Navigating between academia and industry can be a distinctive journey. Join Optica Corporate Membership as we host a yearlong series devoted to connecting students and early career professionals with leaders in industry to help guide you through your unique career path.

Sponsored by Go!Foton, this five-part interactive series will bring together our diverse community and tackle the sometimes difficult discussion of moving beyond academia. 


Focus on Women in Industry

24 March 2021, 13:00 - 14:15 EDT (UTC-04:00)

The Women in Industry event is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to hear first-hand experiences from — and network with — leading female professionals in the business world. By encouraging open and honest conversations, the Beyond Academia Series allows young aspiring businesswomen and men to hear the triumphs, failures and everything in between from successful business professionals. ​

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CEO Plenary

14 April 2021, 11:00 - 12:00 EDT (UTC-04:00) 

The CEO Plenary event is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to hear first-hand experiences from a leading CEO in our industry. Inrad Optics' President and CEO Amy Eskilson shares her journey as well as challenges of her career path. 

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Focus on Early Career Professionals in Industry

13 October 2021, 11:00 - 12:00 EDT (UTC-04:00)  

The Focus on Early Career Professionals in Industry event is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to hear first-hand experiences from leaders in industry and their experience on navigating this next chapter. Each speaker will give a brief overview of their company and then we will have breakout rooms for you to meet in small groups to connect with them. 

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CEO Plenary

10 November 2021, 11:00 - 12:00 EST (UTC-05:00)  

The CEO Plenary event is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to hear first-hand experiences from a leading CEO in our industry. Join us as Zemax's CEO S. Subbiah shares his journey to becoming a CEO. He will touch on his career path as well as building and leading high technology companies into profitably, and growing business organizations in the business-to-business sector. We will have a plenary, followed by a fireside chat, then open up to attendee Q&A. 

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Small Group Sessions w/ HR Professionals

08 December 2021, 11:00 - 12:00 EST (UTC-05:00) 

Beyond Academia’s Small Group Sessions with HR professionals event is an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to gain insider knowledge from HR experts in our industry. This event is an opportunity to spend valuable time with hiring professionals and get their expert opinions on your next steps and ways to get your foot in the door. Each speaker will give a brief overview of their company, and then we will have breakout rooms for you to meet in small groups to connect with them. 

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Focus on Women in Industry Speakers

Anjul Loiacono, Senior Director of Sales and Marketing, Double Helix Optics

Dr. Anjul Loiacono is the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at Double Helix Optics (DHO). In her current role, Anjul is responsible for driving sales and awareness of DHO’s Light Engineering technology. She joined Double Helix Optics in the Fall of 2020. Prior to joining DHO, Anjul spent 12 years at Thorlabs where she held leading roles in Product Management, Strategic Marketing and Corporate Development. During her time at Thorlabs she oversaw the development and release of their OCT product line, led tradeshows, social media, and technical support, developed corporate strategies, managed strategic partnerships and completed several acquisitions around the world.

Anjul has a BE from Vanderbilt University, MS from University of Rochester, and Ph.D. from Duke University, all in the field of Biomedical Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical Optics. She is passionate about creating connections that will strengthen photonics technologies and the community, over-all. Currently she serves on the Optica Corporate Engagement Council and has participated as a judge and coach for several business Start Up competitions. Outside of photonics, Anjul spends her time cooking, biking, travelling (pre-pandemic), watching sports and playing games. As a mother and wife, Anjul is a big advocate for having a healthy balance between career, family and friends and health. 

Becky Bosco, Executive Director & Market Analyst, LightCounting Market Research
Becky Bosco is an award-winning, accredited marketing and communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience in optical communications. Becky is a trusted advisor to senior leadership, internal and external clients alike with strategic skills matched by impeccable on-the-ground savvy and tactical abilities.

In addition to her work at LightCounting, Becky is adjunct faculty at Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies in the Masters of Public Relations and Corporate Communications program. She's a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California specializing in Organizational Change and Leadership. She has an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University and a BSBA in International Marketing from American University, Washington D.C. As an active member of the Public Relations Society of America, she served as the 2014 President for the National Capital Chapter, the largest PRSA chapter in the United States. In 2018, she was elected a senior member of Optica and serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Photonics Cluster (FPC).

