IEEE
You are not logged in, please sign in to edit > Log in / create account  

IEEE Shreveport Section History

From GHN

Revision as of 16:31, 12 March 2010 by Administrator1 (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

Abstract

The IEEE Shreveport Section, a section member of IEEE Region 5, was formed in 1947. It had served engineers in Southwestern Arkansas, Northeast Texas, and North Louisiana down to Natchitoches County and is ideally defined as a small section. Geographically, it is at a disadvantage since its members are spread out throughout the section. Since its founding, the IEEE Shreveport Section struggled to exist due to its geographical disadvantage. This narrative covers the history of the IEEE Shreveport Section, its struggles and recent revival due to new initiates that are being undertaken that suits our unique situation.

Introduction

The IEEE Shreveport Section, a section member of IEEE Region 5, was formed in 1947. In the 1990s, it used to serve 3 student branches, a subsection and chapter. It had served engineers in southeastern Arkansas, northeastern Texas, and South Louisiana down to Natchitoches County. Hence, it is ideally defined as a small section. Geographically, it is at a disadvantage since its members, especially those who are actively contributing towards the section, are spread out throughout the section. Our members need to travel far just to meet which requires long travelling time and increased gas consumption. We are unlike sections such as the IEEE Dallas and Forth Worth Sections where majority of their members work, live and meet in the Dallas–Forth Worth area. Since its founding, especially in the 90s, the Shreveport Section struggled to exist due to this geographical disadvantage. As a result, in 2007, its only subsection was dissolved. Its only chapter, the Power and Energy Society Chapter, collapsed in early 2000. The student branches were left to themselves to survive. The IEEE Region 5 tried their best to revive the Section. However, in fall 2007, Texas A&M University at Texarkana hired a young assistant professor, Dr Victor Govindaswamy for its new Computer Science program. Within the first month after being hired, he decided to start an IEEE student branch at the university and tried to contact the Executive Committee of the IEEE Shreveport Section, without knowing that its committee had ceased to exist. Eventually, he persuaded another faculty to join and, together with two other volunteers, tried to revive the section. With an organized and dedicated committee, he introduced new initiatives to revive and reorganize the section so that it could function effectively.

Presently, within a brief period, after these new initiatives, it has grown to five student branches and steps are currently being undertaken to revive the Power and Energy Society Chapter. Another student branch is also being planned. In 2008, the student branches, with active support from the section, captured first place in nearly half of the student competitions at the 2008 IEEE Region 5 Technical, Professional, and Student Conference in Kansas City and a student team also captured the first and second place in the 2008 and 2009 IEEE-USA Student Video Competitions respectively. A student member was also awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award (2008) for her service, which was presented to her by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation.

This narrative presents the history of the IEEE Shreveport Section, its struggles and recent revival due to the new initiates that are being undertaken that suits our unique condition.

History of IEEE Shreveport Section

The Beginning, From the year 1947 to 1966

The IEEE Shreveport Section was formed in June 12, 1947 and had 65 members. The first Executive Committee members were as follows:

  • Chair: R.O. Williams
  • Secretary: L.T. Williams

From 1947 to 1953, the IEEE Shreveport Section was listed as a Section. However, from 1954 to 1961, there was no listing of IEEE Shreveport as a Section. In July 25, 1956, 22 members of the IEEE Dallas Section approved the formation of a subsection of the Institute in Shreveport with most of today’s boundary.

From 1962 onwards, IEEE Shreveport was once again listed as a Section. The Bylaws of the IEEE Shreveport Section was approved by the IEEE Executive Committee on March 19th, 1966 meeting. These are the Bylaws which are being followed today by the present IEEE Shreveport Section Executive Committee.

In 1966, the IEEE Shreveport Section included the following:

  1. G-P Chapter
  2. G-A&E / G-IM / G-ComTech Joint Chapter
  3. Monroe Subsection
  4. One Student Branch

The sole student branch was at Louisiana Technological University and was formed on 24th April 1957.

