R10 Volunteer – Karu Essele [New South Wales Section]

2021 R10 Outstanding Volunteer

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Distinguished Professor Karu Esselle, FRSN, FIEEE, FIEAust, has contributed to IEEE over 25 years in numerous roles from Society level to Student Branch level. During his leadership as the Chair of IEEE New South Wales (NSW) Section, the Section was awarded both Gold and Silver Medals. In 2019, he served as one of the five members who successfully bid to make the Parkes Radio Telescope the first ever IEEE Milestone in Australia. Karu supported and mentored a large number of young IEEE NSW leaders. His mentees also have contributed a lot to IEEE at various levels, chaired many IEEE committees, and have been awarded many IEEE awards. Dr. Naila Mukhtar is a good example who is familiar to IEEE members in R10.

Karu is the Distinguished Professor in Electromagnetic and Antenna Engineering at University of Technology Sydney and is a world leader in this field. The global impact of his research is reflected not only in his h-index (53) but also from a large collection of research excellence awards he received. Among the most recent are the most prestigious Defence Connect Excellence Award at 2021 Australian Defence Industry Awards – the first resident of NSW to receive this award; 2021 Academic of the Year in the same – the first academic in the state of New South Wales to receive this annual award; Finalist for the 2021 Australian national Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers; Finalist and Runner-up to the same national prize in 2020, and Australian national Research Field Leader in two distinct research fields of Microelectronics and Electromagnetism in 2019 The Australian Special Report on Research. Karu is a Fellow of IEEE, Royal Society of NSW and Engineers Australia.

Considering his achievements in IEEE leadership positions, Karu was selected to chair the prestigious Distinguished Lecturer (DL) Program of the IEEE Antennas & Propagation Society (AP-S) 2018-2020. He has brought innovative ideas and provided leadership to make significant changes to the program. He made it mandatory for each distinguished lecturer to give at least three lectures in developing countries, strongly benefiting Region 10. He established a new distinguished lecturer category in entrepreneurship, and appointed the first three DLs in this category. He led an overhaul of the travel funding policy so that all IEEE AP-S Chapters and Student Branch Chapters anywhere in the world have equal access to all distinguished lecturers.

Karu formed the multi-award-winning Macquarie University IEEE Student Branch and provided leadership as counsellor. In his capacity as the Chair of the IEEE NSW Antennas & Propagation (AP)/Microwave Theory & Techniques (MTT) Chapter, Karu arranged IEEE Distinguished Lecturers to visit Australian chapters. When Karu himself was an IEEE AP-S Distinguished Lecturer, he gave 23 distinguished lectures in both developing and developed countries and 12 of them were in Region 10. He is the first Australian AP Distinguished Lecturer in almost two decades, the second Australian AP DL ever and believed to be the third Region-10 AP DL ever.

Karu provided leadership to many IEEE conferences and has given plenary/keynote speeches. Karu has served or is serving several society committees including IEEE AP-S Administrative Committee 2015-20; Field Awards; MGA; SIGHT; New Technology Directions; Promoting Equality; and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He has also served three IEEE journals as Associate Editor (Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Access and Antennas & Propagation Magazine), and MTT Society Technical Committee-28. Karu was awarded Outstanding Branch Counsellor Award (by IEEE headquarters) and 2020 IEEE NSW Outstanding Volunteer Award.