Sri Lanka Section Chair 2021-2022, Sri Lanka WIE Chair 2020, R10 WIE Committee Member 2019-2020
Dr. (Mrs.) Maheshi Dissanayake (Ph.D.), a Senior Member of IEEE, started her IEEE journey in 2011 and has been actively contributing as an IEEE volunteer at the University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka, the Central Region Subsection of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Section as well as at the Region 10 level. She got her first taste of IEEE and its widespread volunteering services during the IEEE R10 Student/GOLD/WIE Congress 2011 held in Auckland, New Zealand. This event introduced Maheshi to the then R10 WIE coordinator Prof. Takako Hashimoto and with her close guidance, Maheshi was able to establish the first WIE Student Branch Affinity Group (AG) in Sri Lanka at the University of Peradeniya. She serves as the affinity group advisor since its inception to date. This initiation inspired the University of Moratuwa to the formation of its own WIE AG, where she was invited to deliver guest lecture at the inauguration. In the absence of IEEE WIE AG Sri Lanka, Maheshi acted as the coordinator of the WIE Student Branch AGs of Sri Lanka till 2015.
The IEEE WIE Sri Lanka Section was formed at the invitation of Prof. Supavadee Aramvith, the then R10 WIE coordinator, at the R10 SYW Congress 2015 held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Since Maheshi pioneered this initiative, she was invited to serve as the first chairperson of IEEE WIE Sri Lanka from 2015 to 2016 for a two-year term. During her tenure, the WIE membership in Sri Lanka grew rapidly. The Student Branch AG members from different universities were given the opportunity to collaborate with each other at WIE Sri Lanka activities. She inspired not only the student members but also the general membership, to accept challenges and grow within to reach great heights in IEEE and beyond. Over the past decade, she successfully spearheaded and delivered highly impactful member engagement and empowerment activities within as well as outside IEEE Sri Lanka, with a special focus on WIE membership. She has exhibited a keen interest and commitment to nurturing potential future female leaders of Sri Lanka through her engagement with IEEE WIE Sri Lanka. Besides membership development activities, one of her major contributions to IEEE WIE Sri Lanka has been the establishment of the 1st International Women in Engineering Symposium (WIESymp) in 2020, which has now become an annual event of the WIE Sri Lanka Section.
Maheshi has served on the executive committee of the IEEE Sri Lanka Section in various capacities including as the Section Chair. She served as the Assistant Treasurer (2010-2011) and Assistant Secretary (2012) of the IEEE Sri Lanka Section, and the Treasurer (2012 – 2013) of the IEEE Central Region Subsection of Sri Lanka. Her pinnacle of volunteering with IEEE was achieved in 2020 by being elected as the Chair-Elect of IEEE Sri Lanka. Being the first female chairperson of IEEE Sri Lanka, she served her term in 2021. Maheshi, as the Chair of IEEE Sri Lanka, was instrumental in introducing major and challenging initiatives which include the initiation of the graduate 3 Min Thesis (3MT) Competition with the scope of increasing graduate member engagement, tri-lingual TechNarrator with the scope of the dissemination of knowledge in local languages, IEEE member benefit programs to enhance membership growth and a comprehensive member recognition program under IEEE Sri Lanka Section awards to recognize the volunteers and their service. She regularly and actively collaborates and communicates with Student Branches in Sri Lanka through guest talks and various other engagements. During her term in office, she took active leadership in promoting senior membership among the eligible members, while making others aware of the process. The Section received the Gold Award at IEEE Outstanding Section Membership Recruitment and Retention Performance for 2021, reflecting the success of these member engagement activities.
Maheshi has served in Region 10 Educational Activities subcommittee (2016) and WIE subcommittee (2019-2020) as well as in the IEEE Global HAC Communication Subcommittee (2020). She has served as an organizing committee member and TPC Member of many IEEE conferences, and as a reviewer in IEEE journals in the area of molecular communication and image processing. Dr. (Mrs.) Maheshi Dissanayake received the B.Sc. Engineering degree with First Class Honours in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in 2006, and the Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom in 2010. Since 2013, she has been a Senior Lecturer with the department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya. She has been a visiting research fellow at King’s College London from 2015 to 2017. Her research interests include error correction codes, robust video communication, molecular communication, machine learning in communication networks, deep learning for video/image analysis, and biomedical image/clinical data analysis.