2023 IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board Members

The committees of the IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board facilitate the performance of its mission and vision, as well as its operational and administrative responsibilities. The board members that lead the HTB committees donate their time, skills, and experience to ensure that HTB inspires and empowers IEEE volunteers around the world carrying out and supporting impactful humanitarian technology activities at the local level.

Lwanga Herbert
Lwanga Herbert is an innovation and technology enthusiast and practitioner inspired by technological solutions to diverse problems and challenges. He is the Co-founder of M/S LOG`EL GROUP LTD, an IT company based in Uganda and the co-founder of Log`el Science Foundation, a civil society organization which conducts research and development in science and technology. Lwanga Herbert was a beneficiary of the presidential innovation fund in Uganda from 2000-2005, which allowed him to develop a variety of innovations to address corresponding community challenges. These innovations were patented with the support of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. He has made several contributions within the IEEE community, which includes co-founding the IEEE Uganda Section and implementing humanitarian projects and programs in Uganda with IEEE support.
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Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan
Immediate Past Chair & Ad hoc Committee on Partnerships Chair
Sampathkumar Veeraraghavan is a renowned technologist known for his innovations in addressing global humanitarian and sustainable development challenges. Prior to serving as the 2021 HAC Chair, Sampath was the 2019-2020 IEEE SIGHT Chair, leading the program to record-breaking growth through high-impact, technology-driven sustainable programs benefiting members in 115+ countries. In 2020, Sampath was an expert in the Broadband Commission working group on school connectivity co-chaired by UNESCO, UNICEF and ITU to drive “GIGA,” a Global School Connectivity Initiative. He is the founder and president of “The Brahmam,” a humanitarian program delivering next-generation social innovations to achieve sustainable development goals and benefit marginalized communities. He currently works as a senior technology and program management leader with Alexa Artificial Intelligence Group at Amazon. Sampath was the recipient of the 2020 IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award.
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Simay Akar
Member and Geographic Activities Representative
Simay Akar has been working in the energy industry since 2012. She specialized in solar and renewable energy fields. Akar is currently the Chief Commercial Officer & Co-Founder at Innoses. Additional current roles include Sales & Marketing Director of EkoRE – Eko Renewable Energy and Marketing & Business Development Director of GoodWe Turkey, Head of Overseas Marketing at Talesun Solar Akar has worked in China and Turkey and mostly focused on international commercial activities and has been employed by CSUN Eurasia, Schneider Electric, Arcelik (BEKO), and Lucida Solar. In addition to her professional acclimates, she is an IEEE Senior member, acknowledged volunteer since 2007. Simay is a graduate of Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. https://www.simayakar.com/
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Katherine August
Taenzer Program Subcommittee Chair
Dr. Katherine Grace (Kit) August is a biomedical and communications engineer with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from NJIT, an MSCS-MIS from Marist College, NY, and a BFA Communications Design from Parsons The New School for Design. She was a Whitaker Scholar at ETH Zurich. Kit was an MTS at Bell Labs in Advanced Communications Technologies, 1991 – 2002, active in human factors, accessibility, accommodation, rehabilitation, learning, language, hearing, speech technologies, virtual reality, search, signal processing, wireless and communication technologies. Google Citations: 3399; h-index: 21; i10-index: 25. 18 US Patents, 50 international Patents. She is an IEEE Volunteer with SA DIITA Transparent Design for Wellbeing Workstream Chair P3337, NJ Coast PACE SIGHT Group Chair, Region 1 PACE Chair, Section Computer Chapter Chair, and ComSoc History Committee Vice Chair.
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Peter Clout
Technical Activities Representative
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Miriam Cunningham
Ad hoc Committee on SIGHT Best Practices Chair
Miriam Cunningham (IEEE Senior Member, IEEE-HKN) is a technology and innovation expert with over 25 years experience working with education and research, industry and government organisations (including European Commission and World Bank). Miriam specialises in contributing to policy analysis, research capacity building, adaptation and implementation of appropriate technology in low resource environments. Miriam has extensive experience as Co-Principal Investigator of large-scale digital technology innovation oriented cross-border and regional projects in Europe and Africa, including ICT4Development. She has co-organised over 45 large international conferences around the world, including both IEEE and government hosted conferences. Miriam is also Head of Research of the not-for-profit IST-Africa Institute, working in strategic partnership with Ministries and National Councils responsible for Innovation, Science and Technology in 18 African Member States.
