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The Traveling Lecturer program provides funding for student chapters to host a guest speaker of their choice, annually. As a traveling lecturer, you are afforded the opportunity to travel around the world on behalf of Optica to provide technical and/or professional development content to students. 

Types of lectures

Lectures can come in two forms, depending on the agreement between the lecturer and hosting chapter:

  • In-person - We will provide up to $1,500 in funding to help you travel to your destination.
  • Virtual - Virtual Lectures are on a volunteer basis, as there are no travel costs involved.
Become a lecturer

Benefits and commitments:

  • The ability to work with the Travel Agency to customize your trip by booking transportation and lodging accommodations without any out-of-pocket expenses at the lowest logical fare.
    • Lecturers who choose to book their own travel and hotel accommodations must follow the Travel Policy to receive a reimbursement towards their transportation and lodging with proper expense report and receipts submitted.
  • The opportunity to be highlighted in the member newsletter and website.
  • Members can provide up to two lectures each year upon request.
    • Participants must be active members.
    • Students are not eligible to participate in this program as a lecturer.
    • Additional lectures may be approved upon request.

How the Program Works:

  • A lecturer can join anytime throughout the year. He/she must have a complete profile in their account before joining the program (profile picture, short biography, and discussion topics). You can learn how to join and update your credentials here
  • Chapters select a Traveling Lecturer from the directory, confirm availability with the prospective lecturer, and complete a request in the Grants DatabasePlease note that not all members of this program will be requested each year. 
  • If approved, the chapter is provided with a grant to help cover the Lecturer's Travel and Lodging.
  • The lecturer books travel once confirmation is received from us.
  • The chapter contact coordinates the details of the lecture topic(s) and visit logistics.
  • Lecturer and chapter complete a post event follow up.

What is covered

  • Travel (airfare, train, other)
  • Lodging

Meals, taxis, or other expenses are the responsibility of the lecturer or hosting chapter to cover.

How to sign up as a Traveling Lecturer

  • Confirm you are an Optica member
  • Login to the My Account section of and select “Participation”
  • Scroll down and Select “Become a Traveling Lecturer”
  • Update your discussion topics, speaker biography, and headshot (please ensure the discussion topics are completed)

You can update your profile at any time. For directions, please click here.

Lecturer forms

Below you will find forms generally required to process a lecturer's visit.


Host a lecturer

If you are part of an active student chapter, or at an HBCU or other MSI, you can apply to host a lecturer at your university by following the steps below.

  • Review and determine a speaker from the Traveling Lecturer DirectoryThe Traveling Lecturer Directory is part of the Universal Directory and you must select "Traveling Lecturer" in order to sort the list.
  • Confirm availability with the prospective Lecturer.
  • Submit your request in the Opportunity Application Database.


Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year and granted as funding is available. Chapters may only host one lecturer per year, but can email to see if additional visits are possible. Please allow at least two-three months of advance planning when considering a lecturer request. 

After the chapter has submitted a request:

  • We will confirm/deny the request
  • If confirmed, we will contact the lecturer with our approval and send your chapter the Traveling Lecturer grant.
  • Assuming the invitation is accepted, the chapter will take over and work with the lecturer on all logistics pertaining to the visit.
  • At the conclusion of the visit, the chapter must submit a follow up report in the Opportunity Application Database.

Any questions about the process can be sent to

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