Connecting Through Conferences

From participation in student activities to organizing and beyond

The last few months have been exciting times for IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) student members across the world, and we are all set to carry forward the momentum into the IEEE EMBS International Conference (EMBC) 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The EMBS Student, Young Professional, and Women in Engineering representatives have put together a compact, exciting program for the annual international conference and are looking forward to your participation [1]. The student members, on the other hand, have shown immense initiative in producing local flagship events of awe-inspiring proportions complimenting the formers’ efforts. In this issue of IEEE Pulse, the “Student’s Corner” column will give you a sneak preview of the student events planned for EMBC 2014 and also highlight some successful recent student programs across the globe.

Student Activities

The student activities program at the annual conference has always been one of the cornerstones of the student engagements of the EMBS [2]. This year, as with every year at EMBC, we have a full palette of engaging sessions for students and young professionals. Presenting one’s work and publishing it in peer-reviewed journals are undoubtedly two of the most important tasks in the career of an academician. A student who aims to rise up the academic or corporate ladder and showcases his/her research to a bigger audience needs a certain level of basic training to communicate science effectively. To provide guidance to our student members and conference attendees, we are organizing workshops on 1) Effective Presentation Design and Delivery and 2) Writing for Publication in Biomedical Engineering. For the younger students, the workshops can give a head start; and for more seasoned presenters, it offers that little bit of extra information to keep you ahead of the curve.

Another important constituent of the student program is the Student Paper Contest (SPC), which is probably one of the most keenly desired global awards for biomedical engineering student researchers. The SPC not only provides a platform where the best minds of today meet and reward the best minds of tomorrow but it also offers a bird’s-eye view of the future of BME and its blossoming talent. There are no registration fees for undergraduate EMBS student members, so what are you waiting for? Be a part of the community early and shape your future as a biomedical innovator.

If you are on your way to completing your degree and looking for that elusive first job in academia or industry, we have several sessions planned for you too. First is “Applying for, Negotiating, and Embracing Your First BME Position: Academia, Private Sector, and Government,’’ which will put together tips for your CV, preparing your portfolio, and getting ready for an interview. Next, we offer “Career Advice: Short Term, Long Term, and Everything In Between.”in this session, we assemble a panel of diverse and prestigious speakers to provide their insight on the job market today, with representation from academia, the private sector, government, and regulators/funders. No matter where you are in your career, the sessions will surely help you make the next big decision.

Finally, do not miss out on the opportunities to network with professors and academicians, industry representatives, and your peer groups. The lunch with leaders offers students an opportunity to sit down with your favorite leaders in BME and have an engaging discussion. For the aspiring young minds who are eager to volunteer and take the next step, you are invited to the “Student Chapter/Club Development—Meet and Become Leaders” session. It brings together some of the successful student leaders whose leadership has made their university and Chapter proud—we share the insights behind their success, the best practices they developed, and the future roadmap they drew. Hopefully, it will help the member volunteers pick up the key ingredients and inspirations to achieve their self-defined goals and change the world a little at a time.

Last but not least, the Student and Young Professional Networking Reception offers you a chance to mix and mingle with students across the world and share your stories while exploring new opportunities. On behalf of the Student Activities Team, I cordially invite you to be part of EMBC 2014 and share the future of BME together.

Next, I would like to share a few of the excellent events our student volunteers organized over the last few months. These activities not only take the student community ahead but inspire a new breed of BME innovators for our future.

(a) IEEE Techsym 2014, IIT Kharagpur, India, and (b) IEEE TecSym Satellite Conference, VIT Vellore, India. These conferences were organized by the students for the students with support from the respective IEEE EMBS Student Chapter/Club and the IEEE Student Branches.

(a) IEEE Techsym 2014, IIT Kharagpur, India, and (b) IEEE TecSym Satellite Conference, VIT Vellore, India. These conferences were organized by the students for the students with support from the respective IEEE EMBS Student Chapter/Club and the IEEE Student Branches.

IEEE TechSym 2014 – Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India

IEEE TechSym 2014, the third edition of the student conference that started in 2010, was held at the lush green campus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India, 28 February–2 March 2014. The event was more than just a technical festival or a student paper contest. It was attended by more than 150 students, faculty, industry professionals, and school students, with a peer-inspired celebration of technological advancement for two days at India’s most coveted Tech Gurukul. The symposium received a total of 410 submissions to eight regular tracks. A total of 35 area chairs, along with 818 reviewers worldwide, participated in the review process. Finally, 40 papers were selected for oral presentation with an acceptance rate of 9.7%, and 56 papers were selected for poster session with an acceptance rate of 23.4%. TechSym 2014 had three keynote and plenary sessions each spread over the three days of the symposium. A total of 91 participants registered to attend the symposium with 81 outstation participants coming to IIT Kharagpur over the three days of the symposium. The symposium had attendees from undergraduate and postgraduate programs throughout India and also saw presentations from industry professionals.