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Jing Dong
Standards Association Representative
Dr. Jing Dong is a Senior Member of IEEE from Beijing Section and currently a Researcher of the Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CASIA). She is an expert in Image Processing and Computer Vision and also a very active volunteer for IEEE since the year of 2008. She was the founding chair of the IEEE University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) Student Branch (2008), the current chair of IEEE Biometric Council Beijing Chapter, and severed as R10 ExCom member since the year of 2011 for many positions such as WIE Committee Chair (2017-2018) and HTA Committee Chair (2019-2022). She is currently the R10 ARC Chair (2023-2024) and the Membership Development Director of Signal Processing Society (2022-2024).
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David Durocher
Technical Activities Representative
David Durocher (SBM ’77 M ’97 SM ’99) received a BSEE at Oregon State University. He served as Global Mining, Metals, and Minerals Industry Manager during his 41 year career with Westinghouse and Eaton serving in a variety of product engineering and global marketing roles, authoring numerous technical papers that have been presented and published in IEEE Industry Applications Magazine, Plant Engineering, and EC&M Magazine. He serves on IEEE Standards Working Groups IEEE1584 and IEEE1458 and is an active member of the IEEE IAS Metals Industry Committee and IAS Pulp & Paper Industry Committee. He served as President of IEEE IAS (2015-2016), IEEE Division II Director (2019-2020) and serves as Editor-in-Chief of IEEE’s Industry Applications Magazine (2019-Present) and Vice Chair IEEE Industry Engagement Committee (2023).
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Mohamed Essaaidi
Humanitarian Technologies Programs Committee Chair
Prof. Mohamed Essaaidi (IEEE Senior Member) is Chief of Party of Interactive Digital Center Morocco and a Professor at ENSIAS College of IT Engineering of Mohammed V University. He is also a Past Director of International Cooperation at the Ministry of General Affairs & Governance, Morocco. He was the IEEE IoT Global Cities Alliance, MEA Chairman (2020-2021), IEEE HAC Assessment Committee Member (2021-2022), IEEE EAB Teaching Excellence Editorial Hub, Member (2021-2022), and a member of Committee of Global Accreditation activities (2017-2018). He was also the founder and past Chairman of the IEEE Morocco Section (2005-2016). He was extensively involved in the coordination of the World Bank Morocco Country Partnership Framework (2019-2024) and OECD Morocco Country Program (2019-2021).
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Stephanie Gillespie
Educational Activities Representative
Dr. Stephanie Gillespie is in her second year of serving as the EPICS in IEEE committee chair. In this role, she helps facilitate a community of service learning practitioners and selects specific service-learning projects for financial support. Her experience in service learning began at Arizona State University where she was a faculty co-director of the ASU EPICS program. In her current role as the Associate Dean for the Tagliatela College of Engineering at the University of New Haven (CT, USA), she supports student and faculty success while continuing to engage her first-year engineering class with a service learning project. She earned her PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Georgia Tech with a focus on speech processing to detect emotions in individuals with communication disorders.
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Tim Gitau
Finance Committee Chair
Tim Gitau is a technologist and has been an IEEE member since 2011, volunteering in numerous roles within the United States and Africa, making him an IEEE senior member. He currently serves as the Treasurer of the IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board and supports the Power and Energy Society (PES) Conferences. He has work experience in global corporations and a technology start-up and has worked with multinational and multicultural colleagues and customers in over a dozen countries globally. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, emphasizing power and energy, and a Master of Science degree in Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning.
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Elizabeth Johnston
Member and Geographic Activities Representative
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Darwin Jose Raju
Humanitarian Technologies Events Committee Chair
Darwin Jose Raju (IEEE Senior Member) is from Madras Section and Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, St. Xavier’s Catholic College of Engineering, India. Darwin received his Bachelor and Master Degrees from the University of Madras, MBA from Tamil Nādu Open University, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Anna University, Chennai. With more than 22 years of teaching experience, he guides students from rural areas to achieve career goals. From IEEE, he has received the Outstanding Student Branch Counselor award in 2009, MGA Leadership Award in 2012 and Honorable Mention of SIGHT Volunteer Award in 2022. He is an enthusiastic volunteer who believes that success is the joy of self-satisfaction and works for the goodness of society and the student community.
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Karen Panetta
Humanitarian Technologies Best Practices & Projects Committee Chair
Dr. Karen Panetta is a Fellow of the IEEE. Dr. Panetta received the B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and the M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. She served as the 2013-2014 IEEE-USA Vice-President of Communications and Public Relations. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine and Editor of the IEEE Boston “Reflector” Newspaper. She served as the 2011 IEEE Boston Section Chair, and as the Chair of IEEE Women in Engineering from 2007-2009. She is currently the Dean for Graduate Education and a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Adjunct Professor in Computer Science at Tufts University. Karen has traveled around the globe to inspire youth to pursue engineering through her internationally acclaimed “Nerd Girls” Program.
