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  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.

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 Woman 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.

Best Woman Professional (Early Career)

1. Winner- Saakshi Dhanekar

Saakshi 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.In addition to teaching, she has two ongoing Govt. sponsored projects through which she is developing indigenous sensors to be used in AI and IoT applications. Currently, she has 6 PhD students under her supervision and 2 patents to her credit. She has published several research articles and conference proceedings in the past few years. Her current research area includes MEMS, nano silicon, metal oxides-based gasand biosensors for societal applications with application in AI and IoT.

The prize money holds a lot of value for her. As the Chair for the IEEE Sensors Council Young Professionals and wellbeing committee, and WIE member, she would like to utilize this award money to help the young population and women by promoting technical education amongst the students. It will be utilized for the implementation of webinars/seminars for industry, projects focusing on technical, humanitarian and outreach aims and providing students with hands-on experience on sensor boards.


2. 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 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 customer successfully. Neethu is also involved in exploration and utilization of various tools, including most advanced and futuristic technologies, in collaboration with a global team of researchers for most successful outcomes. Beyond her research work, she is also committed to disseminating knowledge through conferences, workshops and publications.  She also works toward Creating Intellectual Property as part of her work.

Neethu’s contributions in power system protection research area, mainly for grids with renewable energy resources, facilitates India’s journey towards the goal of cleaner, greener, and sustainable future.Being a devoted mother, a passionate scientist, and an active contributor to empowerment of girls and women in society, winning this award is a great motivation for her to take forward the vision of this award and use the prize money for future activities empowering women, especially underprivileged girl students.

Best Outgoing Student

1. Winner- Shatakshi Singh Tomar 

Shatakshi is a final yearstudent pursuing her B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from Mody University of Science and Technology, Rajasthan. Apart from hercurriculum, she has a few research papers that have been published in reputed journals and conferences to her credit. As an active IEEE volunteershe volunteered 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.Shatakshi has many accolades to her credit.  She won the SoftTech Hack 2020, received a cash prize for paper presentation given by Computer Society of India,  was the runner-up at Ideathon 2020, won the first position at a 6-day Code Coding contest and others.  She has also received the Richard E. Merwin Student Scholarship and is the mentor at her University’s Chess Club.

With keen interest to pursue her research, Shatakshi eventually plans to be an entrepreneur.  She aspires to develop economical and affordable Artificial Intelligence-powered diagnoses for diseases like diabetes and cancer as most of her current research is in the similar domain including her internship in the R&D department at a US Based Healthcare startup. She would like to use part of the award money to develop projects that are based on her research ideas while also pursuing her higher studies.

Some part of the prize money will be utilised to develop the projects based on the ideas I have worked on till now and to pursue my higher education. This Award is a motivation and catalyst to help her achieve her goals while contributing to society for social and economic development.

2. Runner Up- Nupur Kulkarni 

With 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 honours like being one of the finalists at Technology Infusion Grand Challenge 2021 organized by La Trobe University, Australia.  She was also the winner of the Smart India hackathon (SIH) 2020 for the problem statement proposed by DTE towards IT and Cyber Security – Captcha for Visually Impaired.

Nupur has authored a research paper on Doodling Based Captcha Authentication System and has more papers in the pipeline to be presented at conferences.  She has also authored a chapter in a book “BlockChain for Smart Systems: Computing Technologies and Applications” which will be published soon.  Nupur is also actively involved in cultural activities like singing, writing plays and essays which have all won her different awards.

She lies to delve deeper into understanding diverse domains and would like to pursue her research.  She aims to make use of her technical knowledge got through research to impact the lives of people positively.  Nupur would like to utilize the prize money to pay towards her higher education as well as invest some into new projects that she has in mind.  Being an avid reader, she would also like to buy books to add to her collection.

Best Woman Professional (Early Career)

1.  Winner – Dr. Anupama Ray

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.

2. Runner Up – Dr. Lavika Goel

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

1. Winner – Deeksha M S

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.

2. Runner Up – Annesya Banerjee

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.

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 Female Student  



Ms. Janani R

Best Woman Professional (Early Career)
Joint Winners



Dr. Anupama Kowli                      Dr. Esther Florence                                                              Sundersingh

Ms Shubhi Sareen, 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, 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 twenty-seven 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.


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 analyze 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.

To know  more about the  Shri Pralhad P Chhabria  Awards, please visit – www.hfrc-ieeewards.org