Skip To Content

Amplify Scholarship

Investing in future Black scientists.

Program Prize
  • US$7,500
  • One-year Optica Student Membership
  • Access to mentorship platform and connection with a mentor
  • Invitation to the 2024 Amplify Immersion Program
Donate Now

Each year, ten Black undergrad and master's students receive a US$7,500 scholarship to help ease the financial burden of college. Additionally, other benefits include a one-year members to Optica, access to mentors, and an invitation to the 2024 Amplify Optics Immersion Program.

Application Information

Important Dates

Opens 03 October 2023
Closes 17 November 2023

Applicant Requirements

1. Self-identify as Black

2. Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or master's student at a university with one or more years left to complete your education.

  • Undergraduates: have a major in physics, math, chemistry or engineering and a demonstrated interest in optics and photonics.
  • Master's: have a major and/or concentration in optics or photonics demonstrated with your research and coursework (If you are a master’s student who plans to continue on to a Ph.D. but have not yet finished your master’s you are eligible).

3. Demonstrate academic potential (GPA, publications, references, other awards/merits)

4. Program requirements recognize and exclude career breaks from timelines (eg, eldercare; maternity or paternity leave) 

Application Requirements

1. CV or resume: Must not exceed four (4) pages

2. Student response:

Undergraduate students: (300 Word limit per/question)

  • Describe your experiences and interests related to physics, math, chemistry and engineering.
  • Describe your interests in optics and photonics including but not limited to laser science, fiber optics, lens design, vision science, imaging and sensing, electrical or mechanical engineering, biomedical optics, quantum theory or applications.

Master's students: (300 Word limit per/question)

  • Describe any research, lab or classroom work related to optics and photonics including but not limited to laser science, fiber optics, lens design, vision science, imaging and sensing, electrical or mechanical engineering, biomedical optics, quantum theory or applications. 
  • Describe your goals related to optics and photonics (pursuing a Ph.D., working in industry, etc.).

3. Budget reflecting anticipated academic expenses and other sources of funding.

4. Copies of academic transcripts from the last 2-3 years demonstrating competence in physics or engineering.

5. Two letters of recommendation addressing your interest in optics as well as merits for receiving this scholarship.

2024 Recipients

Oluwatoyin Atikekeresola 
North Carolina Central University, USA
Ana Júlia Barbosa Tomé
University of São Paulo, Brazil
Ernestina Domey
University of Rochester, USA
Kaleb Felefele
University of Waterloo, Canada
Winny Kameni
Carleton University - Algonquin College, Canada
Ifeanyichukwu Umeadi Okonkwo
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Diego França de Oliveira
University of São Paulo, Brazil
Brian Osoro 
Maasai Mara University, Kenya 
Jordan Simmons
Norfolk State University, USA

Chandler Stevenson
Brown University School of Engineering, USA 

Past Recipients



Founders US$100,000+
Contributors US$20,000+
IPG Photonics
Contributors US$10,000+
OFS Laboratories
J. A. Woollam Inc
Contributors US$1,000+
Fibertek Inc

Fundraising Committee
  • Antigone Marino, Chair, Institute of Applied Science & Intelligent Systems (CNR), National Research Council
  • Aline Dinkelaker, Co-Chair, Leibniz Institut fur Astrophysik Potsdam
  • Arti Agrawal, University of Technology Sydney
  • Yaseera Ismail, University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Yoshitomo Okawachi, Columbia University
  • Danuta Sampson, University of Surrey

About the Endowment

This program was developed by the Optica Ambassadors in response to the lack of Black representation in optics and photonics.

“Science lives in a society affected by, and in many ways built upon, systemic racism. As Optica Ambassadors, we are committed to fighting for justice, equality, integrity and inclusivity in the scientific community and beyond. We recognize we need to do more by sustainably supporting, amplifying and promoting Black scientists, engineers and students. Black lives matter.”

2016 – 2020 Optica Ambassadors

2024 Selection Committee

Name Affiliation Country
Joshua Burrow Brown University UNITED STATES
Rj Doidge Thorlabs Inc UNITED STATES
George Okyere Dwapanyin University of St Andrews UNITED KINGDOM
James Hilfiker J. A. Woollam Co Inc UNITED STATES
Daryl Inniss Independent UNITED STATES
Paul Ikechukwu Iroegbu HMN Technologies Group Co., Ltd. CHINA
Yaseera Ismail University of Stellenbosch SOUTH AFRICA
Jennifer McKaughan IPG Photonics UNITED STATES
Dikande Alain Moise University of Buea CAMEROON
A. Boh Ruffin Corning Inc UNITED STATES
Lei Wang Meta Platform Inc UNITED STATES
Image for keeping the session alive