2019 Programs, Grants and Recognition Highlights

Below is a snapshot of some of our 2019 activities made possible by the generous support of our donors who are committed to developing the next generation of leaders in optics and photonics.

For more details, check out the 2019 Annual Report.


2019 Siegman International School on Lasers: The school stands as a lasting tribute to Anthony E. Siegman, his tremendous contributions to the global scientific community and his passion for teaching. We hosted 94 students from 27 countries (37% represented developing nations) with women making up 39% of the attendees. To date, 509 students have benefitted from this program.


The Innovation School: Over 4.5 days, attendees of the Innovation School, learned key methodologies for discovering, developing and launching innovative solutions and products. The program featured keynotes from industry leaders and focused on both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. Early career mentors worked with each team throughout the week providing guidance. This year, 29 attendees (35% women) from 10 countries attended.


Subsea Optical Fiber Communications International Summer School: The Subsea Optical Fiber Communications International Summer School, created by OSAF and Google, highlighted the expanding and exciting field of subsea optical fiber communications for early-stage researchers and engineers. Attendees received a comprehensive overview of a modern global communication network, with a focus on submarine system design, powering, cable technology, planning, marine operations and maintenance. The inaugural school hosted 96 attendees (28% women) from 29 countries.



Ambassador Program:  Utilizing OSA early-career members to provide mentoring, job search advice, technical knowledge and training to students.  The 2019 Ambassadors reached 1,600 students and early-career professionals through student chapter visits and conference trainings.


Training at Meetings: Throughout the year, we offered interactive programs providing students and early-career professionals unique opportunities to learn from skilled trainers and thought-leaders. Sessions included: developing your personal brand; top jobs in STEM for PhDs; salary negotiations; navigating business relationships; and mentoring at OSA congresses. 


Training Science-Informed Public Policy Advocates: Twenty-two early-career members received a unique public policy learning experience focused on demonstrating the value of science-government interaction.



Optics Suitcase: Developed by the OSA Rochester Section, the Optics Suitcase is an innovative, interactive presentation package designed to introduce middle school students to the dynamic and exciting physics of light. This year, 40 student chapters in 13 countries received a suitcase impacting 2,000+ kids and teachers.



Respecting the Spectrum: Seven chapters representing Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Spain and the UK created unique programs celebrating LGBT STEM Day with a reported impact of 1,850 people. The events included everything from Nerd Pride Day to outreach programs for the local community members.


Celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science: Thirteen student chapters representing Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Spain and Ukraine created unique programs with a reported impact of 3,500 people. The events included everything from youth outreach programs to symposia featuring prominent women highlighting their research and careers.


Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Entrepreneurship (WISTEE): Gathered 85 professionals from 19 countries and 57 focused on advancing the careers of women in optics and photonics. . Almost 500 people have benefited since 2015.


Diversity and Inclusion Recognition

The OSA Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition serves to acknowledge the outstanding dedication and accomplishments of OSA members, companies or organizations that demonstrate efforts to foster greater appreciation, advancement and celebration of diversity and inclusivity.  2019 recipients were: Jay Mathews, University of Dayton & the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)


Scholarships, Recognitions and Grants

OSAF scholarships allow students in the optics and photonics community to continue their education, gain new experiences, and make advances in their research. The scholarships awarded in 2019 included the Paul Anthony Bonenfant Memorial Scholarship, the Women in Optical Communications Scholarships, the Harvey M. Pollicove Memorial Scholarship, and the Boris P. Stoicheff Memorial Scholarship.


Our prizes recognize exceptional papers, presentations, and research. 2019 prizes included the Tingye Li Innovation Prize, the Maiman Student Competition, the Emil Wolf Outstanding Student Paper Competition and the Ivan Kaminow Early-Career Professional Prize.


We provided a variety of travel grants enabling students to attend conferences such as CLEO and Frontiers in Optics (FiO).These programs include the Corning Women in Optical Communications Travel Grants; the Incubic Milton Chang Travel Grants; the Jean Bennett Memorial Student Travel Grant; and the Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Student Travel Grant.