College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

Engineering Student Wins the First International IEEE Section Award for South Africa

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Electronic Engineering PhD candidate, Mr Dauda Olayinka Ayanda, has received the global MGA Outstanding Medium Section Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) on behalf of the South Africa Section.

This international award, which was given to the IEEE South Africa Section for the first time, recognises its efforts in fulfilling the educational and scientific goals of the IEEE for the benefit of the public through its work within and outside of its geographic boundaries.

Ayanda is the President of the UKZN IEEE, Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN) Honour Society, former Vice-President of the IEEE-HKN Mu Eta Chapter at UKZN and former Vice-Chair of the IEEE South Africa Section. Events organised by Ayanda include the inaugural IEEE Power and Energy Society Distinguished Lecture by Professor Jay Giri in 2017, and two maiden Senior Membership elevation workshops in 2018 that recognised the achievements of UKZN academic staff and professionals from around KwaZulu-Natal.

He also presented at the 2018 IEEE Day “Women in Engineering” event at Westville Girls’ High School, considered to be largest gathering of IEEE school learners in recent times, and co-organised a national workshop on entering the real world in September 2018, where Dr Han van Loon engaged with students about their research and skills development.

Under Ayanda’s leadership, the Mu Eta Chapter at UKZN hosted a LaTeX workshop for postgraduate students in July 2019, marking the first time that a university chapter in South Africa collaborated with the United Kingdom’s Overleaf, a leading online collaborative LaTeX editor. Ayanda has also been appointed as Overleaf advisor for South Africa.

‘We are very proud of this achievement by our Engineering students, and we wish the Mu ETA Chapter an even brighter future; this is an excellent example of student activity for a better future,’ said Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, Professor Albert Modi.

IEEE South Africa Section was established in 1977 as one of the IEEE’s 339 Sections globally, and now boasts over 1 000 members, including 112 senior members and four Fellows, with membership in 40 IEEE technical Societies, technical Councils and more.

Ayanda, who has also served as Vice-President of the IEEE-HKN Mu Eta Chapter, works to motivate member participation in IEEE activities, promote the advancement of technology for humanity, support activities that stimulate interest in IEEE professions and share and transfer knowledge and skills in IEEE activities and processes.

‘We regularly run technical and non-technical events, organised by IEEE volunteers and supported by the IEEE, including talks by distinguished speakers, technical conferences, and professional development events,’ he said.

The South Africa Section maintains and enhances members’ professional environments by ensuring continuous exchange of ideas and knowledge with local and international experts, and motivates for greater activity in existing Chapters as well as the establishment of new ones. It publicises South Africa’s scientific, engineering and social achievements to the international community, and actively collaborates with several national bodies including the Engineering Council of South Africa, the South African Institute for Electrical Engineering, and the National Science and Technology Forum.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied