Embark on a captivating journey with us as we reflect on INSPIRATO, a remarkable panel discussion organized by the IEEE WIE student branch affinity group of the University of Peradeniya. Participants explored the evolving trends in engineering, discovered the significance of academia-industry collaboration, and learned about the path to higher studies. Esteemed panelists, Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage and Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna, inspired and empowered women in academia and the industry. Extracurricular activities were celebrated as catalysts for growth and seizing opportunities. Let’s celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and contribute to a diverse and inclusive future.

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INSPIRATO, the panel discussion organized by the IEEE Women in Engineering student branch affinity group of the University of Peradeniya, marked a memorable celebration of International Women in Engineering Day. Held on June 24th via the Zoom platform, this enlightening event featured esteemed panelists who shared their insights and experiences with the participants. The gathering began with a warm welcome by Professor Maheshi Dissanayaka, the advisor of the IEEE WIE student branch, who introduced the panelists and set the stage for an engaging discussion.
Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage, a postdoctoral research fellow, and Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna, a Radio Network Planning and Optimization Engineer, were the distinguished panelists who captivated the audience with their expertise and inspiring journeys. The event aimed to provide a platform for celebrating the achievements of women in engineering and empowering the next generation of engineers.
INSPIRATO covered a wide range of topics that were of great interest to the participants. Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage and Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna began by sharing the beginnings of their career paths and highlighting their expertise in their respective fields. Their personal stories served as a motivation for aspiring engineers, demonstrating the diverse paths one can take in the field of engineering.
Throughout the panel discussion, the evolving trends in the industry were a focal point. Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna elaborated on the changes she has witnessed in the electrical, electronic, and computer engineering industry, shedding light on the emerging trends and job market opportunities that aspiring engineers should be aware of. Her insights provided valuable guidance for those seeking to stay ahead in an ever-changing industry.
The importance of collaboration between academia and industry was emphasized by both panelists. Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage highlighted the need for academic qualifications to align with industry demands, ensuring that graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge required by employers. Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna emphasized the significance of additional skills and qualifications, such as management knowledge, internships, and projects, which play a crucial role in meeting industry requirements. The role of soft skills in professional success was also highlighted, emphasizing the holistic development needed for a thriving engineering career.
The discussion expanded to encompass the pursuit of higher studies. Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage provided valuable insights into different higher study programs, academic prerequisites, and the importance of research publications. Her expertise guided participants through the process of admissions and shed light on the benefits of pursuing advanced degrees.
Balancing academia with a career was a topic that resonated with many attendees. Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage delved into the advantages of pursuing higher studies while simultaneously building a career, offering practical advice on overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Another aspect highlighted was the significance of extracurricular activities in professional development during INSPIRATO. Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna emphasized the importance of being an active member of academic-related societies, such as IEEE, and participating in extracurricular activities that provide opportunities to meet industry needs and build valuable networks. Attendees were encouraged to embrace such activities to enhance their skill sets and broaden their horizons.
The challenges and opportunities for women in the engineering industry and academia were brought to the forefront throughout the panel discussion. Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage shed light on empowering women in academia, advocating for inclusivity and support to create an environment where female engineers can thrive. Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna focused on the role of IEEE WIE in promoting professional development and empowering women in the engineering industry, emphasizing the importance of initiatives that foster gender diversity and inclusion.
INSPIRATO witnessed an enthusiastic participation of around 35 attendees, who were inspired by the insights shared by Dr. Dilrukshi Gamage and Eng. Thilakshi Karunarathna. Their stories and experiences motivated aspiring engineers to pursue their goals and emphasized the immense potential of women in engineering. In conclusion, INSPIRATO, the panel discussion organized by the IEEE WIE student branch affinity group of the University of Peradeniya, served as a platform to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day and promote inclusivity and empowerment in the engineering field. The event provided valuable insights, guidance, and inspiration for the attendees, reinforcing the importance of supporting and nurturing women in engineering.