OSA Foundation's Partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA Achieves Milestone



Angela Stark

OSA Foundation’s Partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA Achieves Milestone

Troops see optics in action during session at University of Maryland Baltimore County

WASHINGTON, April 2 – In a new milestone for ongoing work toward establishing an optics activity book for the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Central Maryland Girl Scouts Council and Girl Scout Council of The Nation's Capital visited the optics laboratory at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). There, the girls participated in experiments that are slated to be a part of an optics and photonics workbook. They also learned about the scientific principles behind the experiments, while getting a first-hand account of how these principles translate to applications in laboratory and real-world settings.
The 16 girls attending, between the ages of 11 and 17, the target age range for this program, started the day by doing individual optics experiments from the workbook, including making a telescope, creating a “private rainbow,” making zelotropes and simulating a sunset.  They then moved on to a guided, hands-on tour of a working optics laboratory where they saw laser systems at work, optical fibers, clean rooms and learned how communications systems work.

“We really wanted the girls to connect not only with the individual science experiments that will be featured in the book, but also to see how laser technology works in a laboratory environment and how it translates into real-world applications,” said Gary Bjorklund, chair of the OSA Foundation Board.

“Thanks to OSA Past President Anthony Johnson, the director of the optics lab at UMBC, we were able to show the girls how the principles and techniques they found in their workbooks are a part of their daily lives. We hope that once the program is launched nationally, other troops will have this opportunity as well and the OSA Foundation will be working with the Girl Scouts to provide the contacts and resources to make it happen,” said Bjorklund.

About the OSA Foundation

The OSA Foundation was established in 2002 to support philanthropic activities that help further the Optical Society of America’s mission by concentrating its efforts on programs that advance youth science education, support optics and photonics in developing nations, provide education and resources to underserved populations and support OSA’s Awards and Honors program. The grants funded by the OSA Foundation are made possible by the generous donations of its supporters as well as the dollar-for-dollar match by OSA. The Foundation is exempt from U.S. federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is a public charity. To learn more about the OSA Foundation or to find out how to donate, please visit www.osa-foundation.org or email foundation@osa.org.

About OSA

Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society of America (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit www.osa.org.