IEEE WIE student affinity group of University of Moratuwa, the first ever WIE affinity group established in Sri Lanka, is one of the most remarkable WIE affinity groups with an excellent vision in our country. The intention of the group is to empower and inspire the female undergraduates in the Faculties of Engineering and Information Technology; not only to be accomplished professionals, but also to be a great citizens. We strive for the promotion and betterment of Women Engineers and increase the interest, awareness and involvement of young females in technical disciplines.
There are more than 50 passionate female undergraduates currently working in our affinity group and one of our former chairpersons, Miss Sachinthana Pathirana, is currently working as the Assistant Secretary at IEEE WIE Sri Lanka Section. Prof. (Mrs.) Dileeka Dias is the adviser of our group.
The year 2016/17 was one of the most precious years to our group due to some special events which enhanced networking in WIE and those were a great opportunity to the enthusiastic female undergraduates in our university to uplift their leadership roles and career advancement while “advancing technology for humanity”.
“BUILD A ROBOT” Robotics Workshop & Competition
Robotics has been a developing trend in the 21st century and a remarkable growth of interest for this field is seen around the world. Women In Engineering (WIE), a significant chapter of IEEE decided to enhance the interest and the knowledge on robotics of university students, focusing more on girls.
As the initial step of a long journey, WIE planned to conduct a workshop followed by a robotics competition designed exclusively for girls. With the guidance of Dr.Peshala Jayasekara, a senior lecturer of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, the enthusiastic members of the WIE organized a robotics workshop on 14th of August 2016 for the beginners. Although the event was organized by WIE and focussed more on girls, the workshop organizers decided to gladly welcome anyone with a passion for robotics: both girls and boys from all the universities of Sri Lanka.
Dr. Peshala Jayasekara began the workshop with an interactive session to create an interest in the field of robotics. After that he lucidly gave a practical insight into the hardware design and programming of a simple line following robot and also explained the importance of line following robots.
“Build A Robot” robotics competition was successfully held on 24th September 2016 with the participation of many enthusiastic young women. The purpose of creating such an event was to encourage the university girls who were beginners to the technical field of robotics.
Thirteen teams participated in the contest with their autonomous robots which were built and programmed from the scratch after the knowledge they had gained from the Robotics workshop held prior to the competition. The task of the robot was to follow a white line designed on a black background while starting manually at the starting point and stopping automatically at the end point.
The competition consisted of 2 rounds and under the supervision of the well experienced panel of judges: Prof. (Mrs.) Dileeka Dias who is the Dean of Faculty of Graduate Studies at University of Moratuwa, and Dr.Peshala Jayasekara, a senior lecturer of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, the five best robots were advanced to the second round of the contest.
The most special feature about the competition was that the majority of the young ladies who took part in the contest had designed and built a robot for the first time in their lives. Because of that, the competition can be considered as a key step and the very first learning experience towards the future of greater technologies. As young ladies in the field of engineering, the enthusiasm they gained through this massive experience is immeasurable.
Millennium IT and IronOne Technologies were the Gold and Silver partners of the event respectively. So, “Build A Robot” made a milestone in our WIE history and we take this moment to thank everyone who helped us to make this event successful.
Inspiring evening with Dr. Jeewika Ranaweera
Dr. Jeewika Ranaweera is the one and only female Sri Lankan technologist to get featured in the WOMEN IN ENGINEERING e-book series, MY THREE JOURNEYS and is currently working as a principal hardware engineer at Oracle (Sillicon Valley).
Members of WIE in University of Moratuwa were lucky enough to have an interactive session with her on 19th of May 2016 and that was a rare chance to female undergraduates to learn about her experiences. The main goal of this session was inspiring young girls to become successful engineers not only in technical landscape but also in the society while improving their contribution to humanity as women.
