LAU School of Engineering Hosts the 1st Edition of the IEEE Regional Mentoring Program

Engineering students from across Lebanon meet with industry-leading experts in a career-focused symposium.

By Sara Makarem

More than 150 students from universities nationwide attended the event.
IEEE Young Professionals members and industry experts led the interactive panel discussion.
Micro-sessions took place featuring 13 mentors from different professional backgrounds.

In today’s fast-changing AI-driven world, engaging with industry has become integral to education. As technological advancements reshape industries and job requirements, academic institutions must ensure that students possess real-world insights, and the skills and knowledge of new trends to navigate a dynamic market.

Achieving this takes many forms at LAU: updating curricula to meet industry-relevant topics, fostering a culture of research and innovation and working hand-in-hand with industry, among others.

Recently, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the School of Engineering, in collaboration with LAU’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch, went one step further to host the IEEE Lebanon Day – Mentor Meet-Up at Byblos campus on December 2.

The event celebrated the launch of the first edition of the IEEE Mentoring Program in Lebanon, “an initiative to connect mentors with mentees with the same technical goals seeking educational and career guidance,” said Ziad Diab, a senior member of the IEEE and regional specialist of the IEEE Mentor Meet-Up.

The event also served as a networking platform for students and young professionals across engineering fields and showcased their talents to industry-leading experts in the region through an interactive panel discussion and several parallel sessions.

“The transition from academia to the professional world can be overwhelming,” said Dr. Chadi Abou Rjeily, chair of the ECE department at LAU. “Through mentorship, students learn from young professionals’ experiences and mistakes; it is an added value that we, as academicians, cannot provide.”

Notably, LAU’s IEEE Student Branch played a leading role in co-organizing this large-scale event, which drew more than 150 attendees from universities nationwide. The decision to entrust the club with this responsibility follows a professional and strategic restructuring led by its members to consolidate the AI Club, Robotics Club, Power and Energy Club, Logistics Automation Club, and the Women in Engineering Club.

“This restructuring aims to expose club members to diverse fields and engineering backgrounds,” said Tracy Al Achkar, a fourth-year electrical engineering student and vice chairperson of the LAU IEEE Student Branch. “It helps students discover their preferences and identify the career path that best suits them.”

The advanced organization of this year’s LAU IEEE Student Branch, added Elio Aoun, chair of the IEEE Young Professionals in Lebanon, “highlighted by the success of the previous IEEE Student Branch event, positioned LAU as the ideal launchpad for our initiative.”

The Lebanese Association for Digital Transformation represented by Randa Al Rifai signed a memorandum of understanding with the IEEE Lebanon Section, represented by Dr. Hadi Kenaan. That the signing ceremony took place at LAU, said Dr. Abou Rjeily, is a tribute to the university’s commendable efforts in hosting and co-organizing various IEEE events. The event was also sponsored by Empowch represented by Moataz Alobaid. All three representatives were also among the 13 mentors present at the event.

Dr. Joe Tekli, assistant provost for Strategic Planning and Academic Initiatives and Collaborations and advisor of the LAU IEEE Student Branch, stressed the importance of this long day, as the university seeks to promote the activities of its international student branches and engage LAU students with the latest global trends and technologies.