held many volunteer leadership positions with IEEE including: Women in Engineering (WIE) as the 2017 – 2018 Chair of the Workshops Subcommittee; the 2017-19 IEEE PES Women in Power R10 Regional Representative; 2016 member of the Women in Leadership Collabratec Community of IEEE MGA WIE; the 2016 R10 WIE Coordinator; member of the R10 Humanitarian Technology Activity (HTA) subcommittee in 2017; General Co-Chair of 2017  IEEE Region 10 Humanitarian Technology Conference (HTC); and a member of the IEEE SSIT WIE and SIT subcommittees in 2017 in addition to many other positions. She was also the founding Chair of WIE Affinity Group in the IEEE Bangladesh Section, and was instrumental in forming 16 WIE Student Branches in the Section. Dr. Shahnaz is now serving as the 2018-19 Chair of IEEE Bangladesh Section.

Dr. Shahnaz is a senior member of IEEE, a fellow of IEB and has published more than 120 international journal and conference papers. Recently, her papers have received the best paper award of the biomedical engineering track at TENCON 2017, the Humanitarian Challenge track at R10 HTC 2017, the Biomedical Engineering track at IEEE WIECON-ECE 2016, and the best interactive poster award at icIVPR 2017. She also is the recipient of various awards and distinctions including: the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship in 2004, the Bangladesh-Academy of Science gold model for her contributions in science and engineering in Bangladesh, top ten best paper awards in Student Paper Contests (MWSCAS 2014 and 2008), best Student Paper Award (ICNNSP 2008), 2013 R10 WIE Professional Volunteer award, 2015 WIE Inspiring Member Award and 2016 IEEE MGA leadership award.

Pritpal Singh | Chair, Education Subcommittee

Dr. Pritpal Singh is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Villanova University. He received his BSc in Physics from the University of Birmingham in England in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Applied Science/Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 1984. Dr. Singh teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the areas of 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 several locations in Nicaragua, supervised students from Villanova and Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (Nicaragua) on humanitarian engineering capstone projects, and has 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) in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Dr. Singh has been the IEEE SIGHT Education Subcommittee Chair for the last three years.


Darwin Jose Raju | Chair, Operations Subcommittee

  1. Darwin Jose Raju is an IEEE Senior Member and the Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in St. Xavier’s Catholic College of Engineering, Tamil Nadu, India. He is an active volunteer of IEEE Madras Section. In addition to being the SIGHT Operations Committee Chair, he is also Chair of IEEE Education Society-Madras Section and Coordinator of IEEE StB 62851- St. Xavier’s Catholic College of Engineering. He is a member of IEEE Education Society, IEEE Electron Devices Society, IEEE WIE Affinity Group, and IEEE SSIT. He is also a life member of Indian Society of Technical Education (ISTE) and Society of EMC Engineers.

Dr. Raju received his Bachelors in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and Masters in Applied Electronics from the Hindustan College of Engineering, Chennai. He completed an MBA from Tamil Nadu Open University and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Anna University, Chennai. Now, with more than 18 years of teaching experience, he continues teaching undergraduate and post-graduate classes ion various subjects. Under his guidance, many of his students became IEEE members and have been awarded numerous scholarships and awards from IEEE Societies and IEEE WIE. Others have submitted 5 IEEE program funded projects. Dr. Raju has also played an important role in the formation of new IEEE Student Branches and Technical Societies.

For his service as an IEEE volunteer, Dr. Raju was elevated to a Senior Member of IEEE and awarded the “Outstanding Student Branch Counselor” award in 2009. He received the IEEE MGA Leadership Award in 2012, as one of the three global recipients. Dr. Raju has an extensive history as an IEEE volunteer, filling a variety of positions: 2018 Member of IEEE EPICS Project Committee, 2016-17 IEEE SIGHT Projects Sub-Committee Member, 2015-17 Vice Chair of IEEE Madras SSIT, 2015-16 IEEE R10 HTA Team Member, 2014-2015 IEEE Madras Section Treasurer, 2015 IEEE WIE ILS Finance Committee Lead, 2012-14 Chairman of IEEE YPs Program (GOLD), 2012-13 IEEE Madras Section Execom Member, 2011 Treasurer of IEEE WIE Madras Section Affinity Group and 2003-05 Student Branch Counselor of IEEE StB 62851.

An enthusiastic volunteer with remarkable contributions and achievements, Dr. Raju works for the goodness of society and the student community and believes that success is the joy of self-satisfaction.

Karen Panetta | Chair, Projects Subcommittee

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 Chair of the IEEE Boston Section, which resulted in the Boston Section receiving the 2011 IEEE Large Section Award. During 2009-2007. Karen served as the Chair for the IEEE Women in Engineering, overseeing the world’s largest professional organization supporting women in engineering and science. Karen also served as the Chair of the Boston IEEE Education Society chapter and IEEE Boston Signal Processing Society.

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, a program that shows how engineers and scientists are creating innovations for the benefit humanity.

Dr. Karen Panetta is the “Princess Warrior” of Engineering and Science education. She has championed young women to embrace their creative talents and brain power to innovate cool technology that has the power to improve the lives of individuals, communities, and the environment.  Karen has been recognized for her unwavering commitment to promoting the image of the “Nerd Girl” as a talented well-rounded woman that can take on any challenge to solve real world problems.

