Every year, during the first week of January (Jan 5-7), IEEE Region 6 organizes a remarkable event in the heart of Las Vegas, NV – the IEEE Rising Stars Conference. In 2024, this conference celebrated its 10th year, marking a significant milestone in its journey of fostering technical and professional excellence. The IEEE Rising Stars Conference serves as a global platform, designed to inform, excite, and unite top engineering young professionals and students from around the world. This unique gathering aims to foster networking and inspiration among attendees, creating an environment where the brightest minds converge to discuss and explore emerging technologies. The conference covers a wide array of technical domains, including Autonomous Vehicles, Artificial Intelligence, Space & Manufacturing, Power & Sustainability, Cybersecurity, IoT, and more.
The Rising Star conference acts as a bridge, connecting students, young professionals, and seasoned experts, fostering a collaborative environment. It is structured to offer a well-rounded experience, allocating half of its schedule to technical sessions and the remaining half to interpersonal and professional development. This dual-pronged approach aims to provide participants, including students, young professionals, and seasoned experts, with valuable insights into the dynamic job landscape and the leadership skills essential in their respective fields. Attendees have the opportunity to gain insights on advancing their careers through networking and learning from industry professionals and executives from leading international companies. Following the Rising Star Conference, students and young professionals have the opportunity to explore CES, where they can witness the latest products, emerging technologies, and engage in discussions with sales professionals. Although the conference was initially catering to Region 6, it has transcended regional boundaries over time, evolving into a global event.
A standout feature of the 2024 IEEE Rising Stars Conference was the “IEEE YP Constellation – a gathering of young professional stars.” a one-day YP workshop led by Region-6 Young Professionals Coordinator, Alberto Tam Yong, and his team. This workshop covered various aspects of professional development including climate and sustainability discussions, technical project mentorship, IEEE volunteering training, community engagement, mentoring, and networking opportunities. The goal of this workshop was to empower young professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary for their career growth. Let’s give a big applause to Alberto for his unwavering dedication and commitment to the YP workshop, making a substantial contribution to its success.
In 2023, IEEE YP launched the Mentoring-Meet program aimed at assisting students and young professionals in connecting with mentors who align with their career aspirations. Naznin Akter, Region-6 Experience Specialist for the IEEE Mentoring-Meet Program, outlined the entire program and provided live mentor-meet demonstrations during the conference. The demonstration attracted a substantial turnout, with notable figures such as 2024 President-elect Kathleen Kramer and YP Chair Hasala Dharmawardena participating as mentors. Attendees at the conference thoroughly enjoyed the demonstration and selected mentors based on their interests. Overall, it was a valuable and enjoyable experience for all involved.
Sajith Wijesuriya, the Chair of the IEEE Young Professionals Climate & Sustainability Task Force (CSTF), underscores the significance of the Rising Stars Conference, ‘’Rising stars conference is a great platform for IEEE to showcase new initiatives created to serve the young members, such initiatives keep young members excited to be part of this global community.” As a workshop speaker, he addressed the importance of addressing climate change, highlighting the efforts of young professionals in tackling these challenges and outlining the significant contributions they can make.
Chad Kidder, IEEE Region 6 Northeast Area Chair, expresses his enthusiasm for the conference, “I love coming to Rising Stars. The energy is great and I get to meet a great mix of people. I appreciate the opportunity to present at the YP Workshop to help people be successful as leaders in all parts of their lives.” During his talk he outlined the elements of team success and how it can help students and young professionals to establish and lead a successful team.
IEEE Young Professionals Chair Hasala Dharmawardena, during his talk, highlighted the significance of advancing one’s professional life through four essential elements: Leadership, Recognition, Mentoring, and Empowerment. He also emphasized the plethora of resources available for Young Professionals (YP) to leverage, enabling them to take charge of their career development and capitalize on these opportunities. To him, “IEEE Rising Stars provides an incredible platform to meet and build strong relationships with fellow young professionals, learn about new industry trends, learn how to build a successful professional career, and most importantly have a lot of fun while doing that!!!”
In summary, the IEEE Rising Stars Conference is truly a constellation of young professionals, living up to its name by providing an inspiring platform for connection and collaboration. It is an invaluable experience for students and young professionals, offering a unique blend of technical expertise, professional development, and the opportunity to connect with industry leaders. For students and young professionals aspiring for growth, connection, and inspiration, marking the calendar for the next IEEE Rising Stars Conference is not just a recommendation but a pathway to where students and young professionals come to connect and be inspired.
* Featured Picture Caption: IEEE Region-6 YP Coordinator and organizing committee member of IEEE Rising Star Conference, Alberto Tam Yong.