Meet Dr. (Mrs.) Windhya Rankothge (PhD)

I am Windhya Rankothge, IEEE WIE Sri Lanka section chair for year 2019. By profession, I am a senior lecturer and faculty of Computing at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology. My research interests are on software defined networks, network functions virtualization, cloud computing and resource management. I received my PhD in information technology from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain and MSc from University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. My BSc is from Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology.

How did you first get involved in IEEE Women in Engineering?
The first time I heard about WIE was during a casual discussion I had with my PhD mentor in 2015. She was an active member of the WIE UK section, and she described the activities carried out by the WIE UK section. I was very impressed of their work and immediately knew that it is the right place for me.


Why did you decide to become a IEEE WIE member?
Coming from a developing country (Sri Lanka), I have always experienced the cultural barriers imposed to women in different aspects, especially when selecting a career in the STEM field. I wanted to share my experiences with the WIE community and see how other countries have addressed these problems, and help women in Sri Lanka to courageously select careers in STEM fields.

What do you wish other people knew about IEEE WIE?
I wish every woman in a developing country knew about IEEE WIE, so that they can get help, advice, and encouragement to become successful professionals in any field that they like.

What is it like to be an IEEE WIE Volunteer, and what do you enjoy about it?
Being a volunteer makes me feel that I am giving back, and it’s my way of being grateful to society. When I see the results of our volunteer activities, how we help women in the community to uplift their lives, I feel that humanity is still alive.

Why do you feel it is important for women to enter into the field of engineering?
Especially in developing countries with cultural barriers, women are forced to avoid STEM studies and careers. I would like to encourage women to enter the engineering field and learn that they can be equally as good as men in the same field. Moreover, I want them to know that there are many women around the world who have taken the same path and have become successful. Women should understand that it’s not difficult to have the work-life balance, they can enjoy success in both places; at work as well as at home.