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New Zealand Central Section Young Professionals

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The IEEE Young Professionals is an international community of innovative members and volunteers. Members of this community are interested in elevating their professional image, expanding their global network, connecting with peers locally and giving back to the community. Originally this group was referred to as GOLD - Graduates of the Last Decade. The NZ Central Section created a GOLD Affinity group before adopting the new title of Young Professionals. A brief history of the GOLD Group is presented below following the topic describing the current Young Professionals Affinity Group in the NZ Central Section, office bearers and planned events for the coming year.

Young Professionals in NZ Central Section

In 2014, the IEEE changed the designation of this group from GOLD to Young Professionals. The NZ Central Section made the name change as required and this group continues to the present day. The current chair and vice-chair are given below. Events organised by this group are regularly featured on the Central Section home page. Past events can be viewed as part of the Section's record of past events

Young Professionals 2020

Chair: Dr Bach Hoai Nguyen

Bach Nguyen

Dr Bach Hoai Nguyen received his BSc with First Class Honours and the PhD in computer science at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in 2015 and 2018, respectively. He is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Victoria University of Wellington.

His research focuses mainly on evolutionary computation, feature selection, feature construction, multi-objective optimisation and transfer learning.

Dr Nguyen is a member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS). He is currently the Chair of the IEEE Task Force on Evolutionary Feature Selection and Construction. He has been serving as a reviewer for over 10 international journals and conferences in the field such as IEEE TEVC, IEEE TCYB, Swarm and Evolutionary Computation, AAAI, IJCAI, IEEE CEC, GECCO and SEAL.

Vice-chair: Dr Andrew Lensen

Andrew Lensen

Dr Lensen received his BSc, BSc (Hon 1st class), and PhD degrees in Computer Science from Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) in 2015, 2016, and 2019, respectively. He is currently a lecturer at School of Engineering and Computer Science, VUW.

His current research interests are mainly in the use of evolutionary computation for feature manipulation in unsupervised learning, with a particular focus on the use of genetic programming for manifold learning, clustering, and feature synthesis. He also maintains an interest in other areas of AI, including neuroevolution, image analysis, and hybridisation of evolutionary and probabilistic AI techniques.

Dr Lensen is a member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society. He has been served as a reviewer for several international conferences, including the IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation, and international journals, such as the IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation and the IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics.

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Treasurer: Fangfang Zhang

Fangfang Zhang

Fangfang Zhang received her B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China, in 2014 and 2017, respectively. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in computer science with the School of Engineering and Computer Science, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She has over 20 journal and conference papers. Her current research interests include evolutionary computation, hyper-heuristic, job shop scheduling, and multitasking optimisation. Miss. Zhang is a member of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society and Association for Computing Machinery, and has been severing as reviewers for top international journals such as the IEEE Transactions on Cybernetics, and conferences including the IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation. She is also a committee member of the IEEE NZ Central Section.


Please watch this space for more upcoming events as well as events relevant to the wider Central Section Community listed on the main home page of the Central Section.

Special Student and Young Professionals Event - Thursday, May 13, 2021

Are you an undergraduate student and hesitating whether to to do postgraduate study or an industry job? Are you a postgraduate student and hesitating whether to have an academic career or industry career?

The IEEE New Zealand Central Section Young Professionals and Student Branches will help you answer the above pivotal questions by organising an event, “Success After Graduation”. The event benefits a wide range of students, including undergraduate and postgraduate students. We invited four speakers who have extensive knowledge in both academic and industry environments to offer a broad view from both perspectives. We can also provide a Zoom link for people who cannot attend in person. Following the discussion, free pizza is provided for networking and any further discussions.

The event flyer is available from here. If you are interested in the event, please register by May 12, 2021.
Details are as follows:

Date: 5:00-7:00 pm, Thursday, May 13, 2021
Venue: AM106, Alan Macdiarmid Building, Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Campus
Title: Success After Graduation
Cost: Free
Zoom link:

1. Dr Murray Milner: He is widely recognised within his profession for his leadership in ICT development in New Zealand, including being presented with the Chairman’s award by the Telecommunications User Association of NZ (TUANZ) 2005. He has been awarded Fellowships to work and study in both the UK and USA during his career. He is a Fellow of IPENZ, an active member of IET and IEEE and is on the editorial panel for the Telecommunications Journal of Australia. He is currently serving as Secretary and Immediate Past Chair of IEEE NZ Central Section.

2. Prof Bing Xue: Professor Xue received her PhD degree in 2014 at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She is currently a Professor in Computer Science at VUW and leading the Postgraduate Artificial Intelligence program at VUW. She is active in IEEE activities and is now leading the Women in Engineering group, IEEE NZ Central Section.

3. A/Prof Ramesh Rayudu: He is currently an Associate Professor with VUW. He has more than 15 years of industrial work experience both in India and New Zealand. He is also involved in consultation work for several international firms in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, and the USA. He is a very active IEEE member and is currently the Chair of the local PES Chapter.

