The Optical Society Names Nicholas Massa the 2021 Esther Hoffman Beller Medal Recipient


The Optical Society is pleased to announce that Nicholas Massa, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), USA, has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal. Massa is honored for outstanding leadership in photonics technician education, including the development and dissemination of innovative educational materials.

Nicholas Massa received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Western New England University, USA, and M.A and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Connecticut, USA. Currently, he is Professor and Department Chair of the Optics and Photonics Technology Department at STCC.

In addition to his role at STCC, he has been the Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator on more than a dozen grant-funded projects to develop curriculum materials, write technician skill standards, and create novel pedagogies that have been disseminated through global conference workshops. He has educated nearly 600 technicians for the photonics industry and continues to grow and improve his program at STCC. He is the co-author of LIGHT-Introduction to Optics and Photonics, filling a need for textbooks at the technician level. More than 300 secondary and post-secondary educators have received training and assistance through his professional development workshops on photonics and student-centered technician education, impacting tens of thousands of students.

He has served on the OSA Membership, Education and Services Committee and has been the faculty advisor of the STCC OSA Student Chapter since its inception in 2011. He has received several awards for education including a Photonics Beacon Award for Education and the SPIE Maria Yzuel Award. He is a Fellow of OSA.

Established in 1993, the Beller Medal is presented for outstanding contributions to education in optical science and engineering. Consideration is given to outstanding teaching and/or original work in optics education that enhances the understanding of optics. The scope of the award is international, and candidates at every career stage are considered. It is endowed by a bequest from the estate of Esther Hoffman Beller.