Humans of IEEE WIE highlights a dedicated WIE volunteer who is well known for his/her notable contribution to IEEE WIE.
IEEE WIE: Please give us a brief introduction about yourself and your family.
I was born in India, the first of 3 girls. I moved to the US with my parents and middle sister when I was quite young. My youngest sister was born in California, where we first settled. We mostly grew up in Louisiana, though. I went to Collage at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where I met my husband. We married after graduation, over 28 years ago. We have lived in Texas, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and now Connecticut.
IEEE WIE: What is your specific area of STEM?
My degrees are in electrical engineering, mathematics, and computer engineering. I think of myself as an electrical engineer specializing in embedded systems. My day-to-day work is engineering management but I still love to go into a lab, connect a scope or signal analyzer to some hardware, and debug functional software running on the platform.
IEEE WIE: Please tell us something interesting about your life that may be why you chose the STEM field.
I have always enjoyed solving problems and making something functional out of piece parts. My mother taught us different creative skills growing up. We learned how to sew clothing, cross-stitch, knit, needlepoint, and make all sorts of items. I think this allowed me to be creative and solve the problem of having a usable item at the end of the project. I think engineering is a bit like this — solving problems with materials, tools and ideas on hand.
IEEE WIE: As an empowered woman, please share how you plan to empower other women. How do you encourage them to take leadership positions?
For IEEE WIE, I contributed when chair, with a detailed business plan that launched several initiatives including the launch of WIE ILC and the associated concept of local summits. Not only in WIE but in general, I enjoy coaching people towards excellence. I like to remind others of their strengths and have them focus on those. Also, a quick reminder to go for it also helps.
IEEE WIE: How do you think diversity and inclusion help in boosting creativity and better problem-solving strategies?
Different perspectives, ideas and approaches is the essence of creativity. Diversity of thought only comes when that thought, concept, idea is welcome and included.
IEEE WIE: In your opinion, how can everyone ensure that technological advancements are used for the betterment of humanity?
As with most of life, this starts with positive intent. Second, we have to consider the risks, consequences and potential impacts of what we design and develop. If we can combine positive intent to solve problems and make life better with an understanding of potential risks, we will be doing our best to use technology for the benefit of humanity.
IEEE WIE: What is one piece of advice you can give to young professionals who are IEEE WIE members?
Ask questions and stay curious.
IEEE WIE: How do you challenge the status quo or how do you identify problems in your field and propose solutions to bring positive changes?
Look at work that needs fixing’ and get to it. Action with a bit of planning is necessary in both situations.
IEEE WIE. An empathetic leader helps promote a better work environment. Would you agree?
Empathetic leaders understand what motivates, drives and engages their team. With this knowledge and focus, they can create a better work environment.
Know more about Nita Patel here.