She is the recipient of numerous awards. In 2011, U.S. President Obama presented Karen with the NSF Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. In 2013, she was awarded the E-Week New England Leadership award and the IEEE Award for Ethical Practices. Karen is the co-host of the 2019 web series, Nerd Girl Nation and the book, “Count Girls In!”

Ajay Poddar | Chair, Ad Hoc Strategic Partnerships Subcommittee

Ajay K. Poddar received his Bachelor of Technology Degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from NITC-Calicut, India, in 1990; Electronic Fellowship Diploma from IAT-Pune, India in 1992; Master of Technology Degree in Radar & Communication Engineering from IIT-Delhi, India in 1996; Diploma from FUCHS-Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa in 1997; Doctorate (Dr.-Ing.) from TUB- Berlin, Germany in 2004; and Post Doctorate (Dr.-Ing. habil) from BTU-Cottbus, Germany in 2015.

From 1991 until 2001 he worked as Senior Scientist and program manager at DRDO-India, responsible for many scientific research projects including X-band and Ka-Band RADAR, Guidance Systems, and microwave/millimeter wave electronic sensors. Since 2001, he has been with the Synergy Microwave Corp., NJ, USA, where he is currently working as a Chief Scientist, responsible for design and development of state-of-the-art RF modules such as reference frequency oscillator, synthesizers, mixer, amplifier, filters, Optoelectronic Oscillator, RF-MEMS microwave components, and Möbius Metamaterial strips based energy efficient microwave signal sources. Dr. Poddar was Visiting Professor (1999-2004) for post graduate students at the University of Pune, India, appointed as a Full Professor at Oradea University Romania (2015 – present) and Guest Lecturer (2009 – present) at Technical University Munich, Germany. Dr. Poddar is serving on the advisory board of MIT School of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Pune, India; and of Don Bosco Institute of Tech, Mumbai, India.

Dr. Poddar is a proactive IEEE volunteer, serving as a member and Chair of many committees including MTT-S SIGHT and AP-S SIGHT. He has served on the Technical Program Review Committee for many IEEE-sponsored conferences for multiple years as well as serving on the Steering Committee for several conferences globally organized in past 25 years. In addition to his position with IEEE SIGHT, Dr. Poddar is currently serving as a IEEE Region Coordinator from MTT and AP Societies, IEEE MTT-S AdCom Member (2019-2021), IEEE AP-S AdCom member (2018-2020), AP-S DL (Distinguished Lecturer) Program, and AP-S NDC New Direction Committee. Dr. Poddar is a member of the Red Cross and Tsunami Relief Foundation which share the common goal of making a difference in the world by improving people’s lives.

Dr. Poddar has received over dozen awards for technological innovations and meritorious services; holds over two dozen patents, published over 250 scientific papers in journals and international conferences, and co-authored 4 technical books and chapters. He is the recipient of 2009 IEEE Region 1 Award for “Outstanding Leadership and Contributions in the Research, Design and Development of Microwave Systems”; recipient of the 2015 IEEE Region 1 Award for “Outstanding Scientific Contributions, Leadership and Service, IEEE IFCS W.G. Cady Award” in recognition of his outstanding scientific contributions on host of frequency generating and frequency controlled electronics and timing devices, and the 2018 IEEE MGA Innovation Award. Dr. Poddar’s detailed biography can be found at

Khanjan Mehta | Chair, Ad Hoc Metric Framework Subcommittee

Khanjan Mehta is the inaugural Vice Provost for Creative Inquiry and Director of the Mountaintop Initiative at Lehigh University. Mehta champions the creation of learning environments and ecosystems where students, faculty, and external partners come together to increase their capacities for independent inquiry, take intellectual risks and learn from failure, recognize problems and opportunities, and effect constructive and sustainable change.

In a previous avatar, Mehta was the Founding Director of the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) Program, Assistant Professor of Engineering Design, and Affiliate Professor of International Affairs at Penn State. Mehta serves as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Technology and Society Magazine and Contributing Editor for the Engineering 4 Change portal. His latest book, Solving Problems that Matter (and Getting Paid for It), takes a deep dive into STEM careers in social innovation and global sustainable development.

Julianna Pichardo | IEEE SIGHT Program Specialist

Julianna Pichardo joined the Humanitarian & Sustainable Development Activities team at IEEE 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 and worked closely with diverse stakeholders, from board members to local program staff to donors to micro-entrepreneurs, to increase long-term impact for 10,000+ clients.
A fluent Spanish speaker, Julianna has studied in Chile, and is a nine-time participant in mission trips to Guatemala City focused on community development initiatives.
Julianna enjoys supporting SIGHT members and groups and meeting volunteers and supporters from around the globe.

Betsy Toland | IEEE SIGHT Administrative Support

Ms. Betsy Toland is the Special Interest Group on Humanitarian Technology (SIGHT) program Administrator. She joined the team in March 2016 and is responsible for performing and managing operational duties in support of SIGHT team. She is also responsible for management of IEEE SIGHT promotional material, processing of expense reports, tracking of expenses as well as other ad hoc projects.

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