IEEE TechSym 2014 Satellite Conference – Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore, India

This year, the extended version of TechSym had been organized as the TechSym Satellite Conference by the EMBS Student Chapter of Vellore Institute of Technology to maximize benefits for students. Some of the new features of this conference encouraged even the research-novice students to send in their papers and get involved in research. Students with any feasible original idea to solve a humanitarian problem were eligible to participate and were encouraged to present their idea or work-in-progress (WIP) through one to two pages extended abstracts. The WIP presentations became a platform for such students to go through the entire format and process of writing and submitting a technical paper and thus getting their ideas evaluated by a panel of experts. The keynote talks of the conference were delivered by professionals from both the industry and academic sectors. The conference hosted two competitions, Medical Hackathon and TechSpee, which were aimed at enhancing the technical and creative abilities of students. The former was about finding feasible solutions to pitched problems within a stipulated time. In TechSpee, participants had to use their oratory skills to speak on topics related to science, engineering, and technology to “spellbind” the audience. The students  who volunteered toward organizing this conference not only learned about the process of conference organization but also had the opportunity to interact with keynote speakers. The conference thus helped them develop skills at a technical and professional level.

IEEE EMBS TURKEY – Biomed Days 2014

The EMBS Turkey Chapter and IEEE EMBS Izmir Student Chapter [3] organized the IEEE Turkey Biomed Day 2014 at the Yildiz Technical University, followed by a conducted tour to the Eurasian Expomed 2014. More than 200 students participated in the events, and three guest speakers were invited, including the EMBS Distinguished Lecturers Program speaker Metin Akay. Topics covered by the speakers spanned a wide spectrum starting from neurorehabilitation, robotics, and the bionic man to frugal innovations [4], bioengineering as a career choice [5], and student activities [6]. This initiative raised the interest in organizing an EMBS International Student Conference in Istanbul in the coming years [7].

The IEEE EMBS Turkey Biomed Days 2014 (a) guest speakers, EMBS Turkey leadership, and the student volunteers and (b) a visit to the Eurasian ExpoMed guided by the student advisor of EMBS Turkey.

The IEEE EMBS Turkey Biomed Days 2014 (a) guest speakers, EMBS Turkey leadership, and the student volunteers and (b) a visit to the Eurasian ExpoMed guided by the student advisor of EMBS Turkey.

I once again extend a warm invitation to all and especially my beloved student members to attend the EMBC 2014 in Chicago 26–30 August 2014 and make the event a grand success. I heartily congratulate all of the student leaders who made possible the organization of extraordinary initiatives as highlighted here. I hope to listen and participate in more such efforts in the near future. See you all in Chicago!

Acknowledgments

For their input and contributions, I would like to thank Praful P. Pai (Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur), Anvesh Samineni (Vellore Institute of Technology, India), and Ceren Eylem Melems¸e (Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey). I would also like to acknowledge Lisa Lazareck (Wellcome Trust) for her role in developing and hosting the student activities at EMBC 2014.

References

  1. EMBC 2014 Student Activities. [Online].
  2. C. A. Linte, “Retrospective: Student events at EMBC’08 [Student’s Corner],” IEEE Eng. Med. Biol. Mag., vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 7, 8, Jan.– Feb. 2009.
  3. C. A. Linte, “Student events around the world: The inauguration of the IEEE EMBS Izmir Student Chapter [Student’s Corner],” IEEE Pulse, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 5–6, Sept.–Oct. 2010.
  4. S. Mandal, “Frugal innovations for global health? Perspectives for students [Student’s Corner],” IEEE Pulse, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 11, 13, Jan.–Feb. 2014.
  5. C. A. Linte and L. Lazareck, “Working in bioengineering: Making an impact,” in 29th Annu. Int. Conf. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS 2007), Aug. 22–26, pp. 5152–5154.
  6. S. Mandal, K. Usop, R. Ong, E. A. Gonzalez, and R. Reilly, “IEEE direct to student program (D2S): Changing dynamics of education and innovation,” 2014 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), pp. 987–990, 3–5 Apr. 2014. [Online].
  7. A. Abdelhadi, “IEEE EMBS international student conference,” IEEE Pulse, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 84–85, 2014.