New South Wales Section
Experiences define who we are – for Tharushi, IEEE has been a place of inspiration, knowledge, opportunities, and connections that would shape her whole life. As a Student Member of IEEE for over five years, Tharushi’s experiences at IEEE Student Branch, Sectional, and Regional level have exposed her to IEEE’s various volunteering bases, which made her more passionate about volunteering. Her volunteering stint with IEEE started back when she was doing her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT).
Out of the dozens of Student Branches in Sri Lanka, the IEEE Student Branch of SLIIT thrives among the most active in the island. Tharushi was privileged to become its Secretary in 2017 after volunteering in the Student Branch for almost two years. This, together with her involvement with the WIE affinity group, paved the way to many diverse experiences. From the most fundamental aspects of volunteering such as organizing technical workshops for her colleagues to making a difference by reaching out to rural schools to guide and inspire, the road paved by her Student Branch was vital in her onward journey, as a volunteer and as a future professional.
On her journey to becoming the Section’s Student Representative (SSR) in 2019, there were many experiences at the Sectional level, which shaped her into the role. In 2018, she was selected as the Secretary of the IEEE Innovation Nation Sri Lanka. This project was in its first year of global expansion. As a project that thrives on creating aspiring entrepreneurs in third-world countries that can benefit from that economic boost, she gained opportunities, made connections, and solidified the project in Sri Lanka as an integral part of the team. The project is now into its third year in Sri Lanka, and it has further expanded into Malaysia. The leadership skills demanded by the role as the Secretary in this project were mainly bestowed on her through the experience of being a Secretarial Team Member in Sri Lanka’s largest gathering of IEEE members, IEEE Sri Lanka Section SYW Congress 2017. This massive project showed Tharushi how volunteering with IEEE was a chain of experiences that strengthened one’s personality.
One of the unique projects that she was involved in was IEEE Chronicles. This was a pilot project funded by the IEEE New Initiatives Committee which focused on creating video documentaries on how successful people came to where they are today. Their early years, the decisions made (both good and bad), the mishaps and of course, and the spectacular successes. The final documentary videos for this purpose were a combination of life stories, casual conversation and an interview where Tharushi functioned as the project manager and the interviewer. She was able to make contact with prominent figures in Sri Lanka, who rose to great heights through self-perseverance and learning through their mistakes.
All these experiences paved her to serve the Sri Lankan student community to the best of her ability as the SSR in 2019. During her active term, Tharushi and her team were able to successfully execute “Ayubowan IEEE”, courtesy of the R10 Joint Student Branch Initiative Fund 2019 and IEEE Sri Lanka Section. Moreover, as an active member of the WIE affinity group since her undergraduate days, she continues to give her support to this integral part of the IEEE platform as the editor of the IEEE WIE Affinity Group Sri Lanka Section.
Rooting from her educational background in the power sector, she has been a member of the Power & Energy Society for more than three years, leading her to become the Chair of Educational Activities for IEEE PES Day 2020. After migrating to Australia for her Masters in Electronics Engineering, she is currently engaged with the IEEE New South Wales Section, in particular, with the NSW Education Chapter as the Promotional Chair. Tharushi is also a part of the IEEE Region 10 Student Activities Committee (SAC) Training & Webinar team as well as the newly formed IEEE SAC MGA Excellence team catering towards the improvement of IEEE Students.
When inquired about her approach to balancing her professional life together with all the levels of volunteering she does, Tharushi says it’s all about priorities and being available at the right time. Looking back at the past five years, volunteering with IEEE has shaped Tharushi’s life very vibrantly. It has gone beyond the actual scope of volunteering to something that has impacted her life as a professional in the best ways possible.