R8 WIE Committees

Meet the R8 WIE Committee!

The 2019 Committee can be reached on ma-wie@ieeer8.org, and consists of:

Ana Cigarán Romero (Germany), Chair

“Keep always moving forward, keep learning, keep traveling, keep in constant exchange with people… is my philosophy of life.”
Ana obtained her degree in electrical engineering from Comillas University (ICAI), Madrid in 2010, writing her diploma thesis “Analysis of the Competitiveness Indicators in the Iberian Electricity market” in the Energy Management Direction of Iberdrola.

Since 2011, she has been working at 50Hertz, the TSO in North-Eastern Germany, as an expert for European inter-TSO cooperation principles for system operation.

She has actively participated in the development of the Regional Group Continental Europe Operation Handbook, the ENTSO-E System Operation Network Codes and the conception of inter-TSO system security processes within ENTSO-E and within the Regional Security Coordinators TSCNET and Coreso.

She is an active member of the IEEE Germany Section, where she has been the Chair of the IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) Affinity Group from 2016-2019 and the Secretary of the IEEE Young Professionals Affinity Group from 2014-2018.

Youmna El Bitar (Lebanon), Past Chair

“Attaining your goals has 4 ingredients: knowing yourself, enjoying what you’re doing, commitment, and time management.”

Youmna is a graduate student at the Technical University of Munich, pursuing a Master’s degree in Management (MiM). In Munich, she also works part-time in the RF telecommunications industry.

Youmna graduated from the American University of Beirut – Lebanon with a BE in Telecommunications Engineering, a subject she is passionate about since childhood. Until mid 2017, she worked as a Radio Network Planning and Optimization Engineer with a Lebanese operator managed by Zain.

IEEE has always been at the core of Youmna’s volunteering work. Currently, she is the R8 WIE Past Chair, and a member of the IEEE Geographic Unit Operations Subcommittee (GUOS). Previously, Youmna held various IEEE volunteering roles such as SPAA Chair within IEEE SAC, in addition to several R8 volunteering roles, such as R8 assistant secretary and R8 SAC member.

With her studies, Youmna aims to dig deeper into the management science under the light of both her professional and volunteering experiences. Through IEEE, she aims to raise awareness regarding the power of women and their qualifications as community partners and engineering professionals, and to encourage women who wish to pursue a career in STEM. 

Maria-Alexandra Paun (Switzerland), Member

“If you really want to achieve your objectives, three ingredients are key: motivation, perseverance and passion!”
Born on Pi Day, Dr. Maria-Alexandra Paun is currently a researcher at EPFL Switzerland, where she works in the development of electronics for medical devices (MedTech).Dr. Maria-Alexandra Paun received the Engineer Diploma in 2008 from Politehnica University of Bucharest, FILS, Romania, with a major in Computer Science, graduating top of her class. The Master Project was carried out at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL, Switzerland).

During 2008-2009, she was awarded a postgraduate Marie Curie research fellowship at the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, where she worked in the field of OCT. Between 2009 and 2013, she was Assistant – Ph.D. student at EPFL. She received her PhD degree in June 2013 on the subject of Hall Effect sensors.

During 2013-2015, Maria-Alexandra was a Visiting Researcher at University of Cambridge, UK, with two postdoctoral fellowships from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She has published around 50 scientific papers and her h-index is 10.

She is committed to volunteering work within IEEE, as she is currently Chair of IEEE Switzerland Section, Chair of IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) Affinity Group in Switzerland, Member in the IEEE R8 WIE Subcommittee, Member in the IEEE R8 Humanitarian Activities Subcommittee, Member in IEEE MGA Training Committee and Counselor of IEEE EPFL Student Branch.

You can contact her at the e-mail address: maria_paun2003@yahoo.com. Also you can check her instagram account at @maria.alexandra.paun.

Hzar Oqlah (Jordan), Member

“Women are born leaders, women always fit in!”
Hzar Oqlah Hzar is a 3rd year undergraduate student at Jordan University of Science and Technology currently working towards her degree in Industrial Engineering. She is a freelance graphic designer since 2012. She has been honored by the reception of an award from the US Department of State for the best Logo Design for the “SheCab Project”, winner of the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund.

In 2013 she succeeded as a young Jordanian entrepreneur to start her first self-run business, by designing bookmarks and other crafts to sell them at Jerash Festival of Culture and Arts, Jordan. After that she has been working as a handicrafts designer in the festival from 2013 up till now.

