OSA Foundation Announces Funding for New and Continuing Programs



Angela Stark
Optical Society

OSA Foundation Announces Funding for New and Continuing Programs

Optics grants benefit students and educators across the globe

WASHINGTON, Aug. 4—The Optical Society’s (OSA) Foundation Board of Directors recently approved new funding for programs taking place this year. These grants will help advance international optics-related education by renewing successful grants and introducing new programs. The grants and programs will benefit students and educators around the world by providing resources such as classroom sets, travel support and program funding.

We are thrilled to fund more programs than ever before, with a particular emphasis on multi-national collaborations”, said Gary Bjorklund, chairman of the OSA Foundation Board.  “These programs are truly global in nature—from bringing optics education to students in South America and Mexico to supporting the worldwide network of OSA local sections and student chapters.   The OSA Foundation is proud to continue fulfilling its mission of bringing the science of light to students around the world.”

Following is a summary of the new and renewed programs:

Project Lumiere
This is a two-week science camp taking place this summer intended to introduce children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Sophia, Guyana, to basic science. The sessions will expose 50 students, in groups aged 6 to 10 and 11 to 16, to experiments with rockets, optics and medicine.  Most of the students are illiterate, so the program will focus on experiential learning and will employ physical demonstrations, pictorial aids and verbal instructions to assist students in progressing through the exercises.  The OSA Foundation is providing classroom sets of Optics Discovery Kits , Optics: Light at Work DVDs and Laser Technology CD-ROMs .

Support for Children’s and Teenagers’ Science Clubs in Mexico
The OSA Foundation is providing a grant and a classroom set of the Optics Discovery Kit to expand training and materials for the Children’s Science Club and Scientific Club for Teenagers in León, Guanajuato, Mexico.  The clubs offer monthly learning sessions for up to 200 students, which include a 15-minute explanation of a scientific topic followed by interactive experiments for the students to explore in groups. The experiments are conducted with the support of graduate students, many of whom are members of the Centro de Investigaciones en Optica AC OSA Student Chapter.

International Travel Grants for PHOTON Problem-Based-Learning Workshops
The New England Board of Higher Education provides professional development workshops for high school teachers through a National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported program called PHOTON Problem-Based Learning.  The NSF fund cannot be used to support teachers from outside the United States, so the OSA Foundation is providing travel grants for up to three international high school physics teachers to participate in the July 2008 one-week professional development workshop.  The program includes eight industry- and research university-based multimedia “challenges” that use real-life problems and solutions to prepare high school and community college science, math and technology/engineering instructors to use with their students.


OSA Student Chapter Youth Education Grant Renewal
After successfully aiding more than 5,000 students in 20 countries in 2007 alone, OSA has renewed the Student Youth Education Grant program through 2011. This program provides OSA student chapters with grants to develop and implement grassroots youth science education programs.

OSA Local Section Youth Education Grant Renewal
OSA local sections have the ability to reach thousands of students in countries around the globe through grassroots science education programs. To better help their efforts, the OSA Foundation will provide grants to aid in their youth science education outreach initiatives. 

These new programs are being funded in addition to current OSA Foundation-supported programs, which include OSA student member travel grants and student professional development programming at OSA’s Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics; a collaboration with the Girl Scouts of the USA; student awards and scholarships; education outreach and translation of educational resources. The new programs outlined above and the more than 150 programs supported by the OSA Foundation since2002forward its  mission to advance youth science education, provide optics and photonics education to underserved populations, provide career and professional development resources and support awards and honors that recognize technical and business excellence.

For more information or to apply for an OSA Foundation grant, visit the Grant Programs section of the OSA Foundation Web site or e-mail foundationgrants@osa.org.

About the OSA Foundation

The OSA Foundation was established in 2002 to support philanthropic activities that help further the Optical Society’s mission by concentrating its efforts on programs that advance youth science education, provide optics education and resources to underserved populations, provide career and professional development resources and support awards and honors that recognize technical and business excellence. 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 e-mail foundation@osa.org.