Hope Foundation in association with the IEEE India Council and Women In Engineering Affinity Group, IEEE Pune Section has instituted the Pralhad P. Chhabria Awards from the year 2017, in memory of Late Shri Pralhad P Chhabria, Founder President, Hope Foundation. These awards applaud academic and professional achievements of young women for their accomplishments in the areas of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Late Shri Pralhad P. Chhabria always encouraged and supported education of young women.  He firmly believed that women have always been far superior to men and have the ability to make whatever they get, greater and providing them with good education in turn ensures that they not only share their knowledge and skills with their family; but harness it for the betterment of the community and the nation.

The awards are listed under the following categories:-

  1. Best Outgoing Female Student (applicable to final year students who are pursuing their UG degree in Science, Engineering or Technology)
  2. Best Women Professional – Early Career (applicable to women professional who have 3-7 years experience in Science, Engineering or Technology)

Receiving this award is a personal challenge and a just competition among all applicants. It is intended to push young women to reach their full potential and be the best; for themselves as well as for those they are associated with. These awards will transform the lives of young women and can play a critical role in their personal and professional development.

Each award comprises of a prize of Rs.1,25,000/- (Rupees One Lac Twenty Five Thousand Only), a medal and a citation which is sponsored by Hope Foundation.

Date of Announcement:

The award application opens during last week of December.

Every year this award is announced on 12th March

12 March is Shri Pralhad P Chhabria’s birthday. Since the award is a tribute to him and it honours his legacy, we decided to choose 12 March as the day to announce these awards.

Details about PPC and his legacy are available on the website –  OR


Winners of 2022

Best Woman Professional (Early Career) – Winner

Saakshi Dhanekar, is an Assistant Professor (Grade 1) with the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Jodhpur. She works in the development of gas- and biosensors based on nanomaterials, heterostructures, and MEMS. Prior to joining IIT Jodhpur, she had worked as SERB Research Scientist and INSPIRE Faculty at Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Centre for Applied Research in Electronics (CARE), IIT Delhi respectively from 2013-2019. 

Best Woman Professional (Early Career) – Runner Up

Neethu George, a power systems researcher with Hitachi Energy Technology Services Private Ltd., Neethu works in the broad area of power system protection, monitoring, and analytics, especially for upcoming grids with increased contribution of renewable energy sources. She is also engaged in the identification of new research problems through discussions with the R&D team, customers, and fellow researchers and eventually, developing innovative solutions for the identified problems, which can be practically implemented and delivered to end customers successfully.

Best Outgoing Student – Winner

Shatakshi Singh Tomar, is a final year student pursuing her B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from Mody University of Science and Technology, Rajasthan. Apart from her curriculum, she has a few research papers that have been published in reputed journals and conferences to her credit. As an active IEEE volunteer with various IEEE Communities across the region including IEEE Delhi Section, IEEE India Council, and currently, is the chairperson of IEEE Student Branch, Mody University of Science and Technology. 

Best Outgoing Student – Runner Up

Nupur Kulkarni, With an excellent academic record throughout her education, Nupur is currently pursuing her B.E. under the Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has been a University Rank holder for merit in academics for two consecutive years. An active student even beyond academics, Nupur has won honors like being one of the finalists at Technology Infusion Grand Challenge 2021 organized by La Trobe University, Australia

Winners of 2021

Best Woman Professional (Early Career) – Winner

Dr. Anupama Ray is an Advisory Research Scientist at IBM Research, India. She is an IBM Quantum Ambassador and a Qiskit Advocate. She completed her Ph.D from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. With her doctoral research focusing on developing and applying multi- dimensional deep recurrent neural networks for document analysis and computer vision applications. At IBM Research she has been predominantly working in the area of natural language processing: building NLP systems for low-resource languages, domain independent  information extraction systems and natural language generation. She has interests in Quantum ML, Quantum NLP, and AI for societal applications. She has published several papers in top tier conferences and journals and has received several Best paper awards. She has been the recipient of the Research Division Award, Eminence and Excellence Award and Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for her innovations and contributions at IBM Research. She was nominated and selected as a Young Scientist in Global Young Scientist Summit and is an active member of IEEE, AAAI, and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) India.

