Annual Program Grants

2019 Annual Fund Grants

OSA Ambassadors

As emerging leaders in the optics and photonics community, OSA Ambassadors share their experiences and perspectives with students and early career professionals. They provide career advice, technical knowledge and mentorship by serving as a traveling lecturer, supporting professional development events at local OSA meetings and engaging with their communities. 

Launched in 2016 as part of OSA’s Centennial, this program was continued at the request of the Centennial Advisory Panel in 2017. In 2018, the OSAF absorbed this program as a high-profile professional development activity given its direct impact on both students and early-career professionals.

The Innovation School

The Innovation School inspires the next generation of entrepreneurs and business professionals by providing attendees the opportunity to assess their interest in entrepreneurial ventures. The School is guided by Eric Koester, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Georgetown University.  Attendees participate in a fast-paced, immersive experience focused on product ideation, market research and problem-solution customer fit.  Content is supplemented by guest lectures from optics and photonics corporate leaders. 

Attendees leave with a high-level understanding of the entrepreneurial world and mind-set, inspired to continue their learning at their home institutions or other providers. A strong network of colleagues is formed, allowing for continued discussions, support and potential partnerships.

Training Science-Informed Public Policy Advocates

The OSA Foundation (OSAF) will offer up to 20 early-career members a unique public policy learning experience focused on demonstrating the value of science-government interaction. These members will receive expert training on communicating with legislators and the general public about science in policy and society. They will then join other OSA members to meet with U.S. senators and representatives as part of Congressional Visits Day in 2019.

OSA Student Chapter Grants

OSA Student Chapters receive grants from the OSAF in support of professional development as well as youth/community outreach programs. As of 30 September 2018, 10 chapters from 6 countries impacting an estimated 16,000.

For 2019, OSAF would maintain this funding level encouraging chapters to add a diversity and inclusion theme to their grant proposals for greater consideration.

WISTEE Symposium

The OSAF has partnered with Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship (WISTEE) in 2015 -2018 providing financial support for their annual meeting focused on advancing the careers of women in optics and photonics. In 2016-2018, WiSTEE co-located their symposium with Frontiers in Optics (FiO), OSA’s Annual Meeting attracting between 80-110 professionals interested in promoting gender equity in our field. The program features speakers and attendees from academia, industry and the public sector.

In 2019, the OSAF will continue the partnership with WiSTEE and the co-location of the symposium with FiO. By partnering with WiSTEE, the OSAF is able to leverage its network and expertise of gender equity, bring insightful programming to OSA’s annual meeting and raise awareness of the need for greater diversity and inclusion in our field.

Optics Suitcases

The Optics Suitcase is an innovative, interactive presentation package designed to introduce middle school students to the dynamic and exciting range of concepts within the study of light. Each case includes a teaching guide and materials for demonstrations and experiments that teach about optics in a fun and hands-on way. Topics include: polarization, diffraction and selective reflection.  OSA student and early-career professional members use the kit as part of their community outreach efforts. Visiting schools, community centers and science fairs and working directly with kids and teachers helps our younger members gain confidence and skills needed to effectively communicate with the general public about optics and photonics.

Diversity and Inclusion Recognition

The OSA Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition serves to acknowledge the outstanding dedication and accomplishments of OSA members, companies or organizations that demonstrate efforts to foster greater appreciation, advancement and celebration of diversity and inclusivity.

Women in Optics Speed Mentoring

The OSA Foundation will bring together women leaders to offer career advice and mentor others in a fast-paced environment. Mentees will come prepared with 1-2 career or life-balance questions and have the opportunity to discuss these questions with at least 5 different mentors. This process allows for one person to gather advice from several vantage points in a quick and effective format. 

Programming will be offered at OSA’s annual meeting Frontiers in Optics.