R10 Volunteer – Lau Bee Theng [Sarawak Subsection]

2021 R10 HTA Outstanding Volunteer

Lau Bee Theng currently works as a Director at the School of Research and Professor at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus. She is an active IEEE Sarawak Subsection, IEEE Malaysia Section and IEEE Region 10 volunteer who has fostered technological innovation and excellence that aligned well with the IEEE tagline of advancing technology for humanity, and creating values and benefits for communities with special needs, disabilities, children, and youth for more than a decade. The recognition of her leadership is evident in the various present and past IEEE positions at national and international levels such as IEEE R10 newsletter committee and editor, IEEExtreme proctor, IEEE STEM ambassador, Smart Village, Subsection Chair, Education Activity Chair, Treasurer, Malaysia WIE Student Network, Swinburne Sarawak Student Branch advisor, IEEE SIGHT Sarawak, IEEE R10 HTA, etc.

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Her impact in creating values and awareness in the communities is also demonstrated in volunteering actively for many knowledge and technology transfer programs, e.g. data science for primary school students, orientation and mobility (O&M) workshop for community practitioners, STEM robotics for junior secondary school students, teacher-in-service-programs for school teachers, water-food-energy security to youth, portable clean water system for the rural poor, and kitchen waste to fertilizer.

She has led with exceptional performance during her candidacy as the Chair for IEEE Sarawak Subsection (2017-2018). IEEE Sarawak Subsection won MYR100,000 corporate social responsibility fund from industry in Sarawak with high standing community engagement proposals. As recorded by IEEE Malaysia Section, it was the first time IEEE entities in Malaysia won such prestigious recognition from the industry; when IEEE Sarawak was less than two years old (started in 2016). This fund has been utilized to advance the technologies for the benefit of communities.

She led the young IEEE Sarawak Subsection to secure international recognitions as well as national-level successes. IEEE Sarawak was the first Subsection in IEEE Region 10 which gained support from IEEE HAC, IEEE R10, Swinburne Sarawak and thereby successfully bid and organized one of the three flagship conferences of IEEE Asia Pacific, the IEEE R10 HTC 2020. The conferences attracted hundreds of researchers from India, Bangladesh, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Japan, China, Australia, Mongolia, Singapore, Taiwan, UK, USA, France etc. The surplus income from this non-profit IEEE R10 HTC was used to organize other upcoming humanitarian technology activities to improve the communities’ wellbeing in IEEE Region 10. In addition, IEEE Sarawak functioned as the technical sponsor for several international conferences and professional activities. The community and industry collaborations signified IEEE Sarawak as one of the most active Subsections in IEEE Asia Pacific.

With the snowballing societal impact, her team received external funding and completed many programs that positively impacted people’s lives. Despite Malaysia and global movement controls and lockdowns, she initiated and led the projects on community empowerment ‐ safe and sustainable food production; vulnerable community empowerment ‐ hygiene and clean water production; youth empowerment ‐ tackling water‐energy‐food security nexus; and virtual discussion platform on the digital ecosystem for humanity. Even during the pandemic, she was committed to sharing the culture, values, motivation, and mission of humanitarian technologies with many volunteers. Her invited sessions included humanitarian technologies for addressing COVID-19 issues, maintaining a balanced life as a researcher, advancing computing research for a post-pandemic society and STEM activities (IEEE R10 International COVID-19 Congress 2020, IEEE R10 International WIE COVID-19 Congress 2021, International Conference in Information and Computing Research 2021, IEEE Day Malaysia 2021). Her activities have been well-recognized, and she was nominated for IEEE Malaysia Outstanding WIE Volunteer 2020. Apart from this, she has won IEEE Malaysia Outstanding Volunteer 2018, the Swinburne Vice-Chancellor award for community engagement team 2018 and IEEE R10 Outstanding HTA Volunteer 2021.