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Optica Women Scholars

Empowering the next generation of women leaders in optics and photonics.

Application Dates
13 Dec 2023 - 31 Jan 2024
Program Prize
  • US$10,000
  • One-year Optica Student Membership
  • Access to mentorship platform and connection with a mentor
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20 Optica Women Scholars are selected annually and receive a merit and need-based grant. In addition to the funding, scholars gain access to our global network of mentors and the supporting companies.

Application Information

How To Apply

Apply when open on 


Important Dates

Opens 13 December 2023
Closes 31 January 2024

Applicant Requirements
  1. Self-identify as a woman.
  2. Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or Master's student at a university.
  3. Undergraduate Student: have a major in optics, physics, chemistry, math or engineering and a demonstrated interest in optics and photonics.
  4. Masters Student: have a major and/or concentration in optics or photonics demonstrated with your research and coursework.
  5. Demonstrate academic potential (GPA, publications, references, other awards/merits).
  6. Program requirements recognize and exclude career breaks from timelines (eg, eldercare; maternity or paternity leave).
Application Requirements
  1. CV or resume
  2. Personal statement describing academic/professional background and interest in optics and photonics in 500 words or less.
    • What are your educational, research, and career goals?
    • Describe your experiences and interests related to optics and photonics (e.g., laser science, fiber optics, lens design, vision science, imaging and sensing, electrical or mechanical engineering, biomedical optics, quantum theory, or applications.)
  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.

Previous Recipients:


2023 Recipients

Isabella Aguilera
Isabella Aguilera
Universidad del Valle, Colombia
Adewale Akinyimika
Jewel Ashbrook
Middlebury College, USA
Manon Bart
Tulane University, USA
Jennifer Bragg
Gloria Davidova
Cornell University, USA
Shayla Breedlove
Alexis Guidi
University of British Columbia, Canada
Ayomikun Esan
Christabel Isagi
Multimedia University of Kenya, Kenya
Ibrahim Issah
Dana Kachman 
Johns Hopkins University, USA
Rutendo Jakachira
Paula Kirya 
University of California San Diego, USA
Arielle Joasil
Linda Lin 
University of Pennsylvania, USA
Ngei Katumo
Rebecca Mac 
University of Waterloo, Canada
Hamidu M. Mbonde
Viviana Maldonado Estrada 
Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico
Sylvester Munyao
Mathu Mathi Murugavel
Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India
Ikechi Ndamati
Svenja Nerreter 
University of Regensburg, Germany
Karabo Ndebele
Sofía Obando-Vásquez
 Universidad EAFIT, Colombia
Sheilah Njoka
María Sánchez-Hernández
Universidad de Salamanca, Spain
Sylvester Munyao
Lucía Camila Tasende Rodríguez 
Ghent University, Belgium
Sylvester Munyao
Jenna Veugen 
University of Waterloo, Canada
Sylvester Munyao
Yingchu Xu 
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Sylvester Munyao
Mina Yoo 
The University of Arizona, USA
Sylvester Munyao
Amanda Younes
University of California, Los Angeles, USA


Founders US$100,000+
Elizabeth Rogan
Coherent Corp.
Corning Inc.
Meta Platforms
Source Photonics
Contributors US$10,000+
Joseph Goodman
Alice Sinclair
James C. Wyant
Edmund Optics
Marvell Superconductor

2024 Selection Committee

Name Affiliation Country
Imrana Ashraf Quaid-I-Azam University PAKISTAN
Lisa Bickford Google LLC UNITED STATES
Frank Chang Source Photonics UNITED STATES
Sylvain D Gennaro Meta Reality Labs UNITED STATES
Jessica Pastor Coherent Corp UNITED STATES
Danuta M Sampson University of Western Australia AUSTRALIA
Lydia Sanmarti ICFO SPAIN
Katharine E Schmidtke Meta Platforms Inc UNITED STATES
Hui Su Corning Inc UNITED STATES
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