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28 September 2023

US Representative Joseph D. Morelle named 2023 Advocate of Optics

Joseph D. Morelle, US representative for New York’s 25th congressional district, has been a champion for science, optics and Rochester since his election in 2018. As a founding member of the Congressional Optics and Photonics Caucus, Morelle has shown his support for the optics community at the highest level of the US government.

Optica (formerly OSA), Advancing Optics and Photonics Worldwide is proud to honor Morelle for his continued dedication to the optics community with the 2023 Advocate of Optics recognition. This recognition is presented yearly to a public official who demonstrates leadership in support of the advancement of light science.

Pictured, left to right: Amy Eskilson, Optica Public Affairs Council representative, Representative Joe Morelle, New York, and P. Scott Carney, Optica Chief Scientist

Susan Houde-Walter, 2005 Optica President, and current Director of the Carlson Center for Imaging Science, at RIT said, “Joe Morelle is a faithful servant of the greater Rochester community.  He understands that Rochester has been and engine of innovation for vital optics technologies that drive the national welfare.”

Morelle has been a long-time representative of Rochester, a US optics hub, first as a state senator after his election in 1990. During his tenure as a state senator, Morelle served as senate president and championed a number of policies to promote an entrepreneurial economy in the Rochester area. In 2018, he ran for the US Congressional seat formerly held by Loise Slaughter, who herself had been an advocate for science in the area. Among other congressional activities, Morelle continues to ensure funding for the University of Rochester Laboratory of Laser Energetics (LLE), which employs 900 residents of Rochester and the surrounding areas as scientists, engineers, technicians and staff.

In 2020, Morelle was instrumental in establishing the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Optics and Photonics Caucus to advance the interests of the optics and photonics community on a national stage. He acknowledged the role that light science plays in global innovation, and the need to promote the optics and photonics industry to boost the US economy and create jobs.

 “Since his first days as a US congressman, Joe Morelle has been a great advocate for optics, both at home and in the broader United States. He has worked to ensure that optics and photonics are seen as critical areas of investment for the US government,” said Amy Eskilson, the Optica Public Affairs Council representative who presented Morelle with the recognition. “We are proud to recognize someone who so fully embodies what it means to be an Advocate of Optics.”

About the Advocate of Optics Recognition

The Optica Advocate of Optics is an annual recognition by the Optica Public Affairs Council. For each calendar year, the council evaluates and selects an outstanding public official from any country who demonstrates leadership and support for the advancement of optics and photonics. The recipient is evaluated on criteria such as his/her enthusiasm for science and science policy, level of familiarity with optics and photonics, level of interaction with Optica and our members in the past year and record of consistent support of science, optics and photonics. One or more recipients may be chosen in any year.

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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