Getting involved with OSA

By Amol Choudhary, OSA Senior Member, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India

“Don’t mess with science, we have lasers,” is probably the coolest slogan I have on any of my t-shirts! But The Optical Society (OSA) is about more than just cool messages.

The Society provides a critical way for optical scientists and engineers to stick together and further the field and our own careers. Being an OSA member has been instrumental to my professional development. Others have asked me: “How do I get more involved with OSA?” This is what has worked for me:

I have been a member of OSA since 2010, when I joined the University of Southampton student chapter council. As a council member, I had the opportunity to organise events to bring the local optics student community together as well as to speak to grade school students about the joy of optics as part of our outreach activities.

Taking a leadership role and engaging with the community served to deepen my own commitment to the field and helped me foster deeper relationships with peers and colleagues.

1st Advice: As a student, get active with your OSA student chapter.

Of course all of us want to publish in OSA’s prestigious journals. After publishing a couple of papers in Optics Letters and Optics Express, an Associate Editor asked me to review a manuscript. As a young Ph.D. student, I was overwhelmed at the prospect of reviewing a paper. My supervisor calmly explained that this is how scientific publishing works and gave me some tips on doing a quality review. I’ve since spent a lot of time as a reviewer and appreciate this opportunity to further the field.


Advice 2: Sign-up to be a reviewer. It is an important way to progress science.

I was also invited to serve on the Technical Program Committee (TPC) for CLEO and LAOP (two OSA–organised meetings). There is no exact recipe for getting invited to a TPC, but publishing good papers in your field, presenting at OSA conferences and discussing your work with your peers at conferences certainly helps.

So when a chair is looking for a TPC member, they immediately think of someone who gave a good talk or someone they had a good discussion with.


Advice 3: Present at OSA conferences and find opportunities to discuss your work with your peers.

Over the last year, I have had the honour of being an OSA Ambassador. This gives me an opportunity to visit multiple OSA student chapters and mentor the next generation of optical scientists.

As a 2019 OSA Ambassador, I took part in 19 different presentations, traveling across India as well as to the Philippines, China, and the United States. I met with hundreds of students to share the resources that OSA has to offer, ensure that each chapter and group has the tools needed to thrive and impart some of the wisdom I’ve learned over my own career journey. I have also learned a lot from the students during this time. 

As an Ambassador, you have an incredible opportunity to be the face of OSA for the next generation and inspire others on the path to success.

Advice 4: Keep working for your community. Apply to be an Ambassador or find another way to give back.

I am a very proud member of OSA which works very hard to advance science and bring us all closer. I would encourage you to join the Society, take full advantage of all the various programs offered and, also, find a way to pay it forward!


Posted: 31 March 2020 by Amol Choudhary, OSA Senior Member, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, India | 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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