Virendra Pratap Singh Rathore, currently employed as a software engineer at Optum, is an active IEEE volunteer. He received the Larry K. Wilson Regional Student Activities Award 2021 for his contributions as a student volunteer. He shared the experiences and the knowledge he gained on the journey with IEEE during the IEEE Student Awards Awareness Session on Larry K. Wilson Regional Student Activities Award conducted by IEEE LINK. Here are some insights that he shared.

How can IEEE student members gain experience?

You can gain experience in IEEE through participation, volunteering, and holding positions in different committees. Participation in events and conferences is necessary to bud into a good volunteer. It can give you the exposure you require to conduct events. The next step is volunteering. It provides opportunities to develop skills and networks. Holding positions in different committees can help with your leadership skills.

How can student members select suitable voluntary roles?

It is not about the method you use to select voluntary roles; it is about doing them right. Whatever position you choose, try to excel by mastering the required skills. If you are not confident about the different roles, try choosing posts you find challenging. It will help you learn new skills. Try everything.

Can you please tell us about the IEEE positions you held back in your college days, which you believe enabled you to get this award?

During my first year at college, I focused on participating in events rather than volunteering. In my second year at college, I volunteered as the Social Media Coordinator at my student branch. I handled all social media profiles of my student branch, like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The following year, I got promoted to Secretary. During my time in this role, I tried to understand the structure of the student branch and looked for ideas to expand. It led to the formation of different society chapters in our college. Later on, I got promoted to the chairperson of my student branch. Through my efforts and with the support of my peers, our student branch expanded from 10 members to 200 members.

Can you share an important lesson you learned in your IEEE journey?

The first time I tried to volunteer for an event, they rejected me, indicating that I lacked experience. It then happened multiple times. I was very dejected. I enquired about this situation, and they assured me that keeping on trying brings results. So, I did that and, within two months, I got another opportunity. I learned that trying without giving up hope can bring good outcomes.

How did the Larry K Wilson award further your vision of volunteering with IEEE?

Winning this award, without any doubt, impacted my network. This award added credibility to my voice. People become aware that you have done excellent work for this community. This award speaks for you. It helps us get better initiatives and impact a wider audience.

"Finish up the application in the best way you can. Don't think about the results. Just. Do. It."