She is an active member of IEEE Jordan Section, where she is currently the Chair of IEEE JUST Women in Engineering (WIE) Affinity Group and she was a member of the organizing committee of the IEEE Jordan Students and Young Professionals Congress 2017 (JSYP). Hzar has volunteered as a graphic designer in IEEEXtreme 11.0, Jordan.

Recently, she has joined the committee of IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit Tunisia 2018 as a graphic designer.

After winning a graphic design competition carried by R8 WIE, Hzar has joined IEEE R8 Women in Engineering Committee as “Publicity Officer”.

Ilhem Kallel (Tunisia), Member

Dr. Ilhem Kallel is an A. Professor with the Department of Computer Science Engineering in Higher Institute of Computer Science and Multimedia of Sfax, and a senior researcher with REGIM-Lab in National school of Engineers of Sfax (university of Sfax-Tunisia). She received the bachelor degree in computer science in 1988 from ISG Tunis, the DEA degree in Information Systems and new Technologies in 2003, from FSEGS, and the PhD degree in Computer Systems Engineering in 2009 from ENIS. Since 1988, Dr. Ilhem had many leadership positions and a rich professional experience dealing with developing and managing enterprise information systems within an industrial company, teaching fields of computer science and training of teachers.Besides professional and associative activities, including those of IEEE, Dr. Ilhem is involved in many associative projects and activities. She usually takes part or organizes many scientific and social events (meetings, conferences, workshops, contests, competitions, training sessions, booths, soft skills training, etc.) and she is participating in international research cooperation projects and research mobility. She supervises engineering and doctoral research projects and contributes to the review process of many international conferences and journals. Her research interests are mainly in collective and hybrid intelligence, pedagogical innovation in education, intelligent multirobot systems, fuzzy modeling, swarm intelligence, multiagent systems, and systems’ quality assessment.

Dr. Ilhem Kallel is an IEEE member since 2001: from graduate student Member, to member, tosenior member on 2014. She is serving as a chair of Education Tunisia chapter for 2017-2020(http://education.ieee.tn/), Tunisia-section Chair-Elect for 2019-2020 and next chair for 2021-2022. On 2009, she founded and chaired for four years the affinity group IEEE Tunisia “WomenIn Engineering”; among others, she was one past chair of IEEE “Systems, Mans andCybernetics”, and “Computational Intelligence” Tunisia Chapters, the chapters coordinator inTunisia Section for 2015-2016.

She volunteered in many international competition programs.She was the winner of the 2011 WIE Clementina Award for Region 8 (Europe, Africa and MiddleEast) for her professional and personal achievements; this award attests that she can serve as a role model for combining professional achievements and family life. Recently she wins the2018 R8 Outstanding Women In Engineering Section Volunteer Award.

Moreover, she participates in the organization of many IEEE activities, conferences andtechnical events. She invites many international Distinguished Lecturers from WIE, SMC, CI andEducation societies. Since 2017, she is focusing on education engineering and intelligenttutoring systems on both associative IEEE activities and scientific research activities.

  • IEEE Senior Member #41436656
  • IEEE Tunisia section Chair-Elect (Vice Chair)
  • IEEE Tunisia Education Chapter Chair
  • IEEE Region8 WIE Subcommittee Member

Philippa Makobore (Uganda), Member

Philippa Makobore is the Department Head of the Instrumentation Division at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute.She has a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta, Canada (2008), a Professional Certificate in Embedded Systems Engineering from the University of California, Irvine (2016) and is currently a Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) student in Interdisciplinary Engineering at the Purdue University, West Lafayette, USA. Her expertise is the design of diagnostic and therapeutic medical devices for low resource settings.

In 2016 the division secured a 1st place Innovation Award from the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, USA and in 2017 the 2nd place Innovation Prize for Africa for the design of the ECGF infusion set. UIRI has partnered with University of Pisa, Italy and five other partners on the UBORA project to design a Euro-African Open Biomedical Engineering e-Platform for the co-creation of open source medical devices funded by a European Union Horizon 2020 grant. She is a member of the African Biomedical Engineering Consortium (ABEC), IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) and the Canadian

Medical and Biological Engineering Society (CMBES).


