Category Archives: R6

Mentoring for IEEE Students – Call for Mentors

MentorNet Powerof2

IEEE Region 6 is partnering with MentorNet to help students pursuing degrees in IEEE to connect with professionals who understand the workplace. MentorNet is an open social network for mentoring that connects STEM students, from freshman year through doctoral levels, with mentors working in a variety of STEM fields. Mentees attend U.S. colleges and universities.  After we “stock up” on IEEE mentors we will invite IEEE students to join and Mentornet will connect them to a mentor who then accepts them and they commit to participate in mentoring over a 4-month period.

Step 1: Join.  IEEE members can now complete your profile at MentorNet or Special for AESS Mentoring – Include Aerospace in your technical interests. In answer to the question “Are you affiliated with any of MentorNet’s partner organizations?” select IEEE Region 6. You will need to complete a 1 hour online training.


IEEE Rising Stars Conference in Vegas January 2-4 – Register by December 4


Come to connect and be inspired. Rising Stars brings together the most promising students and young professionals to learn from each others and the top tech companies from around the world. IEEE Rising Stars is at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas January 2-4.

The program of technology celebrities will be sharing knowledge on both next-generation technology and next-level professional development.  Sessions include:

• The Next Big ThingsrisingstarsBWlogo
• Ninja Polymers
• Disruptive Solutions
• Rocket Boosters
• Career Growth for Young Professionals
• Startup to Starting Up
• Software Emersion
• Cybersecurity
• Lightening Presentations
• Maximizing Soft Skills Value
• Pitch Workshop
• Global Integrated Sensors
• 3D Printing in Space

The first event begins at 3 pm on January 2. The complete program is available at Rising Stars Conference Program

Rising Stars is held in conjunction with Storage Visions, a 1000-attendee event on rapidly evolving digital storage technology. Registration for the Storage Visions reception at only $50/person with Rising Stars registration provides exhibits entrance to the over 3,600 exhibitors unveiling the latest in consumer technology at CES 2016.


IEEE Student Members can get the $199 rate (and IEEE Members the $349 rate) through December 4 only. Rates rise midnight December 4. Register at: Rising Stars Conference Registration

Excalibur_Exterior_23450_low-300x197Special low Excalibur Hotel rates are available only through the conference. Discounted rooms can and will sell out. They are available only through December 16, priced from $41 plus resort fee ($15) plus taxes, with $20 per person per night for third and fourth person. Excalibur Hotel IEEE Reservation

IEEE Region 6 – Getting in Shape

IEEE Region 6 Executive Committee met in San Francisco on November 14.  We made plans for and around 2016 conferences, events, and meetings that will lead off with IEEE Rising Stars in Las Vegas on January 2.  While we agreed on being cool and creative as one of the goals for Region 6, we also agreed on a new logo. The horizontal version is below and there’s a square-er one that shows off the 6. Both logos are seen at the IEEERegion 6 website.logo - horizontal 4

IEEE Region 6 Area Meetings in October…San Jose on October 3, Las Vegas on October 17, and Los Angeles on October 24

There are 3 IEEE Region 6 Area Meetings this fall:

October 3 brings together the R6 Northwest and Central Areas for their first joint meeting in in San Jose, CA, for a meeting of section leaders and student branches from 7 states: Alaska, Washington, Northern Idaho, Oregon, Northern Nevada, Hawaii, and Northern California.  Central-Northwest.

October 17 brings together the R6 Southwest and Northeast Areas for their first joint meeting in Las Vegas, NV for a meeting of section leaders and student branches from 7 states including New Mexico, Arizona, San Diego (California), Las Vegas (Nevada), Idaho, Montana, and Utah.  NorthEast-Southwest.

October 24 is the Southern Area Meeting in Los Angeles, CA.  Southern Area includes California sections in Los Angeles and surrounding counties from the Central Coast and Ventura to Riverside County.


Minnesota Meets Hawaii at First Joint Region Opcom – January 23-25

In January, leaders across two regions worked together on a variety of issues of interest to members.  The first-ever joint meeting brought out new President-Elect Barry Shoop and both 2016 IEEE president-elect candidates, both IEEE-USA president-elect candidates, along with leadership from across 17 states.  Outcomes and presentations are available at

Thanks to the creativity and showmanship of Region 6 Director Tom Coughlin, leaders of both regions are now sporting one of two IEEE Region 6 Hawaiian shirts — In the picture below, everyone is wearing an IEEE shirt: Region 6 Past Director Mike Andrews is seen sporting one IEEE R6 Hawaiian shirt and San Diego Section Chair Upkar Dhaliwal is wearing the other in this picture showing the UCSD student branch award.


