The OSA Foundation is backed by 100 years of history in optics and photonics. With help from its quality programs and critical financial support, the OSA Foundation provides students and young professionals from all over the world with opportunities to become tomorrow's leaders in optics.
The Optics Suitcase is a valuable resource for OSA Student Chapters and Science Educators who conduct youth education outreach activities in local communities around the world. The demand for this youth science educational resource is strong and growing; the approved funds assure the production of at least 100 suitcases during a 12-month period.
Developed by the Rochester Local Section in 1999, this is an innovative, interactive presentation package designed to introduce middle school students to a variety of science concepts. The accompanying guidebook has been translated into Spanish, German, Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.
The OSA and OSA Foundation have been long-standing, enthusiastic supporters of the Optics Suitcase
program. The OSA Foundation has helped source low-cost materials for this kit, assisted with the development of a “Mini Suitcase” and streamlined the shipping/distribution process. These activities enabled significant cost and production efficiencies and helps our production team to meet the growing demand.
The developer of the Suitcase, Steven Jacobs, regularly delivers presentations on how to conduct Suitcase demonstrations and use the lesson plans. In 2012 and with OSA Foundation support, 111 Optics Suitcases were produced and shipped to 35 countries around the world.
With over 300 OSA Student Chapters around the world, the OSA Student Chapter Youth Science Education Grants are a highly effective way to teach and inspire young students on a global scale. Student Chapters apply for grants to support local education activities. The applications are evaluated by a sub-committee of the Membership & Education Services (MES) Council and staff. Chapters are required to submit a report after their event(s) is completed.
Education Outreach Grants are one of the most popular OSA Student Chapter resources and all Chapters are encouraged to apply for funding each year. The number of Chapters continues to grow, and the quality of the applications improves each cycle. Many Chapters document and share their lesson plans and materials with fellow students online and during OSA events. 84 grants were awarded this year (70% of applicants). The number of grants requested increased 31% from last year.
The International OSA Network of Students (IONS) is a program that encourages Student Chapter members to organize and manage regional and online meetings that focus on technical and professional development content and networking. The OSA Foundation approved a grant of $10,000 USD to provide students with travel aid to help attend these meetings.
Since its inception in 2006, the IONS program has become one of the most popular student events. The numbers of Chapters and students participating continue to grow, and the quality of the conference programs improves each year. Event organizers record and share videos of the presentations in the OSA.org Media Library. Since 2006, 31 IONS Conferences have been held around the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America.
This program provides travel grants to students working or studying in developing nations to attend OSA Topical Meetings (in the U.S. or abroad) and Frontiers in Optics, the OSA Annual Meeting. The program will improve the access of students in developing nations to OSA meetings as well as provide networking and professional development opportunities.
This program directly addresses the Foundation's mission of supporting the global optics and photonics community by offering students in developing countries the opportunity to participate, with their peers from around the world, in OSA meetings.