Caroline Connolly, CEO, OptoTest Corporation

Caroline Connolly is CEO and Founder of OptoTest Corporation, an organization that manufactures fiber optic test equipment for the telecommunications industry.  As CEO, her focus has been on developing a staff that creates and maintains momentum for new product development, increasing global presence, participating in industry standards and maintaining the highest quality standards.

Ms. Connolly has been in the fiber optics industry since 1994 with a focus on developing sales networks throughout the world and working closely with the markets to determine the industry testing requirements. 

Prior to OptoTest Corporation, Ms. Connolly worked for Greenlee/Textron responsible for creating a unified structure for two different sales teams through acquisition.

Caroline attended a yearlong study on Innovation at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix in Arizona.

Eve Griliches, Sr Product Marketing, Optical BU, Cisco Systems

Eve Griliches is the Product Marketing lead for the Optical BU. Previously, Eve was Director of Solutions Marketing at BTI Systems and Managing Partner of the global research firm ACG Research where she was VP of Optical Networking.

Before ACG, Eve served as IDC Program Director for Telecommunications Equipment, where she provided in-depth analysis on key telecom market technologies. Additionally, Eve has more than 10 years of product line management experience at equipment vendors including Marconi (Ericsson), PhotonEx, Nortel Networks, Bay Networks and Wellfleet Communications. She also spent four years at Thinking Machines Corporation, one of the first parallel processing supercomputer companies.

Jessica Nelson, Director of Technology and Strategy, Optimax Systems Inc.

Jessica DeGroote Nelson is the Director of Technology and Strategy at Optimax, a high precision optics manufacturer, located in Ontario, NY.  She joined the company in 2007 after graduating from the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester with a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Optics.  She furthered her education with an Executive MBA from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.  Jessica is a senior member of Optica and a fellow member of SPIE. 




CEO Plenary Speaker

Amy Eskilson, CEO, Inrad Optics

Amy Eskilson has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Inrad Optics since October 2012. A strong advocate for localized manufacturing, Amy is focused on building an organization that is competitive and profitable while delivering products with extraordinary optical specifications.  Inrad Optics offers a unique expertise in novel crystal development, bent crystal x-ray optics, large format and multi-element optical assemblies. 

Prior to joining the Inrad Optics team Amy spent 18 years with Thorlabs, Inc., a photonic tools catalogue company, where she served as Director of Business Development from 2001 to 2011. In this role Amy coordinated a team responsible for a total of eight acquisitions. She fostered the development of multiple partner companies, technology transfers and IP license agreements. Ms. Eskilson was also involved in photonic start-ups Nova Phase, Inc., Menlo Systems, Inc. and Idesta Quantum Electronics. She serves as an elected Director-At-Large for Optica, and is a Trustee of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Prior to discovering optics and photonics Amy received her BA degree in Communications from Montclair State University and spent several years in New York at McCann Worldwide, the global marketing firm.


Focus on Early Career Professionals in Industry Speakers

Francois Moore, Advisor - Optical Architecture, Fujitsu Network Communications

Mr. Francois Moore is currently a Principal Product Planner responsible for Fujitsu’s DWDM Optical Transmission portfolio. Prior to this role, he occupied various positions in product planning, product management and marketing within the FLASHWAVE 7000 and 9500 product family.

Mr. Moore has over 25 years experience in various optical transport areas including ROADM & DWDM, G.709 & OTN as well as SONET & Ethernet.

Mr. Moore has a special interest in teaching and presenting complex optical technology in terms everyone can relate to and understand.

Mr. Moore holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University and a Master’s degree is Systems Engineering from Carleton University.

He is currently a part time PhD student at the University of Texas in Dallas and he hopes some day to apply this skill as a guest lecturer or as a professor.