Best Woman Professional (Early Career) – Runner Up

Dr. Lavika Goel is an IEEE Senior member since November 2020. She was born in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India on 20th January 1987. She is Ph.D. (2015), M.E. (2010) and B. Tech (2008) with distinction in Computer Science & Engineering from Delhi Technological University, Delhi, India. Her research areas include nature inspired intelligence, optimization algorithms, hybrid intelligent systems, soft computing, remote sensing, and satellite image processing. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Malaviya National Institute of Technology (NIT), Jaipur, India. She earlier worked at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani during 2015 – 2020. She holds a corporate experience working at Oracle India Private Ltd. She has published around 60 research papers in SCI indexed International conferences, journals and book chapters including Elsevier, IEEE, Taylor and Francis, Springer, etc. She has published a text book on Artificial Intelligence for undergraduate students which got published in January 2021 by Wiley Publications. She received in August 2019, approval of external funding of Rs. 40 lakhs as Co-Principal Investigator from Department of Science and Technology (DST), Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems division for her novel idea of using nature inspired heuristics and deep learning for designing a question answering system. She is a life member of Institution of Engineers India Ltd. (IEI), India and Machine Intelligence and Research Labs (MIR), Washington, USA. She was awarded the prestigious ‘Young Scientist award’ by VIFRA International Foundation in 2015.

Best Outgoing Student – Winner 

Ms.Deeksha M.S is a final year undergraduate student of Electronics and Communication Engineering at the NIT Surathkal. She holds departmental rank one with a CGPA of 9.72/10. Being passionate about researching signal processing applications in a biomedical setting, Deeksha has undertaken multiple projects in collaboration with prestigious institutes such as IISc Bengaluru and EPFL Switzerland. She aims at obtaining a doctoral degree to grow into a skillful biotech entrepreneur and has successfully procured Ph.D. admits to Johns Hopkins University and Georgia Institute of Technology. In her efforts to develop a holistic profile, Deeksha has additionally undertaken multiple extra- curricular activities. She leads the NITK IEEE Student Branch as the Chairperson, where she renders her technical and managerial skills in mentoring projects and organizing events. She has coordinated several national-level hackathons, workshops, and awareness programs in and around the city of Mangalore. Moreover, she is a professionally trained Bharatanatyam dancer and an excellent artist.

Strongly believing in social interdependence, Deeksha strives to contribute to society through her outreach programs to the underprivileged sections. She shall partly utilize the prize money for her education while dedicating most of it to expand her social services. She aims to provide equal access to resources to all students at an early age.

Best Outgoing Student – Runner Up

Annesya Banerjee, is a Final-Year Undergraduate student in the Department of Electronics and Tele-Communication Engineering at Jadavpur University studying Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.). she always puts in her best efforts into maintaining an outstanding academic record. And consequently, she achieved a position among the Top 20 students in the State-Level Board Examinations and now holds the Top-most rank in my department with a CGPA of 9.84/10. She is a recipient of the prestigious Jagadis Bose National Science Talent Search (JBNSTS) Senior Scholarship. Her academic excellence has also been recognized through the Department Gold Medal and Scholarships from Jadavpur University. Apart from the prescribed curriculum, she is very interested in advanced research works. She has led her team in multiple innovative research projects, which have received appreciation nationally and internationally. These project works have also been recognized by academic/research organizations like the University of California (UC) Berkeley, Department of Telecommunications – Government of India, and industrial organizations like Microsoft, WeRobotics, etc., through multiple Research Grants, Awards. Additionally, she remains involved in activities to encourage other students to pursue Science, Engineering, and Technology.

Winners of 2020

Ms. Janani R, currently a final year student pursuing her Electronics and Comm. Engg. at Anna University. She has won accolades in technical and management skills. She has inspired young women to get involved in STEM filed through the Girl Script Foundation and Sagacity Hunt Team. Her research on Design and Fabrication of Wheelchair and Stretcher using IoT is poised to be a path breaking help to many people in the country. Ms. Janani also volunteered in the IEEE Smart village South Asia Working Group which gave her the platform to help the Tribals of Sirualai using one of the upcoming domains – ‘Hydroponics’. She has also done research in Nanophotonics and Nanomedicine and her patent for wheelchair-cum-stretcher is under review.

Dr. Anupama Kowli,  is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical Engg., at IITB, She completed her B. E. in Electrical from VJTI, Mumbai and her Masters and Ph.D. from Grainger College of Engg., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her doctoral research has been on “Reinforcement Learning Techniques for Power Networks”. She was awarded the BHAVAN fellowship by DST and IUSSTF to visit Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US in 2020 to facilitate research in grid-integrated energy-efficient buildings. She was also invited as a visitor to conduct research in Isaac Newton Institute, University of Cambridge under the Mathematics of Energy Systems program in April / May 2019.