UCSD IEEE Student Branch wins Region award



Rising Stars starts January 3 – Especially for Young Professionals and Students


On October 25 at South(ern) by Southwest (our first joint Region 6 Southern Area and Southwest Area meeting),  the big news was the upcoming 2015 RISING STARS CONFERENCE – Where Students and Young Professionals Come to Connect and be Inspired.  IEEE Region 6’s Rising Stars Conference is a partner event to the Storage Visions Conference, which is not an IEEE conference. Rising Stars Conference atendees can attend the reception at the Storage Visions Conference starting at 6 PM on Monday January 5, 2015 in the Riviera Hotel Convention Center and can add on for an exhibits only pass to the Consumer Electronics Show.  Many IEEE student branches have this show as an annual fun event, but now they can combine it with Rising Stars.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

vtoolsThe single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”(George Bernard Shaw)  Since nearly every core IEEE activity has communication as both its means and its end, this “single biggest problem” is one that directly impacts our members.

For IEEE sections, it’s all about the meeting.  We measure the success our sections, chapters, areas, and regions by meetings, by how many attendees there were at the meeting, and by what happened at the meeting.   Workshop, conference, congress, are just names we use to indicate that the meeting is important or special or big.  For section after section, chapter after chapter,  the three most important activities are meetings, meetings, and meetings.  Successful meetings, though, require more than a great speaker to lead the communication. Meetings also need communication before and after: announcements, attendee registration and tracking, and reporting.  vTools tackles these major needs of virtually all our meetings.

My own section has not been a big user of vTools, but I undertook to incorporate them into my meetings for four separate meetings held this year.  In January, I tried to host a local IEEE meeting where a colleague and I would provide a tutorial on Kalman filtering but the communication that this meeting was planned didn’t happen you can’t have a successful meeting if no one knows to show up.  That’s what happened back in January and why we did host a very successful tutorial, but it was held in February. We didn’t quite suffer from this “single biggest problem” because we knew communication had not taken place.  I was inspired from this failure on my vTools journey.  For this next meeting, I used vTools.meetings to create the meeting announcement and registration page and then used vTools.enotice to notify members.  Since it was my first experience with it, I didn’t use it to allow registrants to pay for the tutorial via vTools, telling them to bring a check, and I extended the notice to the 2000 additional people who are on the section list by working with my local section for a second email notice using that list (this would cause members to get two emails, by the way.)  but even that email used the vTools meeting announcement as a weblink so they could register.  This wasn’t just successful, we were a little too successful and registration filled up in less than 24 hours and we had to change to the largest room and still we turned away more than we could add.

After this success, I used vTools again on 3 more meetings, every time I didn’t just fill up, I became full and then started getting requests to increase capacity or just find room for more.  This is a great problem to have (although rather scary on the evening of the event).    Even my most recent meeting where the notice only went out on Monday for a Wednesday speaker, we had more attendees than chairs.

In the midst of this, I contacted John Prohodsky, vTools committee member for our region and found him to be a valuable resource.  He even agreed to attend our next section executive committee meeting  where I would be presenting on this and he would be with us, just on the line.  His expertise in what the tools can and cannot do and what improvements are planned and how soon was invaluable. The section leaders were passionate that meeting notices must go to the nearly 2000 interested parties who aren’t on the current member roster. The discussion was lengthy and brought the genuine concern our leaders have that everyone we think wants to know about  our meetings should be notified quickly and not limited to only society members for a chapter meeting  or only the paid-up IEEE members.  The coolest part was the enthusiasm those present had with finding solutions and a willingness to embrace change that started immediately to promote vTools as part of the process for our meetings.


R6 Southern Area: “The Future is on the S-Curve” – Los Angeles on May 3

I was honored to participate in my fifth Region 6 area meeting this year, led by R6 Southern Area Chair, Doug Askegard and hosted by UCLA.  At five area meetings, I have now completed the circuit of the Western USA Region.

I have to give this meeting the public relations nod, as they did an impressive press release IEEE Region 6 Southern Area Meeting Gathers IEEE Student … and had several good cameras in play taking photos.  May 3 was not even over before the story of our day were released in photos under the title “Happy Group

The keynote, given by futurist Nathalie Gosset, was a revelation to me.  She was able to demonstrate how she applies the S-Curve approach to identifying and targeting major trends in technology.  While her tips about where to target the curve were important, I was particularly taken with her ideas about the ubiquitousness of such trends and her confidence in our ability to learn to strategically identify these.

It was delightful to meet Judith Love Cohen and her artist/illustrator husband, David Katz.  Ms. Cohen,  successful aerospace engineer with BSEE  (’57) and MSEE (’62) from USC, was being awarded by IEEE-USA for her series of books You Could Be a Woman… that started with You Could Be a Woman Engineer and their successful efforts proselytizing engineering through a Girl Scout merit badge in Aero Engineering.

Kathleen Kramer | Candidate for IEEE R6 Director-Elect


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

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

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 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.