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Participating in an Optica student chapter helps you develop technical knowledge, leadership experience and lasting relationships with peers and mentors. Chapters have access to unique benefits that aren't always available to non-chapter members. 


Management grant  ($500)
These grants are designed to support routine maintenance of your chapter (keeping members engaged, soliciting new members, etc.). Funds can be used as chapters see fit, but generally go toward:

  • Food/beverage for chapter meetings
  • Collateral to use as giveaways (pens, stickers, etc.)
  • Optica student membership fee support

Special Program grants ($750-$1,500)
These grants are designed to support larger-scale events like:

  • Hosting a multi-day workshop, seminar, or similar on optics/photonics
  • Building outreach tools/programs to share the principles of science with the community 
  • Creating recurring content for students, focused on diversity and inclusion or career development

Events that include substantial diversity, equity, and inclusion programming are eligible for an additional $1,500.

Knowledge sharing and networking

Traveling Lecturers
Did you know that Optica has a list of nearly 1,000 professionals who are open to traveling to your university to share their expertise with you? Chapters can apply for a grant to invite one (or sometimes two) lecturers each year at no cost to the chapter.  This grant from Optica covers lodging and transportation for the lectures (up to $2,000). 

Please note: The traveling lecturer program is closed for the remainder of 2024. We encourage you to apply early next year, as application open in January.

Student Leadership Experience
Each year, students are invited to attend our annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO). As part of the technical conference, students are supported with special sessions focused on professional development for career advancement. Students complete an application process, but those selected have their transportation, lodging, and conference fee covered by Optica. While this benefit is open to all student members, those affiliated with student chapters receive additional weight during the application process. 

Mentor Match
Let us pair you with an early-career professional who can serve as a dedicated mentor for a period of six months. During that time, you and your mentor will build a battleplan for addressing some of your most important concerns. You can provide feedback in real-time so if your mentor pairing isn't working we'll try to rectify it if possible. 

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