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Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship

Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship header image
  • Application Dates:
    15 Jun 2021 - 30 Jul 2021
  • Program Prize:



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    Help support the future of optics

The world needs scientific expertise, and technical competency in science and technology is an invaluable asset sought after in many other fields.


The Milton and Rosalind Chang Pivoting Fellowship provides unrestricted funding to talented, early-career optical scientists and engineers who believe their expertise can improve society outside of the lab. We encourage those with vision and exceptional talent to apply and pursue a newfound passion.

Each year, we present this “no strings” stipend of US$50,000 to one OSA Member. The fellowship is an investment in a person’s commitment to advancing science through non-traditional career paths such as public policy, government, and journalism.

How to Apply:

Login to when the application period is open.

Application Dates:

Application Opens: 15 June 2021
Application Closes: 30 July 2021

Applicants Must:

  • Be a current Member who has received their terminal degree within the last five years, or will receive their terminal degree by the application deadlines.
  • Program requirements recognizes and excludes career breaks from career timelines (e.g., elder care, maternity or paternity leave). 

The Application will Include:

  • Statement of Intent
    • Highlight your intent with regard to leveraging your scientific expertise and knowledge to the betterment of the field and society outside of the traditional career paths. This should include your goals and objectives, skills to be applied or gained, and strengths to be developed. 500 words or less
  • Personal Statement
    • Share your personal story with and how your life experiences have shaped who you are and how you want to pivot your career. 500 words or less
  • CV/ Resume
  • Two References

2021 Selection Committee:

Thomas. Baer, Standord University
Janet Fender, US Air Force
Ursula Gibson, Norges Teknisk Naturvitenskapelige University, OSA Past President
Linda Smith, Ceres Technology Advisors, Inc.
Nirmal Punjabi, Indian Institute of Technology and 2020 Fellow

2020 Recipient:

2021 Pivoting Fellow Nirmal Punjabi

Nirmal Punjabi, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India

Punjabi received his Master of Technology and Ph.D. in optical biosensors from IIT Bombay where he is currently a Project Research Scientist at the National Centre of Excellence in Technology for Internal Security. His work focuses on leading the design, development and validation of hand-held fiber-optic sensing devices for bacteria detection in water.

“I want to live in a world where the end user, anybody, can have access to the optical sensors; where they can check the quality of water they are drinking or air they are breathing and live a good life.”

2020 OSA Foundation Pivoting Fellowship Recipient Nirmal Punjabi

Past Recipients:

  • Araceli Venegas-Gómez, University of Strathclyde, UK (2019)


View Past Winners