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2020 IEEE Rising Stars Conference: Inspiring and Empowering Students and Young Professionals

By Anis Ben Arfi and Mansi Tripathi

For the sixth year in a row, more than 370 students and young professionals, hailing from all 10 IEEE Regions, kicked off their New Year with the 2020 IEEE Rising Stars Conference. The conference was held at Tropicana Las Vegas, Nevl, on 3-5 January 2020. IEEE Region 6 hosts this annual conference with a primary goal of inspiring and empowering IEEE’s future leaders.

A diverse group of attendees gathered at the conference to share ideas, build new relationships, find mentors, and plan their careers. The program was divided into technical skills and professional development to provide the attendees with a holistic approach to their careers.

The program consisted mainly of 20 breakout sessions taking place in four rooms, in parallel, for 45-minutes each. The content of the sessions focused on current technology, personal development, or essential career-building tools. Live streaming of the panel discussions and keynote speakers was made available by for everyone.

The conference technical program consisted of an exploration of the most recent technological trends, including: life-altering 5G technology, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Space industry, Autonomous Driving and much more. Rising Stars’ stellar speakers and panelists addressed these topics and provided insights about the future of these technologies.

Moreover, the conference’s professional development track focused on early-stage career and professional life issues, such as: what to expect in job interviews; how to switch jobs; how to negotiate a salary with an employer; how to startup a company; how to evolve in the ever-changing job environment, and jobs of the future. Attendees also learned about IEEE’s continuing education offerings, such as the IEEE Learning Network, the newly launched platform from IEEE Educational Activities.

The sense of community was omnipresent, especially during the humanitarian technology workshop. Moreover, all the attendees enjoyed the industry mixer event, and our survey showed that an attendee of Rising Stars conference makes an average of 11 new connections during the conference!

One of the highlights of the Rising Stars 2020 conference was the Zombie Apocalypse workshop. The workshop room was full of students interested in learning about HamRadio and its applications. Among the 105 zombie apocalypse workshop participants, 32 participants sat for the free HamRadio licensing exam.

The conference ended with a panel discussion on the Next Big Thing, where panelists discussed the future in their interest areas – the world of virtual reality, large strides towards autonomous cars, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence.

A special thank you goes to our sponsors: IEEE Educational Activities, IEEE Humanitarian Activities Committee, IEEE GRSS, IEEE Young Professionals, IEEE-USA, HP, Northrop Grumman, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Bentley Systems, IEEE Young Professionals, On Semiconductor, Mercer, Locomation, Micron, Amazon web services, and IEEE MTT-S, IEEE PES, IEEE ComSoc, Mouser, IEEE MadC, IEEE Computer Society, IEEE LMAG, and IEEE AESS. Special thanks and appreciation to the 36 speakers, who enlightened the audience on technological innovation and professional development.

The IEEE Rising Stars Conference has ignited the ambition and motivation of its attendees — to innovate — and advance technology for humanity. With 96% of the attendees recommending the Rising Stars Conference to their peers, as well as rating the conference a success, goals are set for 2021. The 2021 Rising Stars Conference will continue with the current success — and is set to achieve new records in the program, participation, and satisfaction.

Let us inspire you and the future generations next year. We hope to see you at the 2021 IEEE Rising Stars Conference!

Anis Ben Arfi has been involved in IEEE Rising Stars Conference organization since 2016. He found his passion volunteering with the conference team. In 2020, he served as the general chair for IEEE Rising Stars Conference. Currently, he volunteers with IEEE Ottawa Section, and he chairs the IEEE Canada Humanitarian Initiatives Committee.

Mansi Tripathi is currently pursuing Master’s in Computer Science at University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She graduated as a computer science engineer from Indira Gandhi Technical University for Women (all women colleges) in 2016. After which she went on to work as Software Engineer at Microsoft, Hyderabad for 2 years. She has also been awarded the IEEE Richard E Merwin Scholarship in 2015 to recognize and reward her for volunteering in student branches and for her academic and professional efforts.


Guest Contributor

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE), created in 1973 to support the career and public policy interests of IEEE’s U.S. members. IEEE-USA is primarily supported by an annual assessment paid by U.S. IEEE Members.

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