Almedin Kavas (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Corresponding Member

Almedin is an electrical engineer, specialising in electrical power and energy field.
Almedin is currently working as Operation Manager at TSCNET Services, one of Europe’s
leading Regional Security Coordinators (RSCs). Almedin graduated from the University
of Sarajevo, where he received a BSc (in 2014) and MSc (in 2016) having a major in
Electrical Power Engineering.


Almedin’s volunteering experience in IEEE began in early 2013, when he started to serve as a membership development officer at the Industrial Applications Society (IAS) and very fast grew into an influencer, serving as a University of Sarajevo Student Branch Chair (2015-2016) and as a YP Chair of Bosnia and Herzegovina Section (2016-2018).


In addition, Almedin is a recipient of the IEEE MGM R8 award for the year 2015. Besides, Almedin volunteers for the World Scout Foundation. Almedin brings a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, strongly motivated by the volunteering activities he participates in and trying to help young professionals to understand the startup ecosystem and to make a first step in.






Wafa Ben Hmida (Tunisia), Corresponding Member

Wafa Ben Hmida is a London-based Software Developer currently working as a Software Developer in Test for Ocado Technology. Previously, she has experience of software quality assurance for the BMW Group.

She is a strong advocate of female participation in STEM careers and have given talks on the subject in conferences in Tunisia, Poland, Germany and USA. She is also a member of the Women in Engineering committee for Europe, Middle East and Africa for IEEE.


Previous R8 WIE Committees

Thanks for all the dedicated volunteers who, for years, were serving Women Engineers in IEEE Region 8. Previous Committees include:


  • Taqua Khairy (Cypurs), Coordinator
  • Farzaneh Abdollahi (Iran)
  • Messaouda Azzouzi (Algeria)
  • Joyce Mwangama (South Africa)


  • Simay Akar (Turkey), Coordinator
  • Reem Turky (Saudi Arabia West)
  • Farzaneh Abdollahi (Iran)
  • Messaouda Azzouzi (Algeria)
  • Safa Ismail (Egypt)
  • Joyce Mwangama (South Africa)


  • Joyce Mwangama (South Africa), Coordinator
  • Reem Turky (Saudi Arabia West)
  • Bernadette Bouchon-Meunier (France)

2013 Committee

R8 WIE Committee 2013

The IEEE Women in Engineering of Region 8 would like to address the following issues (particularly during WIE sessions and events at IEEE conferences):

  • how to prepare high school girls to make an unprejudiced choice regarding their study and careers in Science & Engineering and give them good background for that;
  • how to seal the academic pipeline of women in order to minimize the “pipe leakage” phenomena;
  • how to overcome barriers to the advancement of women in Science & Engineering;
  • and how to balance career and family life.

The R8 WIE committee in Region 8 is made up of member from IEEE WIE Section Affinity Groups and Student Branch Affinity Group Chairs from Region 8:

Region 8 Women in Engineering Coordinator Team

Joyce Mwangama (South Africa) – Chair
Reem Turky (Saudi Arabia West) – Corresponding Advisor
Bernadette Bouchon Meunier (France) – Corresponding Advisor

Section Affinity Groups (AG Chairs)

Bahrain – Eshaa Alkhalifa
Benelux – Teodora Emilia Motoasca
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Lejla Banjanovic-Mehmedovic
Croatia – Vlatka Paunovic
Egypt – Nevin Darwish
France – Laura Marti Tordera
Germany – Friederike Wendler
Iraq – Yasmin AL-Agrash
Israel – Yael Nemirovsky
Jordan – Arwa Abbadi Jwaifel
Kuwait  – Bashayer Al-Awad
Lebanon – Mariette Awad
Poland – Barbara Obryk
Portugal – Professor Filomena Soares
Saudi Arabia – Najat Abu-Haliqa
Western Saudi Arabia – Reem Turky
Serbia and Montenegro – Vladanka Acimovic-Raspopovic
South Africa – Chioniso Kuchwa-Dube
Slovenia – Emilija Stojmenova
Spain – Charo Gil
Switzerland – Samina Husain
Tunisia – Ilhem Kallel
Turkey – Sule Oguducu
United Arab Emerates – Maryam Al Thani
UKRI – Dr. Teresa M. Schofield

Student Branch Affinity Groups (AG Chairs)

