22 April 2019

The OSA Foundation Names First Recipient of the Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship

Araceli Venegas-Gomez will use her stipend to become a ‘global ambassador’ for quantum technologies

WASHINGTON--The OSA Foundation (OSAF) is pleased to announce Araceli Venegas-Gomez, a Ph.D. student at University of Strathclyde, U.K., as the first recipient of the Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship.


The Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship provides $50,000 U.S., in unrestricted money to talented, young optical scientists and engineers who believe their expertise can be used beyond the lab bench to improve society. A chief goal of the program is to encourage people of exceptional talent to pursue a newfound passion in areas like public policy, government and journalism.

“The generosity of Milton and Rosalind Chang will continue to benefit the next generation of leaders in the optical sciences,” says Alexander Sawchuk, chair of the OSAF Board. “Their vision for the Pivoting Fellowship-- to nurture the talent of young scientists interested in alternative career paths-- will help ensure ongoing public understanding and support for optics and photonics.”

Venegas-Gomez plans to use the fellowship stipend for a project that explains to the public the current state of quantum physics research and the potential new technologies emerging from this work. She notes that the U.S., Europe, U.K., and China collectively plan to invest more than $5 billion U.S., in coming years for quantum technology research.

There is “big hype” about quantum technologies in science and in the media, Venegas-Gomez says. Her focus for the purposes of the fellowship will be to bridge gaps in understanding between academia and the public as well as between academia and industry.

 “There is also a need to be realistic and identify opportunities and the main technologies that can transform society,” Venegas-Gomez says. “I want to become a global ambassador advocating quantum technologies in order to build a stronger network of stakeholders from industry and academia, federal labs and government.”

Venegas-Gomez is pursuing a Ph.D. degree in theoretical and computational quantum physics at U. of Strathclyde, where her research focuses on quantum simulation. Previously, she had been an aerospace engineer working for Airbus in Germany, when she discovered her interest in quantum physics and decided to enroll in the U. of Strathclyde Ph.D. program.

Milton Chang, Incubic Management LLC, has pledged more than $1 million U.S., toward the Pivoting Fellowship program. Each year, an award committee will select one OSA member to receive the award.

About The OSA Foundation

The OSA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established by The Optical Society (OSA) in 2002 to carry out charitable activities that support the society’s mission to promote the generation, dissemination, and application of knowledge in optics and photonics. The Foundation helps cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in the optics and photonics community as they move through advanced degree programs and become active members of research, engineering, and business communities around the globe. The Foundation also works to secure OSA Awards and Honors program endowments. For more information, visit osa.org/foundation.

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