OSA | Living History

Nicholas Wong Memoir

Being a student member of the OSA has opened up a plethora of professional opportunities. In this year alone, I am privileged to have been able to attend three OSA meetings and conferences, namely, the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) in San Jose, California, USA, where I presented my first photonics paper; the Siegman International School on Lasers in Amberg Germany; and the Student Leadership Conference (SLC) held in conjunction with the Frontiers in Optics/Laser Science (FiO/LS) conference in San Jose again. These latter two were only possible through my membership with OSA. Apart from the academic exposure gained from the lectures and seminars, I was also able to meet researchers from all over the world and establish professional networks, particularly with other fellow students, who would be the next generation of experts. Even at CLEO, which is open to both OSA members and non-members, there were numerous member-only events, such as the inspiring meet-and-greet session with Nobel laureates, just for student members. Through my various interactions in OSA events, I have acquired a finer understanding of the photonics research frontier, the industry state, and its professional expectations. I now feel more equipped when making decisions about advancing my own career.

The unique student opportunities in OSA also motivated me to become the President of my university’s OSA student chapter. The many generous OSA chapter grants have allowed us to run a highly active society with many educational, social, and outreach events for our students. OSA has enabled us to enhance the student experience beyond just academics and research. It is encouraging that the society invests so much in its student members, a prime example of such is the aforementioned SLC, which I was fortunate to attend and from which I gained valuable experiences. None of all this would have been possible had I not been a member of the OSA. I am a member of a number of other professional optics societies as well, but if any is strongly committed to developing students and future leaders in the field, it is the OSA.