“Imagine having both the passion to make a difference in this world, and the technical knowledge to achieve it. To me, that’s what engineering is all about.” -Dr. Jeewika Ranaweera-
WIE Awareness session was the initial event organized by the newly appointed committee in 2016 on 25th of May 2016 under the theme “Break the Stereotype... Discover your true potential...” to create awareness about IEEE Women In Engineering Student Affinity Group, UoM, among the female undergraduates in junior batches in the Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Information Technology
Presence of Ashanthi Maxworth, Affiliate Faculty Member at Metropolitan State University of Denver and Graduate Instructor at University of Colorado Denver, made the session momentous while Prof. (Mrs.) Dileeka Dias, Dean in Faculty of Graduate Studies at University of Moratuwa, and Ms. Nadee Senevirathne, a former chairperson of WIE University of Moratuwa, were also with us to add more colour to the session.
All the participants got opportunity to be aware about the experiences those eminent ladies had with WIE and those were a great help to make an impression about WIE among participants. So the awareness session provided valuable guidance to participants not only to know about IEEE and WIE, but also to know how to be a precious and a great citizen as a woman in our country and what we should do for our society as a woman.
The members of the WIE affinity group gathered at Mother Theresa Children’s home, Moratuwa, on 14th November 2015 for the annual charity project.Under the guidance of our chairperson, Sachinthana Pathirana, and the two project co-chairs, Christine Bhagya and Gayathree Kaluarachchi, we gathered funds to buy necessities and gifts while investing our creative energy to think of entertainment events.
Yet, when we met our little friends for the very first time, we were stunned for a moment. It made us realize our duty towards the society while “advancing technology for humanity” as the IEEE tagline says.The little ones turned out to be just like our younger siblings. We bonded with each other through painting, singing, stories, and games. As the time of departure came close, we felt reluctant to leave the little ones. We left with the assurance that we had made a difference; and that we can do much more.
IGNITE 2015- “Breach the gap between industry and academia”
The mentoring series organized by the WIE affinity group of University of Moratuwa with the intention of breaching the gap between the industry and the academia, was successfully commenced with its initial session on 20th August 2015. The session was graced by the CEO and owner of IronOne Technologies, Ms. Lakmini Wijesundera as the speaker of the event. Also Professor Dileeka Dias, the mentor of WIE Affinity Group University of Moratuwa, was present to witness the session. The session took place at the conference room of the Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering and many girl undergraduates from different departments and different levels of study, were present to seek for guidance from Ms. Wijesundera.
Ms Wijesundera shared her life story with the girls through an interactive presentation and talked to them about how she became an entrepreneur rather than just being a lady engineer. She also related to her own experiences regarding the obstacles and barriers she had to face over the years, throughout her path to starting her own tech company. The story of how she overcome those obstacles was indeed inspiring.
After the presentation was concluded, the girls present were given the chance to ask questions from Ms. Wijesundera where most of them took the liberty to seek her advice and guidance regarding their burning issues and doubts. Ms. Wijesundera further advised the girls to never think less of themselves compared to male engineers in the field and also added that anything the boys can do in tech field, girls can as well, if only they have the will power.
WIE Awareness session was the first event organized by the newly appointed committee in 2015 with the aim of introducing IEEE Women In Engineering Student Affinity Group, UOM to the female undergraduates in junior batches in the Faculties of Engineering and Information Technology with the invitation “JOIN HANDS TO LEAD THE WORLD ON HEALS WITH THE FIRST EVER WIE AFFINITY GROUP IN SRI LANKA”.
All the participants got the chance to be aware of what WIE is and what are the benefits they can get by joining to WIE. And also the audience was made aware about the last year activities carried out by the WIE Student Affinity Group and upcoming events in 2015.
Miss Nadee Seneviratne, one of the Past Chair Persons of IEEE WIE Affinity Group and who won a travel grant to attend the "IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference" in San Jose, CA addressed the gathering and shared her experiences with WIE.
- Chair Person – Nipuni Ginige
- Secretary – Sharadhi Gunathilake
- Treasurer – Madeesha Fernando
- Vice Chair Person - Nipuni Bhagya
- Co-organizing directors – Thisuri Shanika & Rochelle Silva