The Institute - June 2020 - TI11




eing an engineer was not on Lisa Lazareck-Asunta's
[above] list of potential careers when she was
young, but a women-in-technology conference
she attended as a teenager changed that. A few years later,
after she was paired with a prosthetist and orthopedic surgeon as part of a mentorship program at her high school
in Winnipeg, Man., Canada, Lazareck-Asunta decided she
was going to specialize in electrical engineering.
She got the opportunity to see the surgeon fit a child
with a prosthetic to elongate the child's shorter leg. She
also observed two knee replacements and one hip replacement from the surgical theater.
"That's where the biotech spark in me was really honed,"
Lazareck-Asunta says. "Even though I was squeamish, I
actually loved the surgery because it was such a mechanical operation. It was the fact that you could do these procedures with the most advanced technology to help people."
The IEEE senior member earned bachelor's and master's
degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Manitoba,
in Winnipeg, and a Ph.D. in engineering science at Oxford.
Shortly after she graduated from Oxford, the Great Recession hit in 2008. She found it nearly impossible to find a
full-time job. After a series of short-term stints, including postdoc work at the City, University of London, she

was hired in 2010 by the Wellcome Trust. The charitable
foundation in London supports science and engineering
research with a biomedical perspective. During her nearly
seven years there, she specialized in charitable grant funding and public engagement with science and engineering.
Lazareck-Asunta left the foundation in 2017. She started
a family and recently joined the University of Reading, in
England, as an impact development manager. She looks
at the effects of research done at the university on areas
outside of academia, such as public policy, the economy,
and business culture.

The chair of the IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) committee has been involved with IEEE since she was a student
member at the University of Manitoba. She helped form the
university's IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society student chapter and became a cochair.
From 2004 onward, she served as the society's student
and IEEE Young Professionals representative. She was
mentored to take over as the society's WIE representative,
and became a voting member of the committee before
becoming the chair. She also helped form the society's
diversity and inclusion committee.


JUN 2020



The Institute - June 2020

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