Skip To Content

06 October 2022

Optica seeks to Amplify Black voices in science with a new program for students in photonics

Rochester, New York – Optica (formerly OSA), Advanding Optics and Photonics Worldwide, will launch a new program designed to excite young Black physics and engineering students about the field of optics. The Amplify Optics Immersion Program, 15-18 October, will host 50 Black physics and engineering students from 12 countries to explore research and career opportunities at Optica's annual meeting Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science (FiO LS).

This program is one of several initiatives created by Optica's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Rapid Action Committee (DEIRAC) to increase the number of Black scientists and engineers in the photonics industry. "Optics drives new scientific breakthroughs and innovations that transform our world. To continue to grow as a community and explore new frontiers, we must be intentional about including all voices," said Arlene Smith, Molex Inc., chair of the DEIRAC.

The full-day program will highlight the research and career opportunities optics and photonics offer bright, inquisitive minds. Additionally, participants will attend dedicated programming, technical sessions, and professional and student development activities as part of FiO/LS.

"It's important to open the doors for countless historically marginalized scholars and scientists. Optica's commitment to move this initiative is a step in the right direction," said George Okyere Dwapanyin, University of St Andrews and Immersion planning committee member. "The Immersion Program welcomes these scholars to our field and hopefully will inspire them to make optics their passion."

Activities for attendees include:

  • Overview of optics and photonics research, technologies, and career opportunities
  • Introduction to Optica and of FiO technical program and special events with programming
  • Participation in the Division of Laser Science (DLS) Symposium on Undergraduate Research
  • Participation in FiO activities, including small group guided tours of the exhibit floor and the opening Plenary presentation
  • Informal networking activities

Anthony Johnson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, DEIRAC member, and the program's Master of Ceremonies, added, "You cannot help but notice the lack of Black representation in STEM, particularly in optics. This program strives to create a sense of community and lead a movement that will increase participation in the optical sciences."

Optica Foundation

Established in 2002, the Optica Foundation carries out charitable activities in support of the society’s student and early career members. We cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators as they navigate advanced degree programs and become active members of research, engineering and business communities worldwide. The foundation also works to secure the endowments for Optica’s awards and honors programs. The foundation is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. For more information, visit

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:

Media Contact

Image for keeping the session alive