Further, she has spearheaded the development of sensors and actuators for energy management applications. She has also worked with electric utilities in Gujarat to create software support for planning and operational decision making. She has 28 published works which span areas of smart grids, demand response, optimization and renewable integration. Her research in demand response and electricity markets are highly cited. She also holds a patent on low cost PIR sensing solution for detecting spatial occupancy patterns.

Dr. Esther Florence Sumarsingh, an Associate Professor at SSN College of Engineering, Chennai has completed her B.E. in Electronics & Comm. followed by Masters and Ph.D. in Design, Development and Performance Evaluation of Conformal Textile Antennas. She has developed the novel textile based microwave components that led to her first patent. She has filed three more patents for developing low cost testing (sensing) devices for various applications including healthcare; while she also started working on wearable product development including a patent filed for offering a cost effective wearable alternative to polysomnography for the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.

She further developed a loom that can introduce technical functionalities in the produced cloth fabric. She received a grant from DST SERB GoI (Rs.30.91 Lakh), for developing a computer controlled loom for the making of textile antennas and sensors. These end products were also deployed for socio-friendly applications such as kyphosis detection & location tracking for fishermen at sea (was submitted as a proposal for CSR initiative of HCL Technologies and was shortlisted among the top 6 at SSNCE)

Winners of 2019

Ms Shubhi Sareen, who is currently pursuing her final year B.Tech at Delhi Technical University won the Best Outgoing Female Student.  She has always been an ace student with top scores through her entire academic.  She holds the First Rank at the departmental level with an aggregate CGPA of 9.82. She has organized as well as actively participated in various academic and co-curricular activities.  She is the Co-Founder and Chapter Head of Delhi Women in Machine Learning and Data Sciences.  Shubhi has worked on different research projects and is highly appreciated by her professor for her ability to tackle complexities and pressure.

Beyond academics, Shubhi has worked towards helping students through The Mentorship Program that allowed students to be paired with leaders in the field to enhance their professional development. Having won this prestigious Award, Shubhi would like to invest a part of this amount in her education and utilize the remaining amount to promote mentorship programs as well as dedicate a part of the money to chapters like Women Who Code – a platform that helped her grow and network during her undergrad.  Her aim is to work together towards closing the gender gap in technology

Dr. Rajlaxmi Chouhan, currently working as Assistant Professor at IIT Jodhpur won the Vest Woman Professional (early career stage) Award. Her research interests include image processing, image quality assessment and noise-aided image denoising. She was awarded the National Award for Best M.Tech. Thesis in Electronics and Electrical Engineering in 2012 by Indian Society of Technical Education, New Delhi. Her current research on image quality assessment aims to quantify naturalness of an image and to develop online image tamper detection systems that potentially block spreading of misinformation online.

She has published 27 papers in international conferences and journals, and is currently supervising two doctoral students. Carrying out her duties with full sincerity as an instructor, a researcher, and an IEEE WIE member, Rajlaxmi strives to continue this endeavour by promoting the technical community in Jodhpur. The prize money would be utilized for the successful execution of (i) humanitarian activities including the outreach program for local girls schools that have limited resources and facilities to encourage girls to take up science as a career option; (ii) a primary educational program for children of workers in and around Karwad village (Jodhpur). This prize money would be a great catalyst in her efforts.

Winners of 2018

Ms. Jayati Vijaywargiya has been declared the winner for “Best Outgoing Student”. She is in the final year of B.Tech (Computer Engineering) at Mody University, College of Engineering and Technology, Madhya Pradesh. With consistent academic excellence, Ms. Jayati has done her Bachelor Thesis in a research institute, GSI, Darmstadt, Germany. There she built a GUI to analyse and calculate relevant parameters affected due to Quenching in superconducting material. The physical model used for developing the Quench Calculation Software was a rod of Cu+NbTi insulated by a non-conducting material.

She was also part of the GET Involved 3-month Summer internship there. Also, as part of the internship at DRDO, she made an object detector and analyser software on QT. Jayati has 4 research papers that have been selected to be published.

Dr. Soma Biswas has been bestowed with the award of “Best Woman Engineer” (professional in early career). She is currently working as Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Dr. Soma’s primary focus at IISc is on cutting-edge research and teaching. She works in the general area of Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition with special focus on surveillance applications and cross-modal retrieval. She has also been involved as the Principal Investigator for many Government and private projects which are of national interest and has also mentored a few start-ups in her area of interest.

She holds Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from University of Maryland, USA. Dr. Soma has to her credit 2 patents and has published 36 research papers, of which 29 are in international journals and 7 are national journals.

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