Fellows Nomination Guidelines

Fellow Nomination
Guidelines for Nominations


  1. Nominator. Only a current OSA Fellow may submit a Fellow nomination.
  2. References - a minimum of three, a maximum of five. At least one of the references must be a current OSA Fellow and only one should be from the same institution as the nominee. The three to five references should be listed on the nomination form and each should be contacted by you and instructed to complete a Fellow Reference form to be sent under separate cover to OSA by 15 June.
  3. Nominee. OSA Individual Members (excluding student members) who have served with distinction in the advancement of optics and photonics may be proposed for election to the class of Fellow.
    • OSA Award & Medal winners, who are OSA members but not OSA Fellows, are automatically considered for election to Fellow during the next review cycle.
    • The nominee does not participate in the process. For confidential purposes, the necessary facts should be obtained from the nominee only if the complete and correct background information is not available elsewhere.
    • As far as possible, Fellows are encouraged to nominate colleagues from outside their own institution. In any case, the nominator should ensure broad consensus of support for their nominee by soliciting letters of recommendation from outside the nominee's institution.


  1. Identify three to five references and request that they each submit the reference form to OSA by 15 June (OSA does not contact the references).
  2. Obtain information on the nominee including professional recognition, employment history, publications and patent list, areas of professional specialization, professional society membership and activity, and other noteworthy accomplishments in science, engineering, industry and public service.  This will need to be condensed into a summary of 10 pages or less.
  3. Write a 25-35 word citation (starts with “for”)
  4. Write a concise and accurate description of the contributions of the nominee describing why he/she should be elected (this is called the narrative and should be less than one-page in length)
  5. Complete the nomination form (on-line or in hard copy) with contact information for you, the nominee and the three to five references. To complete the form you will need the contact information for the candidate, the names and email addresses of the references, the nominee’s OSA technical division, category of achievement and the proposed citation. The file with the supporting material can be downloaded into the form or emailed to the OSA Awards Office.
    Warning: It is not possible to save a partially complete form and return to it later to complete.
  6. Identify which of OSA Technical Divisions best fits the nominee's work.
    • Bio-Medical Optics
    • Fabrication, Design & Instrumentation
    • Information Acquisition, Processing & Display
    • Optical Interaction Science
    • Photonics and Opto-Electronics
    • Vision and Color Division
      See http://www.osa.org/join/techgroups/ for a listing of the technical groups under each division.
  7. In an effort to accurately assess nominees in the context of their achievements, nominators should select the one category of achievement that best defines the nominee's significant contributions. The referees should be informed which category you select. The Fellow Members Committee will score the nomination considering the selected category.
    • Business Leadership
    • Education
    • Engineering, Application and Development
    • Engineering and Science Research
    • Technical Leadership
    • Volunteer/Professional Service


  1. Submission. Complete nominations (this includes the references) are due to the OSA Awards Office by 15 June each year.
  2. Review. The Fellow Members Committee reviews the nominations over the summer and submits their report to the OSA Awards Committee and the OSA Board of Directors in late summer.
  3. Announcement. The newly elevated OSA Fellows are announced shortly after the Fall Board of Directors meeting. OSA notifies successful nominees and their nominators by e-mail and/or first class mail. Nominators of unsuccessful nominees are notified by e-mail and/or first class mail.

Nominations are eligible for consideration for up to three years. Nominators are asked to update the nomination before the 15 June deadline.  Nominators should email new or updated information to the Awards Office (awards@osa.org) by 15 June.  After review by three committees, a nomination is retired.

Documentation Needed

A nomination package should provide the following information:
  1. A nomination form which includes information on the nominee, nominator and the references.
  2. A concise and accurate description of the contributions and/or achievements of the nominee and their impact (this is referred to as the “narrative”)
  3. A suggested citation (25 – 35 words and typically starts with “for”)
  4. Information on the nominee (the nominee's vita, resume and/or publications/patents list may serve for this requirement if it does not exceed 10 pages):
    • Professional recognition (honors, field of study, degrees awarded, patents awarded)
    • Employment history (list employer, position, and dates)
    • Publications and patents (list significant work, publications, and patents to support this nomination)
    • Areas of professional specialization
    • Principal professional society memberships and activities (indicate membership grade, contributions to the work of the society, important offices held, and committee activities)
    • Other noteworthy accomplishments in science, engineering, industry and public service
    • The 10-page limit does not include the nominator’s narrative (#2) or the reference letters.

Criteria & Evaluation

The OSA Fellow Members Committee recommends nominees to the OSA Awards Committee of the Board of Directors. The number of Fellows is limited by the Society's bylaws to be no more than 10% of the total OSA Membership and the number elected each year is limited to approximately 0.4% of the current membership total. Due to these limitations, in recent years less than 50% of nominees have been elevated to Fellow annually.

The Fellow Members Committee considers the following criteria when evaluating nominations; no individual is expected to meet all of them. Each nominee is rated numerically on the basis of this information. Overall, the impact of the nominee’s achievements will be evaluated.

  1. Evidence of scientific, technical or engineering accomplishments
  2. Significant inventions, discoveries or advances in optics and photonics
  3. Substantial innovation, creativity, and development, advancement or application of science and technology
  4. Exceptional career as an educator or significant contributions to education
  5. Sustained and substantial leadership to OSA or service to the global community, including industry
  6. Entrepreneurial or business leadership critical in the development or growth of a segment of the optics and photonics industry
  7. Record of important publications related to optics or photonics
  8. Record of significant patents related to optics or photonics
  9. Excellence in product development, advancement in systems, application or operation, project management, process development, or other application of technology
  10. Outstanding engineering application or scientific accomplishments resulting from a managerial, team, or company-wide effort
  11. Confidential opinions of references

Additional Information

If you have questions or to request a nomination form in Word, please contact the OSA Awards Office (awards@osa.org or 1.202.416.1960).

Begin the Online Fellow Nomination Form