Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Industry and Academia: An Ideal Worth Investing in


In this panel, some of the less-discussed aspects of EDI will be addressed by experts from academia and industry. The benefits of having diverse groups of professionals engaged in various projects will be discussed, and practical ideas on what every one of us can do in this direction will be detailed. The audience will also have the opportunity to ask their questions in the second half of the panel.

This panel has been organized jointly by IEEE Canada and IEEE Systems Council.

Moderator: Amir Aghdam

Panelists: Karen Rudie, Dejan S. Milojicic, Ramalatha Marimuthu, Andrew Alleyne, Bozenna Pasik-Duncan, Tanja Tajmel


Amir G. Aghdam

Amir G. Aghdam is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and an Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University. He was the 2014–2015 President of IEEE Canada and Director (Region 7), IEEE, Inc., and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Systems Journal, chair of the IEEE Control Systems Society Conference Editorial Board, and chair of the IEEE Medals Council. In addition, he is the chair of the IEEE Canada Adhoc Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and co-chair of the IEEE Systems Council Diversity & Inclusion committee.

Karen Rudie

Karen Rudie is a Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Queen’s University. She did her PhD at the University of Toronto and a postdoc at The Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications in Minneapolis. She is the Diversity and Inclusion Chair for the 2022 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control. Her research interests are in the control of discrete-event systems and more recently their application to security problems. Karen is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Dejan S. Milojicic

Dejan is a distinguished technologist and director at HP Labs, Palo Alto, CA, since 1998. Previously, he worked in the OSF Research Institute, Cambridge, MA and Institute “Mihajlo Pupin”, Belgrade, Serbia. He received his PhD from the University of Kaiserslautern, Germany (1993), and his MSc/BSc from Belgrade University, Serbia in 1986 and 1983, respectively. Dejan has more than 200 papers, 2 books and 73 patents. He is an IEEE Fellow since 2010, ACM Distinguished Engineer since 2008, and HKN and USENIX member. He received the IEEE Computer Society Richard Merwin Award.

Ramalatha Marimuthu

Ramalatha Marimuthu, is an educator, entrepreneur and IEEE Impact Creator with passion towards Humanitarian Technology and Service Learning through Projects. Her international talent show, IEEE YESIST12, with participation of students and professionals from more than 20 countries is focusing on creating awareness on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Her passion for women empowerment has conceptualized into the International Returning Mothers Conference for which she is the Founding Chair.

Andrew Alleyne

Professor Andrew Alleyne is the Dean and Bennett Chair in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Previously, he was the Fisher Professor of Engineering and an NSF Engineering Research Center Director at the University of Illinois.  He holds degrees from Princeton and UC Berkeley.  He is a fellow of IEEE, AAAS and ASME. He has a research focus on modeling and control of complex physical systems with twin emphases on manufacturing and energy systems.

Bozenna Pasik-Duncan

Bozenna Pasik-Duncan is a Professor of Mathematics and Courtesy Professor of EECS and Aerospace Engineering at Kansas University. Her research interests include stochastic systems and adaptive control and STEM education. She is the Chair of the IEEE Systems Council Diversity and Inclusion committee. She is a fellow of IFAC and Association for Women in Mathematics and a Life Fellow of the IEEE. She is a recipient of so many prestigious awards, including the IEEE Third Millennium Medal, the Inaugural IFAC Foundation Diversity & Inclusion Award, Kansas University Women’s Hall of Fame, and many more.

Tanja Tajmel

Dr. Tanja Tajmel is Associate Professor at the Centre for Engineering in Society, Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science (GCS), Concordia University, Montreal, and holds a Tier 2 Concordia University Research Chair in “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)”. At GCS she is also Special Advisor to the Dean for EDI. Her research focusses on studying EDI in STEM research, teaching, and curriculum development.


iMERIT (Interdisciplinary Marine Engineering Research and Industrial Training) is a seven-year, $1.65 million NSERC CREATE grant based at Dalhousie University, the University of New Brunswick, the University of Prince Edward Island and Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The iMERIT grant program brings together researchers, innovators and professionals from academia, industry, professional organizations and government agencies to carry out research and training in marine technology, to address challenges of ocean exploration and to facilitate trainees’ smooth transition from university education into industrial career. 

Since 2019, a total of 36 students are part of or have completed the program.

Young Professionals Mentorship

(SME, consultants, contractors)
Kathleen Svendsen
Research Engineer
(Lloyd’s Register, NS)
Amir Aghdam
(Concordia University,
Stephane Blouin
Sr. Defence Scientist
(DRDC Atlantic, NS)
Nehad El-Sherif
(MNKYBR Technologies, SK)
Marcel Lefrancois
Head | Domain Specialism
(Ultra Maritime Systems,
Mae Seto
Associate Professor
(Dalhousie University, NS)
Brandy Armstrong
Oceanographer/ Hydrologist
(U.S. Geological Survey, USA)
Niru Somayajula
President & CEO
(Sensor Technology Ltd., ON)

YP will investigate sectors that employ engineers and see what a career within each might be like. The
YP Mentorship panel consists of recognized professionals from industry, academia, government and
SME entrepreneur sectors to facilitate discussions and answer questions. The mentors are equal parts
engineers from inside and outside of Nova Scotia. Students will circulate through each of the 4 sectors
and are encouraged to engage and ask questions of the mentors. In the last 15 minutes mentors and
students will get up from their tables to informally network over light refreshments.

Topics include: interesting and fulfilling work, education (post-grad, learned societies, project
management, business skills, other), certification (P.Eng., PMP, etc.), flexible work
arrangements (remote from home, geographic locations, flexible hours), work-life
balance, two-career couples, etc. – bring up other topics if they are of interest to you

Session Panelists (PDF)