Happy International Volunteer Day

By Marcia Lesky, Sr. Director Diversity, Inclusion & Volunteer Cultivation, OSA

Celebrating OSA Volunteers – While Always Looking for More! 

As we celebrate International Volunteer Day on 5 December 2020, The Optical Society (OSA) wants to recognize and thank our outstanding volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise to enrich our Society and the entire optics and photonics community.

Volunteers who dedicate thousands of hours every year are the driving force of OSA. Collectively, volunteers help build incredible technical programs – from large-scale conferences to webinars. They enhance OSA Publishing’s journals through peer review to highlight research across the optics and photonics field. Volunteers help identify and celebrate distinguished scientists for awards and recognitions including OSA Fellows. Finally, volunteers are committed to increasing diversity and inclusivity in our ranks and supporting the next generation of leaders through mentorship and professional development.

To help expand our community of volunteers, OSA launched a new engagement initiative in 2020.  During several virtual OSA Congresses, and at our annual meeting Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science (FiO + LS), we offered programs designed to discuss the many different ways members can get involved with volunteer opportunities across the Society. Topics covered included:

  • Technical Groups – OSA has six broad technical divisions which break into more than 40 technical groups that are led by volunteers who manage active communities that organize special technical and networking events, run online forums and organize webinars and meetings to explore emerging topics to expand networks and create lasting connections.
  • Meeting Committees – OSA develops and manages conferences, congresses and topical meetings as well as workshops and Incubators. Each program is guided by amazing volunteers. Committee chairs build a team of experts from different topical areas within industry, academia and government research labs. They also look for geographic diversity and varied experience levels with the goal of building a quality and impactful program.
  • Journal Reviewers – OSA’s journals rely on input from the community, as editors and reviewers, to help select and disseminate the best and most relevant optics and photonics results. Check out the reviewer resource center for details on the peer review process, how to become a reviewer, reviewer guidelines and a training program.
  • OSA Awards and Medals – Recognizing scientists and engineers in optics and photonics requires the work of dedicated volunteers throughout the year. Volunteers help promote different opportunities, provide nominations and recommendations and serve on review and selection committees. These roles are critical to help celebrate incredible achievements in research, education business, leadership and service.
  • Industry – Engagement opportunities within OIDA, OSA’s industry arm, include activities ranging from joining committees to helping organize industry focused events and volunteering to participate in activities that help connect students and early career professionals with leaders in industry.
  • Ambassadors – Early career professionals can apply to serve as OSA Ambassadors. These emerging leaders spend a year sharing career advice and technical knowledge, mentoring OSA students and participating in outreach activities around the world.
  • Social Media – Volunteers help expand OSA’s social media reach by engaging across social media channels including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube to help promote OSA activities and disseminate information pertinent to the optics and photonics community.

Help celebrate International Volunteer Day by making sure your OSA member profile in My Account is up to date (contact OSA Customer Service for assistance). You can select your technical groups, take the reviewer training, and identify your interest in getting involved with meetings. And these are just a few of the ways you can volunteer with OSA. To learn about more opportunities visit



Posted: 3 December 2020 by Marcia Lesky, Sr. Director Diversity, Inclusion & Volunteer Cultivation, OSA | with 0 comments

The views expressed by guest contributors to the Discover OSA Blog are not those endorsed by The Optical Society.


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