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Engineering grad student recognized globally for academic and humanitarian accomplishments

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: September 3, 2020 1:01 p.m.

Usman Munawar, an electronic systems engineering graduate student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was one of only five globally to receive a 2020 IEEE Power & Energy Society Outstanding Student Scholarship. Munawar was the only student in Canada to receive the prestigious scholarship.
Usman Munawar, an electronic systems engineering graduate student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was one of only five globally to receive a 2020 IEEE Power & Energy Society Outstanding Student Scholarship. Munawar was the only student in Canada to receive the prestigious scholarship. Photos: Usman Manuwar

A University of Regina postgraduate has been recognized as one of the world’s best electronic engineering students by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (IEEE) Power & Energy Society (PES).

Usman Munawar, a masters of electronic systems engineering student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, was recently awarded a 2020 IEEE PES Outstanding Student Scholarship. From a global pool of more than 10,000 student members, Munawar was one of the five recipients of the scholarship and the only student from Canada. 

Originally from Pakistan, Munawar completed his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from COMSATS University Islamabad, Lahore Campus and worked as a Senior Research Officer/Adjunct Lecturer at the KICS University of Engineering and Technology, also in Lahore. 

Munawar
Munawar giving a technical talk at the
U of R.

When deciding where to complete his masters, Munawar was drawn to Regina based on the research interest he shared with the U of R’s Dr. Zhanle Wang. He was impressed by the reputation of the U of R’s electronic systems engineering program and saw an opportunity to have a positive impact within the institution.

“I was really attracted to the diversity on campus – of people and of programs. As the U of R is a smaller institution, I knew that I would have opportunities to add value and help to create a difference in the campus community,” said Munawar. 

Since arriving at the U of R, Munawar has become president of the Engineering Graduate Students’ Association, earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average, received a MITACS Research Training award, had 12 journal and conference publications, and has travelled around the world to present technical talks and research. He also volunteers with the University of Regina Faculty Association as a sessional committee member and has organized 10 technical engineering activities around campus.

Munawar has worked extensively locally, nationally, and globally with IEEE including his role as Student Activity Committee Chair, founding and chairing the joint IEEE PES/Industry Application Society joint technical chapter with IEEE South Saskatchewan, leading the IEEE IAS Global Humanitarian Projects Contest, and volunteering with IEEE Canada as vice-chair of the Conference Advisory Committee and a member of the Award and Recognition & Nomination Committee.

Through IEEE, Munawar has completed humanitarian work including a Smart Village project in Nepal, helping to bring electricity to off-the-grid communities. He has also given back in his native Pakistan, setting up a smart computer lab for K-12 students.

The IEEE scholarship, which includes a $10,000 financial award, recognizes PES Student Members based on academic achievements, contributions to meeting community and humanitarian needs, and leadership within PES. 

“Given his outstanding academic performance, his contributions to the community, and his work with fellow students, Usman is a fantastic student and a selfless person,” said Wang, Munawar’s supervisor. “As the only student in the whole country to receive this award, he is very deserving and I am ever so pleased to hear of his accomplishment.”

Dr. Esam Hussein, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences, echoed the Faculty’s excitement for such a deserving student to receive recognition at the global level.

“We at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences are so proud of Usman and are honoured to have a student of his caliber in one of our graduate programs."

IEEE is a global professional community of more than 420,000 electrical engineers from 160 countries. It is the world’s largest association of technical professionals and provides technical and educational tools towards advancing the electrical engineering field.

Within the IEEE is the Power & Energy Society which provides the world's largest forum for sharing the latest in technological developments in the electric power industry, setting standards that guide the development and construction of equipment and systems, and for educating members of the industry and the general public.

Munawar is humbled to be acknowledged by IEEE and the PES for his accomplishments and knows that recognition from one of the world’s largest professional organizations will help differentiate him when applying for electrical engineering jobs, wherever his career takes him.

“Receiving a scholarship from such a prestigious institute will go a long way in advancing my career,” said Munawar. “My experience at the U of R and the IEEE scholarship will surely open up opportunities for me around the world!”