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Founded in 1884, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is a worldwide technical professional society devoted to advancing the theory and application of electrical engineering, electronics and computing.
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A Message from the Chair of the Student Awards Committee of the IEEE Computer Society

The purpose of this message is to introduce you to the Chair, encourage suitable students to apply for the society's student leadership award (the Merwin Award), and to recommend suitable people to join our global level student awards committee. The details are shown below:

The Student Awards Committee (SAC) is a sub-committee of the Awards and Recognition Committee (ARC) of the Society’s Membership and Geographic Activities Board (MGAB). The MGAB is the part of the Computer Society that supports and oversees our Chapters. In addition to the ARC and SAC the MGAB also has a committee looking after Membership Development (MDC) and Geographic Unit Operations (GUOC).

As a former Chapter Chair, I know this can look like little more than alphabet soup. The key information is that as Chapter Chairs you are the local face of the Computer Society, but you are not alone, and the MGAB (and specifically your regional reps) are your first part of call for assistance. The contact details are at: http://www.computer.org/portal/web/chapters/board. (If you are in Region 10, that rep would be me, so feel free to just hit reply if you have any questions.)

As to myself, I am based in Melbourne, Australia, and I am CEO of a small charity that focuses on Online Hate (e.g. cyber-racism, cyberbullying, religious vilification etc in social media). I have served as a chapter chair, Country Coordinator, and this year I was given the privilege of serving as Region 10 Coordinator for the Society. I have also served as Vice-Chair and now Chair of the SAC. I will also soon be starting as a Distinguished Visitor in the Society’s DVP program. I am also pleased to be working with the Victorian and Malaysia Chapters as co-General Chair of an IEEE Conference into e-Learning, e-Management and e-Services to take place in Melbourne in December. If I can assist you in any of these capacities, or you want to know more, please let me know.

Request 1: Encouraging applications for the Merwin Awards

The most popular award the Student Awards Committee overseas is the Richard E. Merwin Award, and the deadline for applications for the next round is the end of this month. Up to 18 Merwin Awards are made each round. We would like your assistance in encouraging suitable applicants to apply before the end of this month.

The award is for student leadership and included both a cash component of around US$1,000 and winners are given a one year appointment as a Student Ambassador of the society. Our Ambassador program includes mentoring, video meetings with leaders of the society and fellow Student Ambassadors, and support for our Student Ambassadors to challenge themselves and grow as professionals within the Society.

As a chapter chair you may know students (at any level, including PhD candidates) who are members of the Computer Society and active IEEE volunteers. You may even have such people on your own Chapter Committee. If this is the case, please do encourage them to apply before the deadline.

As one of the requirements for an application is a letter of recommendation from either a Student Branch Counsellor / Adviser or from the local Chapter Chair (i.e. you) you may also be approach by people seeking such an endorsement. If you are, please assist the students. If you don’t know them personally, the SAC relies on you doing local background research into them to let us know if they are indeed active as a volunteer, known to others in your section, and in short, whether they are a suitable applicant.

Request 2: Recommendations for new SAC members

We would also like your recommendations for additional suitable people to join the SAC and help assess the Merwin Award and our other student awards.

What we are looking for are: (a) people who have helped judge awards before, (b) people who are well respected in the local chapter, (c) people interested in supporting our student members, (d) experience as a Counselor or Advisor assisting with a local Student Branch / Student Chapter OR as a leader on the Chapter Committee (e.g. a current or past member of your committee) would be advantageous but is not essential, (e) working at a university is not a requirement, but most of our members are academics, (f) ideally applicants should have a minimum of 10 years of work experience, or a PhD + 5 years of work experience.

Joining the SAC is an opportunity to get involved at the international level of the society. It is often hard for volunteers to find ways to get involved beyond their local chapter, so please discuss this opportunity with your members. We will, however, only accept applications though the chapter chairs (not directly) as you are in a better position than us to judge candidates suitability. While we would like some additional members asap to help with the current Merwin Award, we will accept nominations at any time. Our work goes on all year, though different teams are active at different times. Most volunteers on the SAC are only actively volunteering for between 1 to 3 months of the year. Please feel free to self nominate as well if you are interested.


Dr Andre Oboler Chair, Student Awards Committee IEEE Computer Society