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium/Benelux Section) – Borbala Hunyadi
University of Zagreb (Croatia Section) – Jelena Matovina
Alexandria University (Egypt Section) – Ramy Ibrahim Omar
Arab Acedemy For Science and Tech (Egypt Section – Yomna F. Heikor
Modern science and arts university (Egypt Section) – Noha Moustafa Rashad
Passau University (Germany Section) – Jürgen Bickert
Democritus University of Thrace (Greece Section) – Nikolaos Tsiantoulas
University of Central Greece (Greece Section) – Raisa Angelidou
Al-balqa Applied Univerty (Jordan Section)  – Bushra Zakaria Al-Habashneh
German Jordanian University (Jordan Section) – Enas Abboud
Hashemite University (Jordan Section) – Hadeel Al-Asaad
Jordan University of Science and Tech (Jordan Section) – Hadeel H Awad
Princess Sumaya University for Tech (Jordan Section) – Dina Masri
University of Jordan (Jordan Section) – Fatima Jawad AL_Hamad
American University of Beirut (Lebanon Section) – Nadida Raad
Beirut Arab University (Lebanon Section) – Ziad A Osman
Notre Dame University – Lebanon (Lebanon Section) – Joan Farho
Polytechnic of Namibia Namibia
Eindhoven Technische Nertherlands (Netherlands/Benelux Section) – Femke Van Belzen
Ambrose Alli University (Nigeria Section) – Oho Ikechukwu Polycarp Nnamdi
Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Nigeria Section) – Obianuju Okonkwo
Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria Section) – Sarumi Bolatito Risikat Ajoke
University of Ibadan (Nigeria Section) – Toulope Falaye
University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria Section) – Chinwe P Omaegbu
Instituto Superior (Portugal Section) – Joao Dias
Iscte University of inst of Lisbon (Portugal Section) – Patricia Duarte Mateus
Texan A&M university at Qatar (Qatar Section) – Fatima Ali
Cyril and Methodius (Rep of Macedonia Section) – Jasmina Bujaroska
Biysk Technological Instutute (Russia Section) – Natalya Bedina
University of Cape Town (South Africa Section) – Magnaem Simon
University of Pretoria (South Africa Section) – Rina Helena Mostert
CPS Universidad De Zaragoza (Spain Section) – Pablo Herrero Tomas
Escuela Tec Sup De Ing Tele – Valencia (Spain Section) – Meli Delgado Calot
Universidad De Sevilla (Spain Section)
Universidad Nacional De Educacion a Distancia (Spain Section) – German Carro Fernandez
Royal Institute of Technology KTH (Sweden Section) – Nasim Farahini
Ecole Nationale D’Ingenieurs De SFAX (Tunisia Section) – Fatma Elleuch
Ecole Nationale D’Ingenieurs De Tunis (Tunisia Section) – Sonia DjaziriLarbi
Bilkent University (Turkey Section)
Dogus University (Turkey Section) – Nazli Turker
Erciyes Universitesi (Turkey Section) – Tugba Ertugrul
Hacettepe University (Turkey Section) – Aysin Cetin
Istanbul Technical University (Turkey Section) – Ilkcan Bilgin
Izmir Ekonomi Universitesi (Turkey Section) – Seren Kuru
Lviv Polytechnic National Univ (Ukraine Section) – Maryna Kushnir
Ajman University of Science and Tech (United Arab Emirates Section) – Tazeen Sharif
American University in Dubai (United Arab Emirates Section) – Mahra Mohammed AL Khaja
Birla Institute of Technology and Science (United Arab Emirates Section) – Swarnalatha R
Higher Colleges of Tech, Sharjah womens college (United Arab Emirates Section) – Widad Suwaidi
The Petroleum Institute (United Arab Emirates Section) – Nada Abdul Kareem Al-Hamar
United Arab Emirates University  (United Arab Emirates Section) – Hend Alqamzi
University of Sharjah (United Arab Emirates Section) – Noora Y Esmail
Queen Mary University of London (UKRI Section) – Roya Haratian
University of Southampton (UKRI Section) – Hamza A Rouabah
University of York (UKRI Section) – Selen Toplu

WIE Coordinator 2011

Greetings from Ferdinanda Ponci, WIE Region 8 Coordinator.

I am very happy to have this opportunity to contribute in facilitating the entry, development, retention and success of women in the technical professions, particularly in our Region.

I graduated with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano in Italy, and entered the academic world as an Assistant Professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia in the USA. I am currently apl. Professor at the Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems at the E.ON Energy Research Center at RWTH University in Aachen, Germany. I have served as Society Liaison with WIE and in other capacities for the IEEE PELS and IMS.