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Magdalena Salazar-Palma
Humanitarian Technologies Outreach Committee Chair
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Lucia Pia Torres
Ad hoc Committee on Project Monitoring Chair
Pia Torres is an electronics engineer from Tucumán, Argentina, specializing in project management, process optimization, digital transformation, and innovation in industry settings. She is a social entrepreneur, UN SDGs Promotor, Diversity and Inclusion Champion, and STEM Education Ambassador. Pia is an IEEE Senior Member, an IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Member, and has been a volunteer since 2001. Currently she is the IEEE Industry Applications Society Diversity & Inclusion Chair. Awards include: the 2020 JCI Argentina Outstanding Young Person for Humanitarian & Volunteering Services, the 2020 IEEE Region 9 Student & Young Professionals Prominent Supporter, and the 2019 IEEE WIE Inspiring Member of the Year.
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Non-voting: Young Professional (YP) Representative
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IEEE Humanitarian Technologies Board Mentor

Antonio Luque
HTB Mentor
Antonio Luque is currently Professor of Electronics Engineering at the University of Seville, Spain. He has authored 30 journal papers, 50 conference papers, 3 book chapters, and two text books. He has been invited researcher and teacher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (Switzerland), Auburn University (AL, USA), Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), Jade University (Germany), Harbin Institute of Technology (China) and Tech Institute of Monterrey (Mexico). His research interests include Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems, especially in applications to biomedical and health industries. He was a member of the IEEE Board of Directors in 2021 and 2022 and is currently Past Director of IEEE in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Vice President of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society.
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Staff Support

Mariela Machado Fantacchiotti
Senior Director, Humanitarian Technology
Mariela Machado is a skilled professional with +15 years of experience building, deploying, and scaling international humanitarian programs at the intersection of technology, social/environmental impact and public policy in the private sector, public sector and academia. As the Senior Director of Humanitarian Technology at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Mariela leads multiple programs at the intersection of social/environmental impact and technology for this engineering society worldwide. Prior to IEEE, she was the Director of Programs at Newlab, a social innovation hub focused on scaling transformative technologies through public-private partnerships; she was also the Senior Program Manager at the American Society of Mechanical Engineer (ASME) & Engineering for Change working to support technology for sustainable development across all continents. Mariela advises capstone projects at the intersection of digital technology and policy at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and teaches a class on emerging digital technology for social and environmental impact. She is a Telecommunication Engineer with MSc in Information and Communication Technologies and a MPA in Sustainable Development from Columbia University. Mariela is fluent in 5 languages: Spanish, English, French, Swedish and Italian.
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Julianna Pichardo
Humanitarian Activities & Sustainable Development Manager
Julianna Pichardo joined the Humanitarian Technology & Sustainable Development Activities team at IEEE in 2018 after returning to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic. While in the DR, she worked with Esperanza International, a microfinance nonprofit dedicated to poverty alleviation. A fluent Spanish speaker, she has studied in Valparaiso, Chile, and volunteers as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher through the Bernardsville, NJ library program. As the Humanitarian Technology & Sustainable Development Program Manager, Julianna supports the work of all the committees of the Humanitarian Technologies Board to ensure smooth and consistent processes that lead to meaningful impact. She especially enjoys meeting the IEEE volunteers from around the world that conduct projects that use technology to address a local sustainable development challenge for their community.
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Betsy Toland
Finance & Operations Administrator
Betsy Toland joined the Humanitarian Technology & Sustainable Development Activities team at IEEE in 2016, returning to employment at IEEE after previously working with the IEEE Signal Processing Society where she managed the conference business of the Society.  While on a break from IEEE to raise her family, Betsy focused much of her time volunteering with the Home & School Associations in her town, serving in various fundraising roles and as one group’s President. She also volunteered with her son’s Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop, as well as a local dog rescue group.  She continues her volunteerism with both the rescue group and the town’s Project Graduation. Returning to IEEE brought Betsy the opportunity to be an important part of IEEE volunteerism in the HTB, where her time is spent helping to develop operational processes, supporting the work of HTB committees, and managing the financial operations of the department.
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Khanyisile Baloyi
Program Specialist, Humanitarian Activities & Sustainable Development
Khanyisile joined the Humanitarian Technology & Sustainable Development Activities in 2022, and has been working to support IEEE volunteers to implement sustainable development projects that have a positive and lasting impact on the communities that they serve. She served as the secretary to the African Students Association and Association of Caribbean Students during college, where she helped with fundraising efforts for underserved communities in those regions. Originally from South Africa, she has experience working with international audiences and regularly volunteered with her college's international student admissions team to help increase the school's diversity. Prior to joining the team, Khanyisile worked as a project manager within pharmaceutical marketing, where she was responsible for the process to develop and execute medical marketing print and digital projects.
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