Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition

About the Program

This recognition serves to acknowledge programs and accomplishments within our community that foster greater appreciation, advancement and celebration of diversity and inclusivity. Honorees should have a consistent record of support and leadership. Activities recognized may include community service, professional development, hiring practices or programs enhancing the understanding and inclusion of people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences. Each winner will receive USD 1,500 to support their diversity efforts and travel funds to attend Frontiers in Optics + Laser Science (FiO + LS).

The review committee will consider the following criteria: 1. Visibility & Awareness; 2. Mentoring/Professional Development; 3. Celebration of Diversity; 4. Enhances Communication; 5. Innovation & Creativity; 6. Impact of Actions; 6. Replicability of Efforts.

Application Information

How to Apply
Apply or nominate an individual or organization here today! 

Important Dates
Opens: 16 May 2022
Closes: 22 June 2022

Application Requirements​

  • Short answer questions
  • Nomination/application letter
  • One to three reference letters
  • Up to five pieces of supporting materials including photos, articles, reports
2021 Winners

The 2021 Honorees are Fujitsu Network Communications, USA and ICFO, Spain.


Fujitsu Network Communications, USA  

Citation: For their investment in programs and initiatives celebrating and advancing Black, LGBTQ+ and women employees in pursuit of greater inclusion and equality within their company and the wider community.

FujitsuFujitsu moves beyond statements on diversity to champion unique programs and initiatives that celebrate and advance diversity and inclusion within their company and the wider community. With a belief in the power of equality, not just as a matter of principle, but because diversity makes everyone stronger. Examples of these efforts include:

  • The Fujitsu Women’s Innovative Network (WIN) brings together employees (regardless of gender or gender identity) to support, empower, guide and inspire women and girls to achieve their full professional and personal potential. Since 2018, the WIN program has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours, conducted nearly 100 events, formed 25 partnerships, and mentored more than 2,300 STEM students.
  • The Fujitsu Black Employee Inclusion and Networking Group (BEING) was created to empower Black employees, embrace Black diversity, and elevate Black culture. The initiative is based on five key pillars: Cultural Awareness, Employee Development, Networking, Service, and Sustainability. Since its launch in 2020, the BEING team has conducted a Diversity in Leadership Panel, a celebration of Black History Month, and partnered with a local food pantry to provide meals for families.
  • Fujitsu scored 100% on the 2021 Human Rights Campaign Index and is listed as one of the top employers for LGBTQ Equality for supporting an inclusive culture, enforcing workforce protections, promoting equity and implementing inclusive benefits.

ICFO, Spain

Citation: For their deliberate and intentional work to integrate equitable, transparent and inclusive policies and programs throughout their institution’s hiring, mentoring and programmatic programming.

ICFOAs an international research center focused on optical and photonics sciences and applications, ICFO's goal is to provide outstanding education and career development and play a central role in knowledge and technology transfer. Their effort to create and implement policies, programs and projects in their HR, education, innovation and outreach branches that attract, empower and promote diversity is essential to enhance innovation, creativity and excellence. Examples of these efforts include:

  • Gender diversity activities such as a grant and mentoring program for female researchers with young children, a multi-event Women’s Month program, Women in Science lunches, the María Yzuel Fellowship Awards and ENLIGHTEN fellowships for talented female candidates, and participation in the Science by Women Program of the Women for Africa Foundation (FMxA) to promote African women’s leadership in scientific research and technology transfer.
  • Career development tools to ensure inclusion and well-being of their staff including relocation and onboarding support, the Mentoring Support and Resilience & Well-Being programs, and language courses. ICFO has received the EU HR Excellence in Research Award for its commitment to implement fair and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures for researchers and holds ISO 45001:2018 certification, ensuring that people with disabilities and long or short-term health conditions can join and safely continue their work.
  • ICFO partners others to expand their reach, including participation in Optica governance and programs including activities organized by ICFO’s Optica student chapter (one of the firsts and most proactive student chapters in Europe) such as IONS programs featuring innovation, leadership, equality and gender sessions and an ongoing LGTBQIA+ program.

Selection Committee
Katherine Calabro, Synopsis, Inc., USA
Amol Choudhary, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India
Frank Kuo, Mettler Toledo Autochem Inc., USA
Arlene Smith, Avo Photonics Inc., USA

Past Winners

  • Arti Agrawal, Australia: For an unwavering dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion throughout the global optics and photonics community.
  • Jennifer Burris, USA: For facilitating systemic changes that have improved diversity and inclusion for her department, university and community.
  • St. Mary's College of Maryland, Department of Physics, USA: For making long-term changes that improve diversity, equity and inclusion in its operations and culture.


  • Jay Mathews, USA: For his work to foster gender, racial, ethnic minority and socio-economic equality, as well as trying to provide opportunities for students who may be underserved in the optics community.
  • National Institute of Standars & Technology (NIST): For the results of their work “…to harness the diversity of people and ideas, both inside and outside of NIST…” within the agency and as a model for other agencies, companies and universities.


  • Arlene Maclin, USA: for her work in developing opportunities to expose underrepresented groups to STEM, specifically African Americans and women. 
  • Frederique Vanholsbeeck, New Zealand: For her advocacy for cultural and gender diversity throughout academia and her passion of inclusivity as well as creating tangible outcomes.
  • Ling-An Wu, China: For her dedication in empowering and supporting women and children in her region of China. 
  • Okinawa Institute of Science & Technology, Japan: For their progressive policies in creating an inclusive environment.

For any questions, please email Diversity@optica.org.