A Message From Jenifer Castillo, Chair of the IEEE WIE Committee 2021- 2022 and Special Guest
Maria Alexandra Paun

Jenifer Castillo, Chair of IEEE WIE Committee 2021-2022

I would like to start this message in a different way. Last month, I saw a great and close colleague on the cover of Forbes Central America. She is an IEEE Senior Member, a great WIE volunteer, and an example for all of us. At that point, I realized how amazing our community is: we do not only have the opportunity to empower and engage women in our careers and expand our network, we have the opportunity to meet and know amazing, wonderful people. We are a community, happy to see each other thriving and supporting our peers. This is WIE. (if you want to learn more about this member, Check out the article ).

With this same spirit, the 9th Annual IEEE WIE International Leadership Conference (ILC)  was held on June 6 and 7 with the theme Transforming Leadership. This was a hybrid event in San Diego, CA, USA, and virtually via the Grip platform, which offered the great feeling of being in-person again, but keeping the global reach, we envision this version to have. It was full of networking opportunities in-person and virtually among attendees, speakers, and exhibitors, and the attendees can watch videos of sessions they were unable to attend in-person or virtually during the conference. One of the many highlights of the event was the line that was formed by the participants to take a picture with Dr. Lisa Su AMD President and CEO. We really hope we can keep creating these types of opportunities for you all for years to come!

Feeling as inspired as I am with the ILC and our member’s successes, and after keeping up the efforts during the IEEE meeting series in Seattle, WA, USA where we achieved some important progress toward a new scholarship and a new award for our members (soon to be announced), I would like now to introduce my guest for this newsletter: Maria Alexandra Paun, Young Professionals Representative. Gracias por tus palabras Maria!

Jenifer Castillo R.
IEEE Women in Engineering Committee Chair 2021-2022
IEEE Region 9 Director Elect 2022-2023

Meet Maria Alexandra Paun, Young Professionals Representative

“Believe in yourself and you can achieve everything”

Hello, my name is Maria, and I am currently working as a Telecommunications Engineer with the Federal office for communications (OFCOM) in Switzerland. I would like to share with you a few words about my IEEE path and the reason I became an IEEE WIE member.

I have been an active volunteer within IEEE since 2011. I started as a graduate student member of IEEE EPFL Student Branch, then got involved in IEEE Switzerland Section as Chair of IEEE WIE Switzerland, and then gradually progressed through elections to all leadership positions in IEEE Switzerland in 2013-2021 (Secretary, Vice Chair and Chair for 2 mandates). In the 60-year history of our Switzerland Section, I was the youngest and only second female to hold the Chair position and the first female to hold this function for two consecutive mandates.

By participating in various international IEEE meetings, I have met the global WIE team and exchanged with them my passion and vision. Due to my experience and personal professional profile, I have been chosen as a Member of the IEEE Region 8 WIE Subcommittee for 4 years (2017-2020). In 2021 I have been appointed as Chair of the IEEE Region 8 WIE Subcommittee and I am also part of the global IEEE WIE Committee.

I find being an IEEE WIE member is a natural choice to make, along with being a female engineer with an active IEEE volunteering path. This is an excellent community to join, a place where you can grow both personally and professionally with many interesting people to meet and the possibility to participate in great events. But most importantly, it is like finding a feeling of belonging that offers you the possibility to strive for common goals, for the global promotion, encouragement, and recognition of women in engineering. We share our stories and career paths, as well as work together to offer the WIE members great role models and interesting events for them to attend. It is very important for women to be represented in leadership positions in technical fields. For other young ladies wishing to join IEEE WIE, I would say that this is an amazing collectivity to be part of, and the networking, continuous learning, and other exchanges are very well represented. My advice is to always remember to believe in yourself, in your qualities and capabilities, and that you can achieve everything.

Finally, I would like to share a quote that I particularly like from Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”