Curtin Sarawak graduate first Malaysian to win 2014 IEEE Larry K. Wilson Award

Miri – 19 December 2014 – Esther Ling Pi Ya, an electrical power engineering graduate of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) enjoys the distinction of being the first Malaysian to win the prestigious 2014 Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Region 10 Larry K. Wilson Award.

The award recognises a student member in each region where IEEE student branches are established who is the most responsible for an extraordinary accomplishment associated with student activities and shows a pattern of dedication and ongoing service to his or her student branch.

Student nominees are judged primarily on the impact of their accomplishment on the quality of student activities within the region and the IEEE as a whole. The award is sponsored by the IEEE Member and Geographic Activities (MGA) Board.

Ling, who was the 2013 – 2014 President of Curtin Sarawak’s IEEE Student Branch, will receive the award at the IEEE Region 10 Congress to be held in Sri Lanka next year. The award consists of a customised award plaque, a digital certificate and three years of complimentary membership in IEEE.

The other 2014 award recipients are Adrian Kwok-Hang Wong from The University of British Columbia, Canada (Region 7); Josip Balen from University Osijek, Croatia (Region 8); and Ambika Jagmohansingh from University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago (Region 9).

Ling was chosen as a winner due to her excellent achievements while serving her student branch. She was elected to the R10 (Asia Pacific) Student Activities Committee for 2014; initiated the first Malaysia Section Student Congress in 2013, which aimed to bridge the gap between East and West Malaysian members and provide networking opportunities for students; and represented Malaysia at the R10 Student Congress 2013 in Hyderabad, India.

Apart from that, she revived the IEEE student membership at Curtin Sarawak; organised the first national exhibition for IEEE Curtin Sarawak; as well as championed the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) ‘Science on Wheels’ programme in collaboration with the university’s Department of University Life.

Ling attributes her achievement to her continuous dedication, as well as the immense support received from senior lecturers of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Curtin Sarawak’s Faculty of Engineering and Science, Dr. Garenth Lim King Hann and Terence Tan Peng Lian, and former lecturer Dr. Alpha Agape.

“It is a great honour to be the first Malaysian to receive this award. I hope it encourages other students to do bigger things and not limit themselves. I also hope more students will see the benefit of becoming IEEE international members,” said Ling.

A former student of St. Teresa Secondary School, Kuching, Ling was the recipient of the 2013 and 2014 Sarawak Higher Education Foundation Outstanding Leadership Award and Curtin’s 2013 Vice-Chancellor’s List Award.

As a student committed to community outreach, she was the leader of ‘The Forgotten Smiles’ project, a project under the John Curtin Leadership Academy (JCLA), Curtin University’s student leadership programme. The dental outreach project was aimed at improving the dental health and hygiene of remote Penan communities in the interior, in addition to raising public awareness, particularly amongst urban Malaysians, of the plight of the Penans and their lack of access to health services.

In 2013, she initiated ‘The Pencil Box’, a student newsletter website that provides subscribers with thought-provoking articles on self-development, leadership and creative learning.

IEEE, founded in the United States, is the world’s largest technical professional society and serves to advance innovation and technology for the benefit of humanity. Its members consist of professionals from the electrical, electronic and computing fields as well as areas related to science and technology. The IEEE Student Branch at Curtin Sarawak was established in 2008 and currently has about 50 members.


Ling is honoured to be the first Malaysian to receive the IEEE Larry K. Wilson Award.

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