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My First Trip as an OSA Ambassador

By Rim Cherif, 2017 OSA Ambassador, Tunisia | Posted: 8 May 2017

I arrived in Beijing on 20 April after a 23 hour long trip. While I was tired from the travel, I met with Aixin Zhang, PhD student at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Physics (IOP) and President of the OSA Student Chapter who took me to IOP. I was welcomed by Professor Ling-An Wu, Chapter Advisor, and was impressed by the huge building and hospitality of all the professors and students. I first gave my scientific talk on ‘Supercontinuum Generation in Photonic Crystal Fibers’, which was attended by students and professors from different groups. After my presentation, I had a very constructive discussion with the audience followed by a pizza party. Aixin presented on the activities of the IOP-OSA Student Chapter and the plan for the upcoming activities. This was the perfect transition to my second lecture ‘About OSA and Student Chapter Management’. We discussed various issues namely: how to maintain a chapter in a good standing and how to write chapter grants. Most of the students wanted to learn what makes an event receive grant funding or not and were looking for advice on the overall process. I discussed with them the difference between small and large impact-type events and gave them examples with very specific details such as the number of attendees, program, lecturers, etc.  Following my lectures, I had an interesting discussion with Professor Wei Ding about nonlinear optics followed by a lab tour. I was impressed with the facilities and the equipments especially the new setup for THz devices. After 7 hours spent at IOP, I had the opportunity to share a typical dinner ‘‘Hot pot’‘ with Aixin during which she introduced me to the education system in China, how to get in the PhD program, and the perspectives of jobs after graduating.

Photo credit : Rim Cherif (Left to Right : Professor Ling-An Wi, OSA Ambassador Rim Cherif, and OSA Student President Aixin Zhang)

 

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From Engineer to Career: How to Become a Successful Professional

By Volker Sorger, George Washington University | Posted: 7 November 2016



Every student is concerned with one and the same detail: to get a good job and be a successful professional. The Arizona chapter invited me to not talk about my groups nanophotonic research which focuses on novel opto-electronic device physics, emerging material such as TMDs and TCOs, and plasmonics. Here, I was asked to talk about what it takes to be successful after graduation. I broke this question down into thee aspects:

  1. Knowing the Rules
  2. Knowing Yourself
  3. Starting your Path
We learn the details of physics, optics, and electronics in school. But we seldom learn rules of how-to-get-the-job, or what the other side looks for. Graduating from a top university essentially guarantees an interview, but it does not guarantee the job offer. Hence the question arises, how to get the offer? First of all, we need to recognize that all decision on hiring (after an interview) and promotions are made by humans, and not machines. In fact, 75% of hiring decisions are made based on ‘finding-a-good-match’, rather than technical skills. Interestingly, the situation is rather similar to dating; both sides find each other interesting, but are unsure whether they want to be proceed together. The job interview is therefore more likely like dating, and knowing the rules is key. 

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Light Beyond the Lab: Putting Your Research Skills to Work

By Chad Husko, Argonne National Laboratory | Posted: 29 June 2016

This is the second in a series of blog posts I’m writing throughout 2016 in my role as OSA Ambassador. In case you missed my last post, you can find it here.
 
In this blog post I will discuss a recent trip across the border to Canada to attend the IONS-Quebec conference and to visit INRS-Montreal.
 
I’ll also give you a glimpse into some professional development pointers I’ve been sharing with the OSA community. In each new post I will comment on different aspects that appear in the live presentation. Today the topic will be ‘Communication skills.’ This is certainly à propos as this specifically came up in the talk of Jean Luc-Dumont (Principiae) at IONS-Quebec.

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