On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are pleased to feature Dr. Aishwarya Bandla – Head of Translational Core, The N.1 Institute for Health, National University of Singapore. Dr. Aishwarya is the Professional Activities Chair at IEEE Singapore section and Treasurer at Women in Engineering Singapore. She is also a member of the executive committees of the Region 10 WIE, EMBS Singapore chapter and the first-ever EMBS Young Professionals ExCom. Her IEEE volunteering journey started with Women in Engineering Singapore, and she served in a spectrum of roles – from an executive committee member to the secretary and a full term as chairperson. Let’s learn about her wonderful experience in IEEE.
What’s your technical area/professional background?
Trained in electrical engineering and biomedical engineering, I currently head a multidisciplinary research group that aims to design, develop, and translate wearable bioengineering solutions for clinically-relevant questions.
What have you done as an IEEE volunteer that you’re most proud of?
Several volunteering experiences, I recall, are studded with memorable and proud moments – of relationships built and strengthened, and impact created. One such initiative which I fondly remember from my term as the WiE Singapore chairperson is the ‘WiE Singapore Networking Nights’ which my team and I designed and launched. As envisioned, this initiative brought together engineers, technologists, and tech enthusiasts from academia, industry, start-ups, government organizations to interact and engage on a variety of topics. This initiative amongst others also led to WiE Singapore being recognized as the 2019 Best Chapter by the IEEE Singapore section
What benefits does IEEE offer young professionals from your experience?
Being the world’s largest technical professional organization and successful volunteer-driven community, IEEE has so much to offer as one seeks to grasp. As a young professional in today’s dynamic and fast-paced times, ‘life skills’ are as critical as excelling in technical skills, if not more so. IEEE’s resources cater to both keeping abreast with the latest tech/scientific advancements and numerous experiential learning opportunities for professional development.
Were you an IEEE member before you started volunteering?
Yes, I was an IEEE member for a few months before getting involved as a volunteer. In fact, one of the reasons why I decided to continue belonging to IEEE was to have the opportunity to volunteer while increasing my contact networks with other students and professionals.
What advice would you give to new volunteers?
Explore and embrace what opportunities volunteering can bring to you, build a diverse global network, and carve a path towards creating collective impact.
How would you describe IEEE in 3 words??
Tech for Good
What impact have IEEE and volunteering had on your career?
Volunteering with IEEE has not only brought me a lovely network of friends and mentors but has also been a sandbox for professional and life skill development. In general, volunteering presents avenues and opportunities to hone qualities such as leadership, empathy, a growth mindset to embrace diverse perspectives and promotes being a mode of continuous learning and improvement.
IEEE-wise, what are your goals for the future?
I look forward to meeting and working together with more awesome volunteers and together learning and contributing to transformational initiatives.
Career-wise, what are your goals for the future?
In the true spirit of being an IEEE member, my overarching career goals remain geared towards contributing to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. I’m fortunate to be in a role that allows me to do so, at the crux of engineering and medicine, translating health tech to impact patient care.
What is the best among your experiences of organizing virtual/hybrid events?
My friends told me to write a book about your stories in IEEE! There are many stories, but I will share two favorite stories of my life as a volunteer.
The pandemic has coaxed us to go virtual, moving on to a hybrid future. Though it lacks the lustre of in-person meetings, virtual has its own charm of shrinking distances and connecting people whom we wouldn’t have had a chance to meet in a ‘normal’ world.
IEEE Singapore’s YP and WiE co-hosted our 2019 IEEE Day celebration as a social gathering of IEEE family and friends bonding over a bowling tournament. In 2020, the WiE-YP teams transformed this experience into a week-long virtual family day celebration with social, tech, and professional activities. Perhaps we will have a hybrid one this year!
Please discuss other extracurricular achievements outside IEEE
Besides being an IEEE volunteer, I’m a proud President’s Girl Scout (Guide) and a Duke of Edinburgh awardee (also known in India as the International Award for Young People). Always eager to mentor and ‘pay it forward’, I also volunteer as a circle leader in the Lean In Singapore network. I cherish each of these as they bring together an assortment of rich experiences.
Connect with Aishwarya: LinkedIn | Email