My Story from the 2022 Amplify Optics Immersion Program
Maimuna Nagey, Creighton University
In the field of optics, diversity and representation have been long-standing challenges. However, thanks to Optica, recent initiatives and programs have begun to bridge this gap, creating opportunities for underrepresented groups to excel in the scientific community.
Optica Women Scholars is a prestigious and empowering initiative designed to support and encourage women to pursue careers in optics. As an undergraduate student at the Multimedia University of Kenya, I became a 2022 recipient of the scholarship. Along with 19 other recipients worldwide, I was provided with financial support, mentorship, and networking opportunities that helped me grow personally and professionally.
I was also accepted to attend the inaugural Amplify Optics Immersion Program in 2022, collocated with the Optica annual meeting Frontiers in Optics (FiO). During the program, I had the privilege of meeting FiO Chair Professor Turan Erdogan, whose introduction helped me connect with Dr. Timothy Baran at the University of Rochester. Dr. Baran has been an invaluable mentor, providing guidance and support throughout my academic journey. As a result of attending this conference, I discovered my strong interest in medical physics and have since enrolled in the Medical Physics program at Creighton University on a fellowship.
The 50 students involved in the Immersion program had the opportunity to:
- Build Bridges: Throughout the program, we were encouraged to share our research, experiences, and perspectives. This collaborative environment enabled us to forge meaningful connections and foster interdisciplinary collaborations.
- Meet Inspiring Mentors: One of the most valuable aspects of participating in the Amplify Optics Immersion Program was connecting with renowned experts in optics.
- Connect with other Black Scientists: The program brought together black scientists worldwide, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
I want to express my utmost appreciation for Optica, the Optica Foundation and all the donors who support these efforts. Their commitment to advancing the understanding and application of optics has been instrumental in shaping my academic and professional journey. And initiatives, such as Optics Women Scholars and the Amplify Optics Immersion Program, have provided invaluable opportunities for networking, mentorship, and collaboration with a diverse community of scientists.
Edmund Optics has recently become the founding donor for the Amplify Optics Immersion program at the US$150,000 level to help support the next generation of Black scientists and engineers. Through this, and other programs, Optica and the foundation work to amplify Black voices in optics and you can help. Donate here today to support these programs and young scientists like Maimuna.