Before the year 2000

Before the year 2000, the IEEE Shreveport Section included the following:

  1. Power and Energy Chapter
  2. Monroe Subsection
  3. Three Student Branches

The three student branches were at Louisiana Technological University, Northwestern State University of Louisiana and Letourneau University. The student branch at Northwestern State University of Louisiana was formed on 8th June 1972 while the student branch at Letourneau University was formed on 3rd September 1969.

From the year 2000 to early 2007

From the year 2000 to early 2007, the IEEE Shreveport Section ran into serious trouble. One or two members ran the whole committee. In the year 2000, its Power and Energy Chapter became non-existent and in early 2007, the Monroe Subsection also became non-existent and was soon dissolved. The three Student Branches were left to themselves to survive without any support from the Section.

History - From Fall 2007 until the present

In fall 2007, Texas A&M University at Texarkana hired a young assistant professor, Dr Victor Govindaswamy for its new Computer Science program. Within the first month after being hired, he decided to start an IEEE student branch at the university and tried to contact the IEEE Shreveport Section, without knowing that its committee had ceased to exist. Eventually, he persuaded another faculty to join and, together with two other volunteers, tried to revive the section. With an organized and dedicated committee, he introduced new initiatives to revive and reorganize the section so that it could function effectively. Presently, within a brief period, due to these new initiatives, the IEEE Shreveport Section has grown to include five student branches, one student chapter and steps are currently being undertaken to revive the Power and Energy Society Chapter and the Monroe Subsection. Another two student branches are also being planned. The new student branches are at Texas A&M University at Texarkana and University of Louisiana-Monroe. The student branch at Texas A&M University at Texarkana was formed on 21th December 2007 while the student branch at University of Louisiana-Monroe was formed on 27th April 2009. In 22nd June 2009, the IEEE Nanotechnology Council Student Branch Chapter at the Louisiana Technical University was formed. In 2008, the student branches, with active support from the section, captured first place in nearly half of the student competitions at the 2008 IEEE Region 5 Technical, Professional, and Student Conference in Kansas City and a student team also captured the first and second place in the 2008 and 2009 IEEE-USA Student Video Competitions respectively. A student member was also awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award (2008) for her service, which was presented to her by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The present executive committee members during this period (Fall 2007 to 2010) are:

  • Chair: Dr. Victor Govindaswamy
  • Vice-Chair: Dr Raul Cruz-Cano (left in 2010)
  • Secretary: Steve Knott
  • Treasurer: John Jones

Membership Growth

In 1948, the IEEE Shreveport Section had 65 members. In 1949 and 1959, its membership grew to 77 and 118 members respectively. In 2000, it had 250 members. Currently due to the new initiatives, our membership had grown to 750 members.

Beginning of the Current Revival Efforts

In fall 2007, Texas A&M University at Texarkana hired Dr Victor Govindaswamy for its new Computer Science program. He decided to start an IEEE student branch at the university and tried to contact the IEEE Shreveport Section, without knowing that its executive committee had ceased to exist. He also wanted to be an active Section member but could not find any of the IEEE Shreveport Section Executive Committee members. The last update on the IEEE Shreveport Section’s webpage and PE 31 website was in 2005 and 2000 respectively. He decided to send emails to numerous IEEE officers outside the section and finally got some response from them and the email address of one of the past IEEE Shreveport Section’s Executive Committee volunteer of the 90s. Dr Govindaswamy met with him and other volunteers to find out on how things were done by past IEEE Shreveport Section’s Executive Committees. He learnt that they appeared to be following the method of certain successful IEEE sections such as the IEEE Dallas and Fort Worth Sections. He realized that these sections always had meetings in a certain city or town which is ideal for sections which have almost all their active members in that city or town. However, he felt that this method is not suitable for the IEEE Shreveport Section due to its geographical situation.

