Meet Mini Ulanat IEEE - December Newsletter

Meet Mini Ulanat, Ph.D, IEEE WIEC Voting Member 2020-21

Why are you an IEEE WIE Volunteer and Member?
My journey with IEEE can be summarized in 5 words – “Discovering the joy of volunteering” A decade back, as a mid-career professional when IEEE Kochi Subsection was in its nascent stage, I was privileged to be a founding member. Little did I know at that point, what an incredibly fulfilling journey it would be and I am eternally grateful for the supportive ecosystem around me, especially Senior mentors, my peers, YPs, students, and extended family who guided me through the world of student activities and helped me grow ideas into memorable initiatives. Over the years, I’ve been lucky to volunteer in a leadership position as Chair of the IEEE Computer Society, Kochi Subsection, and WIE Affinity Group, Kerala Section.

During this time, I’m proud to brag that we have achieved new levels of success with our initiatives together as a team. Some of my favorites in Computer Society include the starting of All Kerala Computer Society Student Congress (AKCSSC) and the Women in Computing series. AKCSSC had its 7th edition this year. Being passionate about tech and gender, I was interested especially in the areas where I can help in the issues of equity, representation, and access. The most challenging and gratifying experience of all these was organizing WIE International Leadership Summit (ILS ) 2018 immediately after the disastrous Kerala floods 2018. About 175 events were conducted by 45 SBs and locations across the section including 18 STAR events. The success of the events was exciting for different reasons. Thanks to our teamwork, IEEE WIE Kerala Affinity Group became the winner of the 2019 WIE Affinity Group of the Year Award. The same year R10 also As the chair of winning WIE AG, I became a voting member in the WIE Committee 2020.

This was another decisive point for me. Working with amazing WIE leaders from across the world, and learnings from leaders, especially handholding by Liza and Jenifer opened a new world for me. I enjoyed volunteering for ILC 2021 under the able leadership of Heather Quinn. I am excited and looking forward to the first award ceremony scheduled for December 14, 2021. Looking back, my biggest takeaway from IEEE is that it gives you a strong network of peers, juniors, and seniors passionate about technology and ready to explore it further. I got to experience the value of IEEE membership and how it upgraded my skills. In the technical arena, you are exposed to the cutting edge in your field, but the more subtle growth comes from engaging with your community and taking on challenging responsibilities. I met countless volunteers hailing from all parts of the world who are passionate about making a difference. I’m grateful today to call many of those people my good friends.
I hope my journey gives you hope as you embark on yours…