Mentor Match

This pilot mentorship program is designed to connect students with professionals in optics and photonics as a way to assist students with overcoming challenges they face in their careers. Each student is paired with one mentor for a period of six months. Participants are able to choose from a variety of different discussion topics including:

  • Technical Support
    • Guidance pertaining to my career path and goals as a scientist
    • Support with identifying and applying for relevant research grants
    • Support with identifying and applying to conferences relevant to my research
    • Support with identifying graduate school programs relevant to my research
  • Professional Development Support
    • Guidance on communicating my research effectively
    • Information on various career paths in optics (academia, industry, nonprofit, government, etc.)
    • Support with building and leveraging a network of individuals to achieve my goals
    • Assistance with creating an effective resume or CV
    • Support with understanding the dynamics of a workplace and how to achieve success after university
  • Navigating Personal Challenges
    • Guidance on maintaining work/life balance and overcoming stress
    • Support with navigating challenges associated with diversity and inclusion
    • Advice on collaborating effectively with people from around the world
    • Support with navigating a career through parenthood

For mentees:

  • Be an active member of an Optica student chapter
  • Be a student at the undergraduate, graduate, or Ph.D. level
  • Have a current Optica student membership

For mentors:

  • Have a degree and background in physics
  • Have a current Optica membership
  • Be willing to provide insight on the above topics for mentees

For mentees and mentors:

For mentees:

For mentors: 

Join the program

As a mentor

Contact us at and we'll be happy to add you to the mentor pool. We'll send you a link to complete your profile and keep you updated on the mentee we will pair you with. These are six month terms and the frequency by which you contact your mentee will be determined as part of the goal setting with that mentee. A mentor can choose to support up to five mentees at one time, but our recommendation is to focus on one-two to ensure effective partnerships. 

As a mentee

Students will be contacted and invited to apply in October (for the January-June term) and March (for the July-December term). Not all applicants are accepted. Those who are accepted will be asked to complete mentee profiles that will be used to help determine the best mentor to pair you with. 

Mandatory training and review

As part of this program it is mandatory that all participants attend the mentorship training offered before each term. This training will help mentors and mentees alike with goal setting and relationship building. In addition, participants will be asked to complete a quick survey in the middle and at the end of their mentorship term. These surveys will help us make changes if needed to both the mentor pairings and the program itself.