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Twelve new SPIE Student Chapters approved

07 May 2010

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- Twelve new Student Chapters have been approved by the SPIE Board of Directors so far this year, bringing the total number to 155 with more than 4,300 members in 30 countries. Five chapters were approved during SPIE Photonics Europe in Brussels in April,Student Lunch with Experts, SPIE Photonics Europe 2010 and another seven during SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco in January.

SPIE Student Chapters provide enhanced opportunities for optics and photonics students to advance their research, build their professional networks, and help increase science knowledge among schoolchildren and the public.

Activities at SPIE events serve the needs of students particularly well.

Presentations give students a chance to be seen, to find out who is doing similar or complementary work in other organizations, and to compete for recognition in student best-paper awards programs. (For recent awards, see the report on Photonics21 Student Innovation Awards cosponsored by SPIE Europe in a recent press release, and see photos of the winners of Best Student Paper Awards from each of the conferences at the event.)

Student Chapter and networking programs are strongly supported by the established professionals who serve as SPIE conference chairs, committee members, and as Society leadership. In the words of Francis Berghmans, professor at Vrije Univ. Brussel and General Chair of SPIE Photonics Europe 2010, "SPIE cares about students -- students are the future of photonics."

Professional development workshops feature experts on topics such as interviewing, career development, working with journalists, securing funding, applying for patents, and presenting and writing papers.

Networking opportunitiesKhet World Tournament, SPIE Photonics West bring students together with experts in informal settings where they can find out where the jobs are, what skills are being sought, and how to apply. Students who start building useful peer networks and find mentors early in their careers are more successful and likely to stay in the field.

Student Chapters present hands-on workshops, demonstrations, and other activities in schools and elsewhere in their own communities, to share information about science and in particular optics and photonics. This year, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser, many chapters are providing Hit-the-Target laser workshops in schools. The Hit-the-Target kits were developed by SPIE and NOAO as part of the Society's Advancing the Laser: 50 Years and Into the Future tribute, and are offered through LaserFest, a collaborative celebration of teh worldwide laser community.

While the LaserFest grants have been distributed for 2010, SPIE offers Education Outreach Grants that both Student Chapters and non-profit organizations can win to fund their larger education and outreach projects. The next submission deadline is 31 May. Students who are interested in forming an SPIE Student Chapter are encouraged to look at the template documents on the SPIE website.

The newest SPIE Student Chapters are at:

  • Engineering School of Communication of Tunis, Tunisia
  • Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, Pakistan
  • Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
  • Stellenbosch Univ., South Africa
  • Univ. of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, USA
  • Ecole Polytechnique, France
  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Russia
  • Nankai Univ., China
  • Technische Univ. München, Germany
  • Cent. de Investigación Científica y de Educación de Ensenada, México
  • Univ. de Caen-Basse Normandie, France
  • McMaster Univ., Canada.

Photo captions, from top:

The "Student Lunch with Experts" is a popular way for students to network at SPIE events with established leaders in the field; pictured here are attendees at SPIE Photonics Europe in Brussels in April.

A World Khet Tournament sponsored by SPIE and Innovention Toys at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco last January launched a new networking opportunity, as participants competed for a free conference registration and plane ticket to return to Photonics West in 2011.

SPIE , the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 188,000 constituents from 138 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world. In Europe, SPIE supports the optics and photonics community by acting as an advocate and liaison to political and industry associations.

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