Author Archives: kramer@ieeeR6

“The Cloud Meets the Bluetooth Smart” – Standing room only on April 30

It wasn’t easy but we managed to arrange a truly last minute Distinguished Lecture engagement for Joe Decuir.  (Sincere thanks to several folks for their graciousness on Monday and Tuesday as we worked to plan a talk for Wednesday.)  The University of San Diego Student Branch stepped up and became co-sponsors as well.

I was aiming for 15 attendees, even though it’s a great topic, given the last minute notice and the meeting conflicts.  Having well over twice that number of members to find seats for was a great problem to have.

It was clearly a topic of great interest and impressive how many current developers were there to get the inside scoop from speaker Joe Decuir whose known both for his industry achievements and his leadership on the standards.  Thank you, Joe, for a valuable contribution.

On the IEEE-AESS side, there was a Linkedin post just this morning on how all this is relevant to AESS.  (I had thought we were staying a little far from core topics in the name of bringing a great talk in, but now I can say Consumer Electronics has met AESS here.

R6 Northwest Area: “We’re the ones that do the magic.” – Seattle on April 26

Last weekend brought me to Seattle.  The voice of the northwest area: students, students, students.  Most of the candidate questions focused on how to draw students in to the transition from student member to member and how to draw pre-college students into the pipeline.

There’s no lack of interest in students – and truly no lack of member volunteers willing to work with students. There have been hackathons and app competitions that have been very effective and shown tremendous new vitality.  Programs that successfully combine hardware and design — a necessary element for electrical and computer projects – have lagged, though, and gotten stale.  One of the IEEE leaders at the meeting explained it very well –” we’re the ones that do the magic.” Outreach activities have been a commendable focus of effort but the quantity and quality of electrical and computer related activities is an area that needs more development. Civil engineering outreach has the popsicle-stick bridges – no magic, but great for a 1-hour hands-on outreach experience, down to pre-middle-school. Anyone have a magic bridge bridge to share?

Two other topics from this meeting I am saving for later posts: electronic communication and a distinguished lecture on “The Cloud Meets the Bluetooth Smart”.

Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect

IEEE-HKN Initiation on April 24

My IEEE involvement this week included an IEEE honor society initiation.  Most IEEE members don’t realize it, but Eta Kappa Nu, the electrical engineering honor society, is now IEEE-HKN.  The honor society, founded in 1904, officially became part of IEEE in 2011.  The vast majority of IEEE-HKN members join as undergraduates in electrical or computer engineering who are in the upper 1/4 of their junior class or upper 1/5 of their senior class.    A good way to recognize alumni and to strengthen ties with between students and the IEEE membership is for the chapter to induct these professionals into IEEE-HKN. There was no chapter at my own undergraduate institution, so I never had that opportunity back when I was a student.  I was inducted later as a professional and am proud to be part of this organization.

There are very few IEEE members of the section who cold-call the student branches looking for ways to give support (although I can note some esteemed exceptions) but my experience is that a high proportion of section members will say yes to opportunities to involve themselves and support the students.  One of my IEEE colleagues, Larry Hamerman, often points out that there are limits on everything EXCEPT how much the section can spend to support to students. IEEE-HKN can be a vehicle not just for recognition of good students but for recognition of members in a way that strengthens ties with the local section.

R6 Central Area Meeting: Focusing on Students – Berkeley on April 19

My big challenge was getting to this meeting after unexpected construction impeded getting through LAX the night before pushing me into a Saturday arrival at UC Berkeley for the Central Area meeting.  This meeting had by far the most students of any of the meetings so far.  The host student branch, UC Berkeley can boast 50 officers and an effective division of efforts into different types of activities.   The meeting also included a design competition — the only area meeting I have attended so far that did — and I was able to participate as a judge.  Kudos to Mostafa Mortezaie for his leadership in organizing the meeting and his work to ensure a fair competition that recognized and encouraged the design achievements of the students.

Ramesh and I were happy to be present together for the candidate presentations.  I was expecting the students to be at the soon-to-be-held micro mouse competition, but I would say that the students were often the focus of the session. One question was from a smaller student branch that lacks the wealth of surrounding industry, asking about how they could get more industry interaction.  Another student asked about leadership training and how to help student branches avoid the struggles they had experienced due to having to start fresh with a full slate of new officers.  These questions dovetailed well with the discussion earlier in the day when the student branches each gave their reports.  It was interesting also  that earlier in the day students were asked whether it would be bette for them to meet on the web, avoiding the travel, and not one student present expressed agreement with this idea, seeing the web as an option only for follow up.  The area meetings are intended to and do help students with issues like leadership training, but the lessons to be learned from the successful programs of individual branches often are not gathered in a form that would best help showcase them and motivate imitations that would spread the IEEE success.

Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect


R6 Northeast Area Meeting – Salt Lake City on April 12

April 12 brought the second official “campaign” stop at the Northeast Area meeting in Salt Lake City. I changed my presentation so that I talked about the region first — this puts first things first but I am in a new area and some folks really don’t already know me…to solve this I will have to point to this very webpage. Ramesh and I each had to answer three questions: one on insurance, one on transitioning student members, and one on running meetings well. Answering each of these as well as they deserve requires their own blog posts.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the award program (kudos to Jennifer Hershman) and actual HKN (pardon me, that’s IEEE-HKN now) initiation of the Northeast Area Chair, Dan Christenson by IEEE-HKN President-Elect Evelyn Hirsch. The meeting also had results – every section leader present agreed that it would be helpful to have monthly phone meetings (not web, given the ongoing technology issues) because of their common interests and ability to help each other.

Coming soon:  If it’s Friday, I must be flying somewhere.  Ramesh and I are off to UC Berkeley for the Central Area meeting on April 19.

Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect

Meeting on Radar Systems – High Interest on April 9

I hosted a meeting on Radar Systems with Stephen Pendergast to an overly full house under the auspices of the San Diego Chapter of AESS that I chair. Stephen has 45-years of radar experience and is a life member of IEEE — I noticed he was teaching a continuing education course on this and arm-twisted him into presenting to our IEEE members. I used e-notice (a tool available to all IEEE volunteers across the world) to publicize and we filled up. I expanded the capacity. We filled up. I expanded the capacity. We filled up again. (repeat two more times).

So. once again– it was a “sell out” (it’s perhaps wrong to say sell out when it’s free to members and we only got $10 in revenue).

It was very satisfying to note how happy our audience was with the meeting. It did make me wonder, though, because in this group of 50, I was the only woman engineer in attendance.

Is it the topic? Is it the type of notice?

Thanks very much to Stephen for letting me distribute his slides and for agreeing to be a pilot test for a system we’re developing in San Diego to have videos of meetings.

R6 Southwest Area- Prescott on March 28

First “Campaign Event” of the R6 Director-Elect election was to be held at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ.  My admired friend Dean SK Ramesh was barred from travel due to a short severe illness.  In the interest of fairness, no campaigning occurred but I did get to introduce myself and to say a few nice words about Region 6 and  Dean Ramesh.  At the Northeast Area meeting coming up on April 12, we will both be presenting.

Thanks to our R6 officers for posting some great pictures from this meeting. You can see these at:

Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect

AESS on Satellite Communications – March 25

On Tuesday, March 25, I hosted a meeting  featuring Dr. Roy Axford of SPAWAR Systems Center with is talk on “Satellite Communications and the US Navy”. Once again, we had to turn away many interested IEEE members as we just didn’t have enough room for everyone who wished to attend.  Some of you decided to come even though you were warned it was full, so we were a little too tight for comfort. Dr. Axford was gracious enough to agree to come back again later in the year and he had gotten permission to distribute the slides, so just write me to ask.

Expanding Your Horizons – March 1

The first Saturday in March brought over 300 girls ages 11-14 for a day of hands on science and engineering.  Co-chairs Liz Ferguson and Dr. Sue Lowery led a very successful event.   I am involved in the organization of this annually and provided support for the parallel program we hold for parents that helps them become aware of the opportunities for their daughters and how to best support them into college.  While the event is held at the University of San Diego, it’s truly a county-wide activity supported by a broad cross-section of STEM.  I was pleased to meet up with my SHPE friends to make (secret for now) plans.

National Engineers Week – San Diego Banquet on Feb 28

Dr. Gerald Gerace of IEEE was the NEW San Diego General Chair and host of the NEW Banquet held at the University of San Diego.  An event not-to-be-missed.  It brought together members from engineering societies in the county.  IEEE San Diego Section made a meeting of it.   The keynote speaker was Dr. Todd Coleman of UCSD  on “Smart Skin Sensors and Analytics in the Cloud to Advance the Frontiers of Wearable Health”  and I give him kudos for being both informative and accessible. Eye opening topic.


IEEE AESS Tutorial – February 22

Dr. Stephen Stubberud and I presented a 6 hour tutorial “An Introduction to Kalman Filters” for the IEEE San Diego AESS Chapter.  This event was sold out almost immediately and we moved venues to increase capacity but still had to turn away too many.  We have saved an overflow list and will give them first priority for a re-do later in the year.

IEEE San Diego Section – January 17

The IEEE San Diego Section celebrated its 75th birthday at its annual banquet at the University of San Diego’s La Gran Terraza.   The section was founded January 18, 1939— before IEEE was named IEEE. It was a fun and informative event — I dashed over from my simultaneous meeting with the IEEE Committee on Engineering Accreditation Activities that was being held that same day in San Diego.  At the banquet,  2014 IEEE-USA President Gary Blank spoke on the history and benefits of IEEE. We didn’t have a San Diego cake, but IEEE itself was founded as the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1884.  There was also a great talk on the Digital Brain Library Project, but I wasn’t lucky enough to get to stay for that.

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