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 groups, providing educational content to strengthen SIGHT volunteers’ professional skills and equip them with the knowledge necessary to facilitate sustainable development initiatives at a grassroots level, evaluating requests for project funding, establishing a metric framework to assess the impact of funded projects, communicating SIGHT activities within SIGHT and across IEEE, working effectively across IEEE OUs, and maintaining a quality improvement process for all SIGHT activities.
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.
Simay Akar | Chair, Communications Subcommittee
Simay Akar has been working in the energy industry since 2012. She specializes in solar and renewable energy fields with her work experience.
Her current role is Business Development & Marketing Director of GoodWe Turkey. She worked in China and Turkey and mostly focused on international commercial activities including marketing, sales and business development. EkoRE Talesun Solar, CSUN Eurasia, Schneider Electric, Arcelik (BEKO), Lucida Solar are the companies she has worked for so far. She graduated from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey.
Simay has been an active IEEE volunteer since 2007, when she started as a student member. Today she holds a senior member grade. Simay has served in several volunteer membership and leadership positions in different areas including global committees of IEEE Humanitarian Technology Activities, such as IEEE SIGHT and IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee (HAC), IEEE Power Energy Society, such as Women in Power, PES Young Professionals, and its Solar and Wind Committee, IEEE Women in Engineering, IEEE Young Professionals, IEEE Social Implications of Technology Society (SSIT), IEEE Student Activities, IEEE Entrepreneurship Committee and other positions on Regional Boards of IEEE Region 8 (Europe Middle East and Africa) and IEEE Region 10 (Asia Pacific).
She has received the following awards from IEEE:
• IEEE Global Young Professionals Hall of the Fame Award 2018 (PES YP Team)
• IEEE MGA (Global) Young Professionals Achievement Award 2017
• IEEE MGA (Global) Achievement Award 2014 (as IEEE Day Team Lead)
• IEEE Day Leadership Award 2013
Fernando Guarin | Chair, Education Subcommittee
- Dr. Fernando Guarín is a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Global Foundries in East Fishkill New York where he is currently leading the reliability team involved in the qualification of GlobalFoundries 5G mmW technology offerings, particularly 45RFSOI.
From 1980 until 1988 he worked in the Military and Aerospace Operations division of National Semiconductor Corporation. In 1988 he joined IBM’s microelectronics division where he worked in the reliability physics and modeling of Advanced Bipolar, CMOS and Silicon Germanium BiCMOS technologies. He retired from the IBM Semiconductor Research Development Center SRDC in 2016 after 27 years with the reliability group where he was a Senior Member of Technical Staff. He earned his BSEE from the “Pontificia Universidad Javeriana”, in Bogotá, Colombia, the M.S.E.E. degree from the University of Arizona, and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, NY. He has been actively working in semiconductor reliability for over 38 years.
Dr. Guarín is an IEEE Fellow, Distinguished Lecturer for the IEEE Electron Device Society EDS, where he has served in many capacities including; member of the IEEE’s EDS Board of governors, chair of the EDS Education Committee, Secretary for EDS. He was the EDS President 2018-2019 and is currently the Jr. Past president of EDS.
Darwin Jose Raju | Chair, Operations Subcommittee
- 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 19 years of teaching experience, he continues teaching undergraduate and post-graduate classes in 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 good 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!”
Pritpal Singh | Chair, Ad Hoc on Assessment Training
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
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.
Khanjan Mehta | Chair, Ad Hoc on Metrics Framework & Evaluation
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.
Ajay Poddar | Chair, Ad Hoc on Strategic Partnerships
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 https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-ajay-kumar-poddar-125aa53/
Julianna Pichardo | IEEE SIGHT Program Specialist
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.
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.