The Root Problem

Since its creation in 1947, geographically, the IEEE Shreveport Section is at a disadvantage since its members, especially those active within the section, are spread out throughout the section. This has led to the collapse of the section on at least two occasions - in years between 1954 and 1961 and between the years of 2000 and early 2007. The members of the IEEE Shreveport Section needed to travel far just to meet which wasted a lot of travel time and gas money. It is unlike sections such as the IEEE Dallas and Fort Worth Sections where majority of their members work, live and meet in the Dallas–Forth Worth area.

Creation of the “Revival” Committee

Dr Govindaswamy persuaded another faculty to join and, together with two other volunteers, tried to revive the section. Firstly, he reorganized the committee and filled it up with dedicated volunteers. Then he introduced new initiatives to revive and reorganize the section so that it could function effectively - not really knowing whether these initiatives would work or not. He divided the section into smaller regions, each centered on a student branch. The idea is to have combined meetings with these student branches. This idea of having meetings, so-called “Distributed Meetings”, is to bring the meetings to as many regions as possible. These will be attended by both student and section members living within or near the region. This new initiative will lead to less travelling time and increase member participation. The advantage for the student branches is that they receive more support including monetary support from the section. These meetings create chances for the student members to meet and mingle with professionals. These meeting also serve as a networking venue for students to interact with professionals, inareas of internships and jobs. They help to develop mentorship between students and professionals, and built a sense of community and identity with others in the same field of interest. Moreover, the IEEE Shreveport members provided a ready supply of professional speakers for these meetings. The section also brings in “external” professional speakers, e.g., speakers from Microsoft. The interaction between student and section members enhances leadership skills of student members with direct interaction with the Section Executive Committee. Section members also learn about university programs and as a result, had enrolled in the university. The advantage for the section are also numerous. The section builds a new core of future section volunteers from the student members by working closely with them. Moreover, there is no need for the section to pay for a meeting place as the meeting will take place in the university. Section volunteers can also stay connected through these meetings with their peers as well as student members. These meetings have led to the current membership growth of 750 members. There are also some drawbacks to these new initiatives. Firstly, the Executive Committee’s workload is tremendous. They need to work closely with each region and the workload increases as the number of regions increases. Moreover, it is very difficult to find dedicated volunteers to implement these initiatives. Secondly, student branches might not want to go along with these initiatives. This changes yearly, depending on each student branch committee.

Initial Results of These New Initiatives

Presently, within a brief period, the IEEE Shreveport Section has grown. It now includes five student branches, a student chapter and has about 750 members – importantly, more active members than ever before in its history. Two regions where these initiatives have been successfully implemented are the regions at Louisiana Technological University and Texas A&M University at Texarkana. Our largest meeting to date was at Louisiana Technological University where 108 members attended. Meetings are held nearly once every month at Texas A&M University at Texarkana where the largest meeting had an attendance of 60 members. The section has also supported the student chapters vigorously, unlike in the past. In 2008, the student branches captured first place in 2 out of 5 student competitions at the 2008 IEEE Region 5 Technical, Professional, and Student Conference in Kansas City. A student team also captured the first and second place in the 2008 and 2009 IEEE-USA Student Video Competitions respectively. A student member was also awarded the President's Volunteer Service Award (2008) for her service, which was presented to her by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. Recently, our active support has created more interest in the universities. Two more student branches were created at Texas A&M University at Texarkana and University of Louisiana-Monroe. The first student chapter was also created - Louisiana Technical University’s IEEE Nanotechnology Council Student Branch Chapter.

Future and Present Plans

Steps are currently being undertaken to revive the Power and Energy Society Chapter and the Monroe Subsection. Two more student branches (i.e. 2 more regions) are also being planned.

Conclusion

So far, these initiatives have worked for the IEEE Shreveport Section. These new initiatives were needed to solve the problems faced by the IEEE Shreveport Section which is a small section. The section is actively looking out for dedicated members to join the Executive Committee so that these initiatives can be carried out in the long run since they require a lot of time and human power.

Link to Section Homepage

IEEE Geographic Unit Organizing Document - Shreveport