Yasaman Soudagar, Co-Founder/CEO, Neurescence Inc

Soudagar holds a PhD in the field of experimental quantum optics, with focus on quantum computing. Her rigorous training enabled her to invent the optical technology of Neurescence that helps bridging this knowledge gap. Since 2015, Soudagar has raised investment from experts in both neuroscience/neurosurgery and optical fields and attracted a passionate team of individuals with deep business and technical expertise of the field. Under her leadership and in just 3 years, Neurescence has launched Quartet® - a complete hardware/software product - and is generating revenue. She has negotiated distribution and finder fee agreements with multiple companies and has created highly respected sales channels in NA, EU and Asia.
Neurescence is preparing to enter the clinical market as its next major milestone.   The story of Neurescence starts by witnessing a close family member’s suffering from Schizophrenia. This resulted into Dr. Yasaman Soudagar’s realization that there are is a serious gap in developing treatments for brain neurological diseases. There is a major lack of understanding of how different types of neurons in different brain regions come together in balance and from short and long range neuronal circuits for normal brain function. We don’t understand how imbalance neurons disrupts these brain circuits and cause diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Schizophrenia.


CEO Plenary Speaker

S. Subbiah, Chief Executive Officer, Zemax

As the President and CEO of Zemax, Dr. Subbiah is focused on growing Zemax by delivering superior optical simulation software that enables our customers to design sophisticated optical products and bring them to market faster. Dr. Subbiah joined Zemax as its Chief Product Officer in April 2019, and was appointed CEO in November 2019.  Under his leadership, Zemax has moved to delivering innovations and enhancements to our products every four months, while also launching new products (OpticsViewer and OpticsBuilder), and expanding our global presence by opening our 6th office in Germany to serve our customers.

Dr. Subbiah has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and 30+ years of experience in the engineering software industry.  He was part of the early team at Fluent Inc. that developed the Fluent software (for flow modeling) to become a global leader. He subsequently held several senior executive roles at Ansys, Inc. leading Corporate Product Strategy as well as North American Sales and Customer Services. Dr. Subbiah loves taking technology products to market, and engaging with Customers, R&D teams, and Field teams to innovate new solutions for engineering enterprises.


1:1 Sessions w/ HR Professionals Participants

Alejandro Mendoza, Director, Human Resources, Optimax Systems Inc

Alejandro (Ale’) Mendoza is the Director of Human Resources at Optimax Systems Inc, a precision optics manufacturer located in Ontario, New York. In this role, he is part of the Board of Directors at Optimax and focuses on aligning the company’s strategic goals and culture with a growing workforce.

Before joining Optimax, Ale’ was a member of the United States Air Force, where he served in a variety of specialized roles. His military career included assignments with Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Missile Warning, Space Surveillance, and Aircrew Life Support systems and training.

In addition to his current role at Optimax, Ale’ has a passion for collaborating and building relationships with workforce development organizations. Ale’ serves the local community as a member of the Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise (FAME), the Finger Lakes Community College foundation board, and the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce HR Executive forum. At the same time, regionally, he’s a member of the NY state workforce strategy group – Invest in skills NY coalition and nationally, he serves as a board member of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and partners with the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United, including a member of their Manufacturing Industry Recovery Panel.

He holds an associate degree from Monroe Community College (MCC), a bachelor’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), and a master’s degree from St. John Fisher College.

Tony Amarel, President, OpticsProfessionals

Tony Amarel began his career as a Nikon Microscope clinical and research instrument sales representative in eastern New York and western Vermont. In 1992 Mr. Amarel returned to Rochester, NY to manage worldwide marketing/sales of the educational microscope instrument line for Amarel Precision/Optem (now Excelitas). In 1993 Mr. Amarel joined the Image Interpretation Systems Division where he was responsible for worldwide marketing and sales of Remote Sensing workstations.

Mr. Amarel was recruited to Burleigh Instruments in 2000 as the Northeast USA and Canada Regional Sales Manager for the Optical Wavemeter Instruments Division product line. After Burleigh was acquired by EXFO, he became Product Line and Business Development Manager. Mr. Amarel was recruited to Newport/Spectra-Physics in 2005 to pursue an opportunity as Business Development Manager responsible for North America OEM new and existing account sales of diffraction optical components.

He resigned from Newport in 2008 and joined OpticsProfessionals as partner in their thriving recruiting business. Mr. Amarel brings his 25 years’ experience in the optics, photonics and imaging industry to OpticsProfessionals to assist companies throughout North America and worldwide in in staffing key talent, while helping individuals with career transition and growth opportunities. Mr. Amarel has presented papers, posters and written technical articles for various journals and conferences.


Are you an Optica Corporate Member interested in speaking with our student members and early career professionals? 

Fill out our interest form for available slots.