4. Dr Yi Mei: He is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Computer Science, Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), New Zealand. Before joining VUW, he worked as a Provost’s Research Associate (2010-2012, Financial Optimization) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and ARC Discovery Research Fellow (2012-2015, Large Scale Optimisation) RMIT University, Australia. He is an IEEE Senior Member and is currently serving as chair of the IEEE NZ Central Section.

Event report:

The event was organised for both Young Professionals and students from IEEE NZ Central Section. The students were mainly from Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University. For students, especially those graduating soon, knowing precisely what they want to do or having a good understanding of the types of jobs and careers available upon completing university study is essential for their professional lives. However, many students are not aware of which career paths (industry or academia) are available to them, which prevents them from preparing for their chosen paths during and after their studies. Thus, this event provided students with more knowledge about both academic and industry paths. We invited the four speakers, listed above, from both academia and industry to offer a broad view from both perspectives.


  • IEEE Young Professional Affinity Group, IEEE NZ Central Section
  • Student Branch, Victoria University of Wellington Student Branch, Massey University
  • Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Central Section Chapter
There were 34 attendees including 30 people attending in-person and 4 people attending via Zoom. The attendees were from diverse levels of students including both undergraduate students (13 out of 34) and postgraduate students (21 out of 34).

The event went smoothly with the four talks given by our four speakers from both industry and academia sides. All the talks were very informative with much useful advice from the speakers for the students. After the four talks, there were many interesting questions from students, ranging from what they should prepare in their undergraduate studies, to what kinds of research topics to select for their postgraduate studies. The interaction between students and speakers was fascinating. Finally, everyone enjoyed the pizza party and networking. The whole event lasted for almost two hours.
YPEvent_1 YPEvent_2

Event: Transitioning from Academia to Industry


The YP group of IEEE NZ Central Section is going to hold an event (a panel discussion) about "Transitioning from Academia to Industry" at Victoria University of Wellington. We have invited four speakers who obtained their PhD degrees from Victoria University of Wellington and Massey University. They are currently working in the industry and very happy to share their experiences with our young professionals.

The group would like to invite our section members to join the event. Your participation is an honour to the YP group. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated to benefit the hosting of better events in the future.

The event details are as follows (or you can see the attached flyer).

Date: 6:00-7:00 pm, Tuesday 17 November 2020
Venue: AM106, Alan Macdiarmid Building, Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Campus
Title: Transitioning from Academia to Industry: a Panel Discussion

  1. Dr Shima Afzali, Data Scientist, Contact Energy Ltd
  2. Dr Samantha Arazi, Data Scientist, Kāinga Ora - Homes and Communities
  3. Dr Chanjief Chandrakumar, Senior Policy Analyst
  4. Dr Yiming Peng, Senior Data Engineer, Chorus NZ Limited
Cost: Free

The YP group would like to thank the IEEE NZ Central Section and Victoria University of Wellington for sponsoring for the event.>

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GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Group

The IEEE NZ Central GOLD group was formed in late 2011 to cater to the professional development of young IEEE members in the section and young professional engineers in the Wellington region. The group organised career development talks by successful engineers, professional development seminars and workshops as well as events related to current developments in engineering and technology.

The original GOLD committee consisted of three young engineers working in Wellington:

Rahul Mehta

Rahul received his BE(Hons) in electrical engineering from the University of Auckland in 2007, and his Masters in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010. He is currently working as a Radio Spectrum Planning Engineer in the NZ government and previously worked as an Engineering Consultant at Kordia.
He is also currently the industry relations coordinator of the NZ Central section. His previous IEEE involvement has been in the NZ North GOLD group, the IEEE Central Texas section and the University of Auckland student branch. His interests outside work include playing cricket, golf and tennis.


Chuan-Zheng Lee

Chuan-Zheng received his BE(Hons) in electrical and electronic engineering from the University of Auckland in 2010, and has since worked as a Signal Processing Engineer for Aviat Networks.  He is also currently the secretary of NZ Central Section. In previous IEEE roles, Chuan-Zheng has served as chair of the University of Auckland Student Branch, programme director for the Region 10 Student/GOLD/WIE Congress Auckland 2011, GINI Co-ordinator for Australia and New Zealand and has sat on the Region 10 Student Activities Committee. Outside of work, his interests include debating and running.


Treasurer & Secretary

Jeremy joined the IEEE NZ Central GOLD committee as a founding member in 2011, having previously been an IEEE member for 8 years. Jeremy graduated with a B.Eng(Hons) followed by a M.Eng at the University of Canterbury. He has since worked in a variety of roles, including video image processing in Christchurch, network optimisation software in Melbourne, LTE PHY development in Germany, and is currently a Senior Software Engineer at Aviat Networks in Lower Hutt. his interests outside work include watching sport and playing Hockey, and trying to improve his German language skills.

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