Reference Guide / Instructions

Reference Guide / Instructions

This guide is intended for individuals who have been asked to serve as a reference for an OSA Fellow nomination.  Your contribution to the process is very important.  In the interest of efficiency and speed, all references are submitted online through BEAM, OSA’s Awards and Honors System.  All references must be submitted by 25 June. 

The nominator will enter your name and contact information into BEAM.  You will then receive an email from OSA with a link to the reference form in BEAM. If you have difficultly accessing BEAM, please contact the OSA Awards Office or use the password reset link in the email. Important - please do not create a new OSA account as it won’t be associated with your reference requests.

What Information is Provided in BEAM?

References are able to view the following information:

  1. Proposed citation for the Fellow nominee

  2. 1-page narrative from the nominator

  3. Nominee’s CV/Resume

  4. Nominee’s category of achievement (The nomination will be assessed in context of this category)

    1. Engineering, Application and Development

    2. Engineering and Science Research

    3. Technical Leadership

    4. Education

    5. Volunteer/Professional Service

What is Required from References?

  1. Complete a short questionnaire about the nominee

  2. Provide a brief statement, in the text box provided on the form, describing your specific knowledge of the nominee's professional and other accomplishments that support the election to OSA Fellow. This should emphasize the impact of the nominee’s work/activity.

  3. An optional 1- page letter of support (this must be a PDF document).

What Makes a Strong Reference?

  • One that focuses on the impact of the nominee’s work or activity.

  • One that presents a personal perspective.

  • One that does not include comments on or give support to achievements or accomplishments that you are not familiar with.

  • One that avoids duplicating the nominator’s narrative and that provides a unique interpretation of the value and impact of the nominee’s contributions.

  • One that may provide additional evidence of accomplishment (i.e., increased company revenues, spurred a new line of products, influence to another field, etc.) even if not directly quantifiable.

  • One that focuses on accomplishments that support the selected category of achievement.

 Samples from Reference Statements and Letters:

 Business Leadership

  • He has parlayed his deep basic knowledge of lasers and materials into a multi-billion-dollar company that has moved the enterprise of laser technology forward to the profound benefit of the laser science and manufacturing communities.

  • Founded in YEAR, the company now has revenues in excess of $XX and over XXX employees.

  • His background and career path is quite remarkable.  Today, his company has over 500 employees with products spanning multiples areas of optics. These impressive accomplishments are a testament to his exceptional talent as an entrepreneur.

  • Through strategic partnerships, acquisitions, and her guiding role as a business angel in new technological ventures, her impact as a technical leader has been profound.

Engineering, Application and Development

  • I think it is safe to say that almost every single researcher in this community has at least some equipment in their laboratory with her distinct imprint on it.

  • He has repeatedly demonstrated his outstanding ability to transform results of optics and laser research into high-class products.

  • It is highly noteworthy that she has shown her excellent capability to design and manufacture specialty optical fibers so that they can be used as a fundamental platform to develop new markets. It is very valuable achievement to turn design ideas into real products and further develop new photonic markets, which deserves fair recognition.

  • Within the development labs of the industrial environment provided by COMPANY XXX has been able to express himself through the design of a wide range of commercial laser-based products. In all of this activity he has shown himself to be adept at appreciating and responding to the equipment-related needs and aspirations of an extensive set of customers and this has been achieved through a continuation of his hybridised scientific and technical skills. His engineering accomplishments have been many and varied but all have carried his hallmark of ‘novelty with practicality’. 

Engineering and Science Research

  • As indicated by her credentials, XX  is  a  well  accomplished veteran  in  the  fields  of  lasers  and  optoelectronics.  Her outstanding technical contributions are demonstrated by her more than XX issued US patents in the laser fields. 

  • He is very well known for his ground-breaking contributions in the field of XX. In particular, he has made seminal contributions to the developments of X.  This concept has since become widely adopted by researchers around the world. The initial paper on this concept has been cited over 500 times since its publication.

  • Because of the great potential and uniqueness of optical technologies pioneered and developed by Dr. X, her technologies are now used in the United States and abroad in a variety of applications ranging from biomedical to earth science.

  • He has a rare ability to discern opportunities for collaborative work and then has made a special effort to nurture such collaborations many of which have been in Europe – again requiring a considerable commitment on her part in fostering such relations.

Technical Leadership

  • In the field of optical telecommunications she has shown strong capability both in technical expertise and community services for tens of years. X has driven advancement of optical network architectures and system technologies in the global communication giant and guided optical network system vendors and e/o component vendors to develop the “right” products to meet network service providers’ needs. She is a valuable bridge to link advanced research in the field to real world network applications.

  • The impact of his contributions reaches therefore well beyond DoD applications. In fact, the tremendous breath of his significant accomplishments, spread across all aspects of imaging and optical sensing systems, is noteworthy. His achievements span hardware and software innovations and technology advances that range from acquisition, to processing and display of images. This is a very remarkable feat.

  • He has served the Optical community for several decades through his technical leadership, technical contributions, editing, and conference organization. Regarding his technical leadership, X has contributed extensively in the area of electro-optical sensing. He has a proven record of bridging technical and organizational boundaries to create new solutions, new directions and new opportunities. His technical leadership also extends to his employment at COMPANY where he manages four R&D departments totaling 100+ scientists and engineers performing basic and applied research as well as direct program support in the areas of energy technology, microelectronics and photonics.


  • At the same time she has been a strong supporter of changes to improve physics education in universities and schools. She has set an example for outstanding teaching herself and influenced the culture of teaching in her University and more broadly. She has worked tirelessly, and with success, on the topic of gender equity and has never been shy in advocating improvements.

  • To this end, he has played a significant role in service to his community and to his profession. He has lead Youth Empowerment efforts, for which he received the highest honors and served on numerous regional, national, and international programs to promote optical science, entrepreneurship, and advanced research and development.

  • He is also a devoted mentor and educator. He contributed to advancing knowledge and broadening the dissemination of science in general and optics and photonics in general to inspire and engage groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the field of optics. He has nurtured over XX graduate students.

Volunteer/Professional Service

  • And these days, when I google for some term or a technical detail that escapes my memory, every so often I end up on the web pages of her online encyclopedia – and I guess many of us share that experience. She has created an amazing resource there: The content is always well researched, and the sheer volume of hundreds of articles is astonishing, considering it is the work of a single author who must put in lots of his time to provide this for-free service to the optics research community. 

  • He was instrumental in organizing and promoting the International Year of Light as representative of X and implemented a number of highly valued public engagement activities, such as XXX and XXX.

  • X shows strong leadership in optics community. In past decade, she has served the community through her many roles in committees of the X Conference.  She has been involved in setting directions and planning aspects of CONFERENCE and maintained continued industry involvement of the conference. She has served in over seven distinct roles in the conference and has been particularly successful in proposing and implementing new topic areas for the conference.

  • He has also worked tirelessly to serve the scientific community, in optics and beyond. Special examples include major efforts to promote opportunities for women in Physics, regular participation in activities of the OSA and other societies and organizations, and extensive conference organization activities.