OSA Foundation Announces New Funding for Optics Programs


Lyndsay Meyer

OSA Foundation Announces New Funding for Optics Programs

WASHINGTON, July 9—The OSA Foundation today announced the details of the programs it will fund in 2010. The programs include new and continuing grants for optics education programs, OSA student member activities and student travel to OSA-sponsored meetings. The funding of these programs help further the OSA Foundation’s goals of advancing youth science education, providing optics education and resources to underserved populations, offering career and professional development resources to the optics community, and providing awards and honors that recognize technical and business excellence.

“Every year the OSA Foundation carefully selects programs to support based on the value they provide to students of all ages, including those in underserved communities and developing nations,” said G. Michael Morris, chair of the OSA Foundation. “We are proud to have supported several of these high-quality programs for many years and we are excited about the new opportunities that will help bring the science of light to the next generation of leaders and innovators.”

Following is a summary of the new and renewed programs:

Light Here | Light Now: A National Distance Learning Program
The OSA Foundation is donating optics materials and providing new funding for a national program called Light Here | Light Now. The distance-learning program will be developed by the Rochester (NY) Museum and Science Center (RMSC) and will focus on national learning standards relating to optical science and careers. The program will be a 45- to 50-minute “virtual field trip” utilizing the Light Here | Light Now exhibits, targeting grades 4 through 10. An RMSC educator will interact with students via a video conferencing system where students can see and hear everything going on from their classroom. In addition to educator-driven demonstrations, hands-on experiments will be incorporated with OSA’s Optics Discovery Kits.

Optics and Lasers at Oakridge High School
Also new in 2010, the OSA Foundation will be providing Photon Optics Kits, developed by LumenFlow Corp., for science classrooms at Oakridge High School, a small suburban school located in Western Michigan. The kits will be used for a unit focusing on optics in industry, in which students are presented with a problem that has bee encountered in the optics and photonics industry and must develop a product to solve the problem.

Enhancing Science Curriculum: Embedding the Study of Light, Color and the Night Time Sky
For the fourth consecutive year, the OSA Foundation is supporting EASTCONN, a non-profit regional education service center serving 36 school districts in mostly rural northeast Connecticut. With this continued funding, EASTCONN will be able to provide innovative and unique educational programs for public primary and secondary school teachers designed to excite both teachers and students in the study of light, vision, color, optics and the night time sky. These programs will offer a combination of teacher professional development workshops and student outreach designed to enhance both teacher and student knowledge and interest. This program will also establish a new “optics lending library,” where teachers can borrow classroom resources that will enable them to introduce exciting new and current light, vision, color, optics and Dark Skies activities and lessons. In addition, this program supports teachers through a scholarship program designed to cover the cost of their enrollment, who, due to financial limitations within their school districts, are otherwise unable to participate in this program.

Student Travel Grant Program
Since 2004, the OSA Foundation has supported travel grants for students in developing nations. This funding has been renewed from 2010 to 2012. Funds are used to help the students attend OSA-managed topical meetings and OSA’s Annual Meeting, Frontiers in Optics (FiO).

Student Professional Development Programming at CLEO and FiO
The OSA Foundation is continuing its support of professional development programming at FiO, and will expand its funding to include events at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO). Programs include:

  • Student Oasis – Students attendees at CLEO can visit the Student Oasis in the PhotonXpo Exhibit Hall to learn more about their career options during special presentations.
  • Internship Networking Event – OSA’s student members and recently graduated members are invited to network with OSA’s corporate member representatives at CLEO and FiO. Corporate members leave with attendees’ CVs and students and young professionals leave with corporate member contact information.
  • Student Chapter Leadership Meeting – Leaders from each OSA Student Chapter are invited to attend this day-long skill-building- and networking-focused meeting at FiO.
  • Chapter and Board Networking – The OSA President addresses the OSA Student Chapter attendees at FiO and is available for a question-and-answer session. The members of the OSA Board of Directors are encouraged to sit in on all or part of the student leader meeting. When scheduling permits, an organized event such as a Board/Student Chapter breakfast is held.
  • Student Chapter Poster Session – A specially designated section for posters from OSA Student Chapters is placed in the FiO Exhibit Hall.
  • Student Reception – This annual FiO event brings together student attendees for informal networking.
  • Student Development Sessions Open to all student attendees at FiO, these presentations are delivered by optics leaders and focus on career planning and skill-building. Examples of past presentations include: “Life After Graduation,” “Effective Ways for Presenting a Technical Paper,” and “Developing Effective Networking Skills.”

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 US 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.