Dr Anna Zakrzewska, a Senior Principal Engineer at Dell Technologies and recipient of the IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award, shared her experiences and insights into the world of STEM. Anna emphasized the importance of mentorship, peer-to-peer learning, and community involvement in professional growth. She also highlighted the significance of diversity and inclusivity in the field of STEM. Anna's patented cell ID allocation technique and Wi-Fi channel selection method have been widely adopted by major telecom operators worldwide, improving connectivity and quality of experience for millions of users.
We recently had a conversation with Dr Anna Zakrzewska who is the recipient of the IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award and a Senior Member of IEEE. In our discussion, Anna shared her experiences and insights into the world of STEM, providing valuable information about her work, research, and outreach activities.
As a Senior Principal Engineer at Dell Technologies in Dublin, Anna leads the company’s standardization efforts in O-RAN Alliance Workgroup 6 (Cloudification and Orchestration) and Workgroup 10 (OAM) and contributes to network management solutions and projects with external partners. In her previous role, Anna worked as a Research Scientist at Nokia Bell Labs (formerly Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs) in Ireland and has research experience from NTT Communication Science Laboratories as a Vulcanus in Japan scholar and Joint Research Centre in Italy. Her expertise lies in wireless communications, systems engineering, and network management, and she holds several patents in those domains.
Anna is also a STEM ambassador and volunteers much of her time for outreach activities. She focuses her efforts mainly on encouraging and promoting STEM education among students at the primary and secondary levels, both in Ireland and internationally. For example, she has participated in events such as BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, Technovation, and Dell STEM Aspire program.
During our conversation, Anna emphasized the importance of mentorship and community involvement in professional growth. She recounted that her IEEE experiences have played a major role in shaping her career. Anna highlighted the value of role models and mentors in the field of STEM and underscored the importance of peer-to-peer learning, noting that young professionals can learn from each other and gain a more well-rounded understanding of their field.
Anna advised young professionals to identify the right problem to solve- one that can potentially have a great impact, and consequently not to kill their ideas due to fear of failure but be open for it to grow. She discussed the importance of highlighting one’s own contributions and working towards commercializing them to bring technology to market.
Anna’s patented cell ID allocation technique brought differentiating features to Motive Small Cell Optimization Engine. It is compliant with multiple radio access network technologies and applicable to multi-vendor small cell deployments. This universal centralized method significantly lowers the number of conflicting assignments, and consequently lowers the interference and call drop probability. Another successful tech transfer includes a Wi-Fi channel selection method maximizing channel bonding opportunities, thus enabling the use of wider bandwidths and resulting in higher throughput. These solutions have been commercialised and widely adopted by major telecom operators worldwide (including AT&T and T-Mobile among others), improving connectivity and quality of experience for millions of users.
Additionally, Anna stressed the significance of diversity and inclusivity in the field of STEM, noting the importance of empowering everyone, regardless of their background. This is particularly important for underrepresented groups, who often face unique challenges and barriers to entry in the field of STEM. She also highlighted that IEEE could serve as a potential engineering resource from research through innovation to volunteering for equity at work.
Anna’s conversation with us provided valuable insights into the world of STEM, her outreach, and its impact on society.
We express our gratitude to the IEEE Awards Committee, specifically Keyana Tennant (Head of Awards Partnerships and Engagement) and Maybeth Denike (Director, IEEE Awards Activities), for organizing the Meet and Greet session with Dr. Anna Zakrzewska. Hasala Dharmawardena (Chair, IEEE YP), Noor E Karishma Shaik (Editor-in-Chief, IEEE YP) and Evan Straley (Program Manager, IEEE YP) partcipated on behalf of IEEE Young Professionals team in this session.
We also recommend our readers to explore at IEEE Young Professional initiatives like Micro-mentoring and Volunteering that provide a platform to contribute and participate in various aspects of their field. This not only enhances their knowledge but also provides them with the opportunity to give back to the community.
Article Contribution: Noor E Karishma Shaik (Editor-in-Chief, IEEE YP) is currently working as Academic Researcher at University of Melbourne.