Diversity & Inclusion in OSA

Diversity and Inclusion with OSA

The Optical Society believes that every individual in the optics and photonics field is entitled to a work or research environment that is safe and inclusive. That’s why OSA develops programs and initiatives that support a more diverse profession.

In the course of my career, I came out as a transgender woman. The transition was not easy, but going to networking events offered by OSA have helped me to get a better feel for navigating the professional world as a transwoman and increased my confidence in the person that I am today.
Willa Rawlinson

Events & Programs

  • Women of Light, a Special Program for Women in Optics hosted by WiSTEE CONNECT

    Monday, 17 October, 11:00 - 17:00

    Hyatt Regency Rochester, Grand Ballroom F-G

    WiSTEE Connect is an organization which serves to connect female students, faculty members, and engineers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship (STEE) from regional universities and private companies in upstate New York. The vision of WiSTEE Connect is to promote women leadership in STEE and assist women involved in these areas to gain regional and/or global connections and recognition. This organization helps to bridge the gap between science and entrepreneurship while providing a forum though which women in these fields may learn, connect, and lead.

    The overall goal of the “Women of Light” special session is to shine light upon women's careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and entrepreneurship, recruit women across career ranks and disciplines, and build a sustainable community of women in both academia and industry from which career growth, mobility, and leadership opportunities may be sought out.

    To register for this event please sign up by clicking here.

  • Diversity & Inclusion Program and Reception: A Look at the LGBT Climate in Physics

    Monday, 17 October, 17:00 - 18:00

    Hyatt Regency Rochester, Grand Ballroom A-B

    Speaker: Ramon Barthelemy, American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center , USA

    Please join Barthelemy as he shares highlights from the 2016 American Physical Society's (APS) LGBT Climate in Physics Report. Following the presentation join your colleagues for a networking reception to discuss ways the optics and photonics community can improve diversity and inclusion. We encourage you to attend this program to learn what OSA is doing to improve the experience of underrepresented members and support your colleagues as we continue this important conversation. First 50 attendees will receive a printed copy of APS's LGBT Report.

Featured Blog Posts

  • Women Who Make a Difference in Optics – Every Day

    12 August 2016

    Tracy Schario, APR

    I’d love to fly like these women – figuratively and literally. As we reflect on the past 100 years of scientific progress throughout The Optical Society’s Centennial year, we celebrate the fact that women have not only been core to our society, but they have also been pioneers in science – particularly optics. We interviewed three OSA Presidents—Elsa Garmire (1993), Janet Fender (1996), and Donna Strickland (2013)—and OSA Fellow Mary Lou Jepsen, one of the world’s foremost display innovators and entrepreneurs, who was recently the keynote speaker at our Light the Future speaker series at OFC.
    From these women, we’ve learned that despite often being the only woman in the room for many years, in the face of numerous misconceptions or doubts, the possibilities for women in optics are endless and the contributions to be made are great.

    “If you want a career in science, you have to just do it and put your blinders on,” says 2013 OSA President Donna Strickland. “I knew what I was good at; no one could tell me to pursue something I wasn’t good at.”
    The Only Woman in the Room

    If you ask 1993 OSA President Elsa Garmire about how she first became acquainted with The Optical Society, she’ll tell you about a physics conference she attended in Puerto Rico in 1966. The conference opened with a host on stage welcoming attendees with the introduction, “Welcome Gentlemen…and Mrs. Garmire.” Elsa – who was eight months pregnant at the time – was immediately reminded that she was one of the few women in her field. Elsa went on to pioneer laser technology with Charles Townes and is a member of the National Academies of Engineers and Inventors, among many other accolades. Yet, early in her career, she didn’t use her first name on research papers to prevent reviewer bias. I don’t have to imagine what that was like thanks to trailblazers like Elsa.

    [Read more]
When I first became an OSA member, there were very few female members at the time. This was when the women’s movement was in full swing and those who believed in it went out of their way to make new opportunities available for women. It was through scientists I met through OSA that I received recommendation letters that helped me to ultimately become a tenured, full-time professor.
Elsa Garmire

Community Resources