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The shortage of an engineering mentor rising up didn’t cease Anna Zakrzewska from having a profitable profession in telecommunications. She is a Senior Principal Engineer at Dell Applied sciences in Dublin. However Zakrzewska wonders how in a different way her journey would have been if she had had a mentor to information her when she was youthful.

“None of my relations or household associates had been engineers,” she says. “I additionally had no mentors in class, and I typically take into consideration how my profession could be totally different if I had been uncovered to STEM earlier in life.”

The IEEE Senior Fellow has made it her mission to introduce children to careers in science, know-how, engineering, and math and nurture their curiosity in STEM fields. She volunteers with organizations that do exactly that, like Technovation Ladies, which focuses on getting extra women involved in STEM. The nonprofit group holds an annual competitors wherein groups develop cellular apps that deal with real-world issues. Zakrzewska helps choose the entries.

He additionally mentors faculty college students and younger professionals by way of outreach applications at Dell reminiscent of STEM Aspire.

For her work in STEM outreach and technical contributions to telecommunications analysis, Zakrzewska obtained this 12 months’s IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Excellent Younger Skilled Award. The consideration is sponsored by IEEE Younger Professionals and the IEEE Photonics and Energy & Vitality Societies.

Receiving the award, Zakrzewska says, motivates her to proceed her profession as a volunteer, mentor and technician.

Mentoring the following technology of engineers

When Zakrzewska was rising up in Poland, she and her household used to hearken to the radio. Her radio was the dimensions of a microwave oven, she says, and he or she believed there have been little individuals residing inside whose job it was to entertain and inform listeners.

Zakrzewska says that when somebody lastly defined to her the engineering that makes radios work, it was an summary idea.

About Anna Zakrzewska

EMPLOYER Dell Applied sciences in Dublin

QUALIFICATION Senior Principal Engineer

MEMBER GRADE senior member

ALMA MATER Technical College of Denmark, in Kongens Lyngby

“Since I could not truly see how the system labored,” he says, “for me, the engineering was magic.”

Zakrzewska initially wished to develop into a radio host, however she additionally preferred the thought of ​​changing into an engineer so she might create know-how that individuals would take into account magical similar to her. In the long run, she determined to enter engineering and thought that she might write about know-how in her spare time.

After graduating with a grasp’s diploma in telecommunications and informatics in 2008 from the Wrocław College of Science and Expertise in Poland, Zakrzewska initially didn’t know what sort of profession to pursue.

“I loved engaged on scholar analysis tasks, however I felt that academia was not for me. I could not see myself as a instructor,” she says. “However I additionally wasn’t certain if I wished to be an industrial researcher.”

He determined to provide analysis a try to in 2009 grew to become an intern at Nippon Telegraph and Phone Corp., in Atsugi, Japan. He left after a couple of 12 months to take up an analogous place on the European Fee’s Joint Analysis Middle in Ispra, Italy. He conducts analysis on telecommunications and helps the European Union set coverage.

Realizing that she loved the job, Zakrzewska enrolled in 2010 in a PhD program in wi-fi communications on the Technical College of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby.

Whereas there, she had her first expertise mentoring undergraduate engineering college students as a member of the college’s IEEE scholar department.

“If a door closes on a sure alternative, do not let it get you down. Discover a technique to open the door, or [find] one other technique to enter

“PhD-level members of the department began a mentoring program as a result of we realized we might assist youthful college students with their research or give them recommendation on internships and profession paths,” she says. “The department additionally invited established professionals from quite a lot of electrical engineering fields to talk with the scholars.”

Collaborating in this system made Zakrzewska notice that many schools do not promote STEM careers, she says, and that advising younger individuals about such careers after they’re already faculty college students is “too late.”

After incomes his Ph.D. In 2013, she joined Nokia Bell Labs in Dublin as a analysis scientist engaged on wi-fi communications and self-organizing networks. She has been granted a number of patents, all of which have been commercialized.

She additionally started volunteering for STEM outreach organizations and applications. In 2015, she started managing the Nokia Bell Labs sales space on the BT Younger Scientist & Expertise Exhibition (BTYSTE), an annual science honest in Eire. She informed the younger individuals who visited the sales space about her work and answered her questions. She was requested questions like “Have you ever ever damaged something within the lab?” and “What do you do if issues do not work out? Does your boss yell at you?

“I answered their questions as truthfully as doable,” Zakrzewska says, laughing, “whereas nonetheless making them enthusiastic about working in STEM.”

Her volunteering at BTYSTE got here to an finish in 2021, when she left Nokia Bell Labs and joined Dell as a Principal Engineer at their Telecom Co-Innovation Professional Middle. She helps develop technical requirements for telecommunications know-how, particularly for open radio entry networks.

Enhance fairness within the technical workforce

Zakrzewska bought stepping into 2017 with the annual Grace Hopper Celebration, a gathering of girls technologists. The occasion is organized by, a nonprofit group working to extend intersectional fairness (justice relating to race and gender) within the international technical workforce. Zakrzewska is a member of the committee and is on the panel of reviewers for the scholarship program.

In 2020, she started volunteering with I am a Scientist, an enrichment program designed to attach college students with scientists and engineers. Mentors and college students take part in on-line chats on this system’s web site, and mentees can ask their mentor questions on their work. Zakrzewska says that she enjoys serving to to encourage the following technology by sharing her real-life experiences.

She additionally grew to become energetic in 2020 for the annual Technovation Ladies competitors. Groups of as much as 5 women between the ages of 8 and 18 develop know-how that would deal with challenges of their native communities. There are three divisions: novices, juniors, and seniors. Along with growing a cellular app, the groups submit a marketing strategy and a presentation video.

“I’m very impressed with these tasks,” says Zakrzewska. “College students can establish the important thing points, which regularly relate to their respective age group and will not be seen to adults, for instance anxiousness about local weather change or habit to social media. Many have formidable plans to associate with native authorities and search sponsorship for his or her apps.

“Fixing these issues not solely gives motivation to be taught new expertise in coding or teamwork, but in addition empowers college students to steer change of their native communities.”

As a participant in Dell’s tutoring applications, Zakrzewska visits excessive faculties to clarify to college students how she grew to become an engineer and what her job entails. She additionally gives profession steering to the corporate’s interns and younger professionals.

“I problem my trainees to get out of their consolation zone and, for instance, search for job alternatives overseas,” he says. “I do not consider in individuals who restrict themselves.

“I try to point out them how their expertise are broadly relevant and that they will dream large by way of the place their profession can take them.”

Zakrzewska’s greatest recommendation to her trainees, she says, is to create alternatives for themselves.

“If a door closes on a sure alternative, do not let it get you down,” he advises. “Discover a technique to open the door or [find] one other technique to enter

She is about to obtain the Hissey Award on Might 5 on the 2023 IEEE Imaginative and prescient, Innovation and Challenges Summit and Honors Ceremony, going down on the Hilton Atlanta.

The views expressed on this interview are the private views of Anna Zakrzewska and don’t essentially mirror the views of any of the organizations talked about.

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A Young Professional on the Power of Mentorship

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