We met Marek Jasinski, Chair of the IEEE IES Student and Young Professionals Activity Committee (S&YP-AC). A young, and professional, volunteer that we had the chance to interview – in person this time! Get to know a bit more about Marek, in his mission to help our younger members, but also a bit more personally.
ITeN team: Dear professor, thanks a lot for being with us – in person(!) – today, can you start by telling us about the highlights of your career?
Becoming an engineer was a good way to make a living in the same field I studied. Thus, I was lucky to get involved in a research project related to the subject that I was doing for my master’s and PhD, and that also made it possible for me to earn money while studying.
In the ’80s, when we had our first computer (Atari 800 XL) at my parents’ house, it was a trigger for choosing the computers and engineering orientation.
My first step in IEEE was very early in my career. I started using the TIE journal (IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics) in 1997 and soon ieeexplore.org. I became a member of IEEE 21 years ago, on my first year of PhD study. Later, during the Electronics lecture, Professor Marian Piotr Kazmierkowski proposed to join his research team. But he also warned that it wouldn’t be easy because they were doing work not only to put on the shelves but to be used in practice. And I liked it very much.
IES is like a family to me, a scientific family.
What initially stroke me in our society is that unlike other business meetings, spouses and children are welcome to the main IES events. It was a good point in my understanding of life. Professor John Hung and many others in IES convinced me that bringing our family to conferences is a good way for us parents to show our kids what we do professionally, which is not easy for us scientists compared to other jobs.
ITeN team: Speaking of our Industrial Electronics society, you are also the Chair of the IEEE IES Student and Young Professionals Activity Committee. What would be your mission in this position?
My mission is to support students but also young professionals (Doctors, Professors and Engineers in the industry) to attend our leading conferences.
We try to do our voluntary job as seriously as possible. Which means we try to make this program attractive for young people. And after a few years in the business, I can say that this program is worth it.
Young people, in most cases, are not focused on the monetary support. Because usually, they are paying conferences from their pocket. Some students even take a loan to attend a conference.
For them, receiving the diploma and being visible is a priority. They don’t miss the opportunity to present their 3 minutes talk and to publish the video on the IES YouTube channel.
From all the people I met thanks to this S&YP program, I learned that our members’ motivation is not always only pure science. This is also a matter of relation with others, cooperation and personal interactions.
My experience also proved that conferences are worth the money and time spent. In the last year of my PhD, I went to the ISIE conference in 2004, in Ajaccio. During a very exciting discussion on power electronics, converters and capacitors, a colleague told me that he solved many problems in the simulation by adding small resistors between two converters. This improved my simulation model very simply. Thus, I received much better results—almost the same as in the laboratory setting! Even though the weather in Ajaccio was very bad (the worst since the ’60s!), it was worth going there.
So, if you are focused on a subject, going to a conference and meeting people will help you a lot in your scientific work.
ITeN team: Is there an age limit to be a young professional?
There is no limit to being a young professional because this depends on when you had your first graduation. What matters is not your biological age but your technical skills.
Everybody can be a member of a young professional; it is an affinity group. Exactly as in Women in Engineering, where men are invited to join. I met a young professional in IEEE in Atlanta at the TAB meeting in 2019 who was 96! He was a retired professor, and he was enthusiastic about young professionals.
In our society, the priority is not your age, your gender, the country you are from, or your political background; we only focus on excellence, which means the quality of your paper and the opinion of the reviewers.
ITeN team: What is the relationship between the membership committee and the Young Professional and Student Committee?
Unlike other IEEE societies, in IES the Student & Young Professional Committee is part of the Membership activities. We also have the pleasure of cooperating with Woman in Engineering (WiE), with Chapters Chairs and with Students’ Branch Chapters.
It is essential to encourage our students to establish Industrial Electronics Society student branch chapters in universities because they can obtain support for the activity.
The 3 points that S&YP support are:
- The Travel Paper Assistance
It is our main activity. The Travel paper assistance special program was introduced in 2000. And many professors have received support to present their papers at conferences since.
This program is suitable for everyone:
- Universities can send papers to the conference without cost.
- Professors can publish papers with the students.
- Students can have monetary support and better exposure to their work.
- The Student Forum
The chairman organizing the conference can invite local students who live close to the conference venue. They can support them with free registration or reduced fees for paper. However, the condition is that students only can be authors of a paper.
- And the Students Party
The mission is to organize a social event for all the mentors and students that attend the conference.
ITeN team: Which advice(s) would you give to boost our reader’s career?
Maybe I am too young and not experienced enough to answer. But my advice is to be patient in your research and the field you are searching for.
Unlike school, there is not one only way to reach the goal. The study is a process where the goal is to find out what you are really interested in. It doesn’t mean that you will love your first subject. After a few years, you might realize that maybe this is not the best choice, but you can still change. The best is to be fair with yourself and the colleagues you are cooperating with.
Later, when you have kids, you will also need to find the proper balance with your family because this is something important. It is a permanent challenge that is worth working on.
ITeN team: Now we will talk about something more personal. Whenever, if ever, you manage to get some free time, what are your hobbies?
I spend time with my wife and four kids, of course! I love family walks in the forest.
From time to time, I also like to play video games, mostly with my younger son. But as this is not good for me to sit for many hours with the computer, I often change for running with our dog in the forest and having fun with my family. I’m trying to make some movements because my body is getting older, and this is mandatory.
I know that in the previous question, I said that I was still young. This is a contradictory point. You know, in science, this is normal. Finding out contradictory points helps you find out the optimal solution! So yes, although my mind and experience are still young, my body is getting older.
I also enjoy sightseeing and going to conferences. Somehow, going to conferences and tourism is the same thing. But in my case, conferences are also restful, because I have much more duties at home!
When I go to conferences, it’s easier for me to focus on the volunteering work and on making connections with people.
We would like to thank Prof. Marek Jasinski for having shared about his experience with us.
Stay tuned, we will soon interview other IES officers…