Humans of IEEE SIGHT: Mario Alejandro Alemán, Chair of the Nicaragua SIGHT

Humans of IEEE SIGHT profiles volunteers working to improve the quality of life in underserved communities around the world. This month we are pleased to introduce Mario Alejandro Alemán.

Mario Alejandro Alemán is Chair of IEEE Nicaragua Section in Region 9 and a member of the 2017 MGA Humanitarian Activities Committee. Mr. Alemán also works as an independent contractor and consultant to electrical markets.

Mr. Alemán’s interviewer is Dr. Celia Shahnaz, Communications Chair for the IEEE SIGHT Steering Committee and Professor in the Department of EEE, BUET, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

SIGHT: What inspired you to join IEEE SIGHT?

MA: I was inspired to join SIGHT because I believe change is possible and everyone has the potential to become a change maker, positive influencer and a leader for society. Since I was an undergraduate student, I was devoted and passionate to do community projects in underserved areas of Nicaragua. I joined SIGHT in 2014, when I first heard about its program, opportunities, network and resources available during a presentation in IEEE Section Congress Amsterdam 2014.
SIGHT: How does your professional work tie in to your volunteer roles and motivate you in SIGHT?

MA: The main motivation to volunteer for SIGHT was to be part of a global network, build relationships with others and work together not only with IEEE members and staff, but also with community leaders, villagers and partners. I believe it’s a fascinating journey when you start, that takes you on the next adventure and you work on real problems and find real solutions. My professional role is in the design and construction of solar photovoltaic systems, as an independent contractor and consultant for electrical markets. Therefore, there is a relationship with the deployment of technology on the field.

SIGHT: How might your life be if you had not ever had the opportunity to join IEEE SIGHT?

MA: I believe, I would have missed the opportunity to learn new things, policies, working approaches and think differently. When you get involved with SIGHT you learn how to be mindful, resourceful and proactive and you are always looking for people and partners to work with, otherwise would be difficult to achieve results.

SIGHT: What has been your most memorable IEEE SIGHT moment? Something that you can’t forget or are proud of?

MA: Being part of the SIGHT Steering Committee from 2015-2016 was a thrilling and stimulating experience, where you are able to do more and impact more people. I remember traveling to all of the Central American countries to help them to form their SIGHTs and empowering them with resources and opportunities. I also get very pleased when I reach out to student groups and respond to all their questions and see their passion and motivation effervesce. I’m also very proud of the SIGHT projects I have led in Nicaragua that impact people’s life.

SIGHT: What is one thing IEEE SIGHT should consider doing that it is not focused on now?

MA: Revitalizing all SIGHT groups.

SIGHT: What suggestions do you have to encourage more members of Young Professionals and Women in Engineering to become involved in SIGHT? What are the challenges and possible solutions?

MA: I see no difference in gender. After the undergraduate degree, Young Professional and Women in Engineering members are found keen to SIGHT groups, since they are transitioning to network with the industry or academia. I believe they can bring more opportunities not only to student members but also to the communities. Social entrepreneurship is a fascinating topic that Young Professionals and Women in Engineering members would be willing to learn and move forward with local SIGHT groups.

SIGHT: Do you have any words about collaboration with IEEE technical societies?

MA: SIGHTs need vitality and re-organization before doing collaboration work with technical societies. Also, create mechanisms for members to make SIGHT easy to understand within the structures of IEEE and other organizational units.