Skip To Content

2023 Annual Fund

Your contribution to the Annual Fund supports the following programs.

Level Up Leadership

The Level Up Leadership program is designed as a series of instructor-led training for early-career professionals to broaden participants' professional perspectives and increase their capacities with non-technical skills. This program was piloted in 2022 as a precursor to the Optica Leadership meeting, with the Ambassador classes from 2016-2021. Overall feedback was positive, so the program will be available to any early-career member in 2023.


As emerging optics and photonics community leaders, Optica Ambassadors share their experiences and perspectives with students and early-career professionals. They provide career advice, technical knowledge and mentorship.

Launched in 2016, this program was continued at the request of the Centennial Advisory Panel in 2017. In 2018, the foundation absorbed this program as a high-profile professional development activity, directly impacting students and early-career professionals.

In 2023, we will recognize a new class of ten individuals and support the Ambassador classes. The funding goes to support:

  • Travel to Level Up Leadership, the Optica Leadership Conference, and Optica's annual meeting FiO+LS.
  • Mentorship opportunities to student chapter members worldwide.
  • Various initiatives at Optica meetings proposed and led by Ambassadors.
  • Initiatives led by previous Ambassador classes.


Launched in 2007, the IONS program encourages student chapters to organize and manage regional meetings featuring technical and professional development content and networking with peers and luminaries. The experience and skills gained from this opportunity include program development, speaker recruitment, attendee marketing, developing and managing a budget, overall logistics planning, sponsor engagement, and fundraising. In 2020, the foundation absorbed this program.

Beginning in 2022, IONS adopted a new model to engage, support, and advance the careers of students worldwide known as IONS+. These events will take place at Optica's conference before the event. Student chapters will organize the programming; the event logistics and funding will be supported by the foundation and Optica's events department.

In 2022, it was possible to host one IONS+ at ECOC. Following that pilot, we plan to host at least three (3) more in 2023.

Student Chapter Special Program Grants

Optica Student Chapters receive grants from both Optica and the foundation. The Optica Foundation offers grants for unique programs focused on professional development, education outreach, and diversity & inclusion. Optica covers all management grants to support essential operations.

Mentor Match

In 2021, the foundation piloted a small mentorship program. After positive feedback from mentors and mentees, we are expanding the program to create mentee opportunities for all foundation scholarship beneficiaries beginning with the Optica Women Scholars and Amplify Scholars.

Additional Opportunities

Additional funding to be allocated throughout the year for unplanned opportunities.


Image for keeping the session alive