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18 October 2022

Optica announces 2023 Vice President and directors-at-large

Industry leaders in laser science and optoelectronics to join Optica's global board of directors

WASHINGTON – The membership of Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, has elected James Kafka, Chief Technology Officer at Spectra-Physics and MKS Fellow, USA, as the society's 2023 Vice President. Julie Sheridan Eng, Chief Technology Officer at Coherent, Corp., USA, and Ulrike Fuchs, vice president for strategy and innovation, asphericon GmbH, Germany, were elected as directors-at-large for a 2023-2025 term. The Optica Board of Directors appointed Aleksandra Boskovic, Corning, USA, as a director-at-large from 2023-2025.

The election results were announced today at the Optica Annual Business Meeting, held during the Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science Conference, 17-20 October 2022. This year's conference and special events were presented in a hybrid format and drew participants from around the globe.

"Jim knows Optica very well; he became a member in 1976 as an undergraduate student studying optics at the University of Rochester and has been a dedicated volunteer over the decades," said the CEO of Optica, Elizabeth Rogan. "As the CTO for Spectra-Physics and a Fellow of its parent company MKS, Jim is highly active in both business and science. He will be an effective facilitator of Optica's work to serve the field's large and diverse community of students, industries, and academic institutions worldwide. We look forward to him joining the Optica Board leadership."

In 1983, Jim Kafka started his career in industry as a Senior Scientist at Spectra-Physics Lasers, where he has since held a series of positions of increasing responsibility and until becoming CTO, his current position. He was recently named a Fellow of MKS, the parent company of Spectra-Physics. During the past 39 years, he designed several of the company's most significant products, including the Tsunami, the first commercial ultrafast Ti: sapphire laser (1990), the Millennia X, the first commercial 10 W solid-state green laser (1997), and the InSight, the first broadly tunable ultrafast source for microscopy (2011). Kafka was recognized as a Spectra-Physics Fellow in 1987. He also received the Thermo Electron Corporate Award for Technical Innovation in 2002 and the first Newport Corporation Corporation Strategic Patent Award in 2007 for the first diode-pumped double-clad fiber laser patent. Kafka has 45 United States patents and multiple foreign equivalents. He has more than 30 publications in refereed journals and has made more than 40 presentations at CLEO, Optica topical meetings, SPIE conferences and major universities. Kafka was named an Optica Fellow in 2005 and served as a director-at-large on Optica Board of Directors from 2012 to 2014. One of his favorite contributions to the optics community has been serving as a Distinguished Traveling Lecturer for the APS Division of Laser Science from 1999 to 2017.  

Julie Sheridan Eng serves as Chief Technology Officer at Coherent Corp., Saxonburg, Pennsylvania. In this role, she focuses on the future technology platforms that are core to Coherent’s strategy and to its drive for sustainably profitable growth. Prior to being named CTO, Dr. Eng was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Coherent’s Optoelectronic Devices and Modules Business Unit. In that role, she oversaw engineering, product management, and operations for GaAs vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), InP directly modulated lasers (DMLs) and detectors, and CMOS/BiCMOS integrated circuits for datacom, 3D sensing, and high-volume consumer applications. Dr. Eng came to Coherent from Finisar Corporation, where she held a number of senior management positions, including Executive Vice President and General Manager of 3D Sensing and Executive Vice President of Datacom Engineering. Over the 15 years that she managed datacom transceiver engineering at Finisar, her teams released over 180 fiber-optic transceiver products and achieved numerous industry firsts. Dr. Eng began her career as AT&T Bell Laboratories, where she led the development of laser-based datacom transceivers. Dr. Eng has been a tireless advocate of women’s contributions to STEM. She is a past chair of the IEEE Committee on Women in Engineering and presently serves on the SPIE Executive Advisory Group. She has published over a dozen papers, co-authored a book chapter, holds six U.S. patents, and has given numerous invited talks. In 2022, Dr. Eng was elected a Fellow of Optica for distinguished contributions to the advancement of optics and photonics.

At asphericon, Ulrike Fuchs oversees all R&D activities as well as strategic product development. With her team, Fuchs develops concepts to improve system performance prediction during optical design and tolerancing. Most recently, she has emphasized transferring those ideas to freeform optics. In 2018, Fuchs was the inaugural winner of Optica's Kevin P. Thompson Optical Design Innovator Award. She has authored and co-authored more than 70 publications and has registered six patent families. During the past 15 years, Fuchs has supervised more than 20 B.S. and M.S. theses in the field of optics. She has worked as an Associate Editor for Optics Express since April 2018 and was elected a Fellow of Optica in 2020. In 2021, she was appointed to the Faculty Advisory Board of the Physics Department, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany.

Aleksandra Boskovic serves as Vice President for Optical Communications Technology Development at Corning. She is responsible for ensuring an integrated technology strategy and innovation delivery across fiber, cable and connectivity. This includes delivering the most valuable components and solutions to Corning's customers, while capitalizing on competitive advantages in fiber, cable, connectivity, actives, and software. Boskovic joined Corning in 1997 as a scientist at Corning's main R&D center in NY. Throughout her career, Boskovic has built a strong track record in technology leadership in broad technical areas touching all of Corning's businesses. Boskovic is an Optica fellow and member of IEEE Photonics Society.



About Optica

Optica, Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide, is the society dedicated to promoting the generation, application, archiving and dissemination of knowledge in the field. Founded in 1916, it is the leading organization for scientists, engineers, business professionals, students and others interested in the science of light. Optica's renowned publications, meetings, online resources and in-person activities fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate scientific, technical and educational achievement. Discover more at:

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