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Newest SPIE Student Chapters expand photonics network to schools in 36 countries

18 August 2011

Student Mebers in Brussels

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- The growing ranks of SPIE Student Members now top 5,000 in 36 countries, with the addition of 12 new chapters approved by the SPIE Board of Directors this year. The Board will be asked to approve two more next week when it meets during SPIE Optics + Photonics in San Diego 21-25 August.

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.

In 2010, Student Chapter members reached more than 11,000 people with some form of optics outreach, helping the Society further its core mission of promoting STEM education -- science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

At Optics + Photonics, more than 200 SPIE Student Chapter leaders will participate in a weekend leadership workshop. Alumni of the leadership program who have become professors, engineers in industry, and scientists in large labs are returning to the workshop to network and lend their experience to this next generation.

Student events continue throughout the week, highlighted by the Optics Outreach Olympics Sunday evening, where teams will show off their best optics demonstrations for the public and their peers.

A wide range of activities has been organized to serve SPIE Student Members:

  • 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.
  • Sponsored best-paper awards programs give students a chance to be seen by top scientists and recognized for their outstanding research.
  • Networking opportunities 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 Chapter and networking programs are strongly supported by the established professionals who serve as SPIE conference chairs, committee members, and as Society leadership.
  • Student Chapters present hands-on workshops, demonstrations, and other activities in schools and throughout in their own communities, improving science literacy and spreading knowledge of optics and photonics.
  • 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.

The newest SPIE Student Chapters are at:

  • Ben-Gurion Univ.. Israel
  • Carleton Univ., USA
  • Univ., Czech Republic
  • Colorado State Univ., USA
  • Hannam Univ., China
  • Ruhr-Univ. Bochum, Germany
  • The Univ. of Western Ontario, Canada
  • Univ. of Southampton, UK
  • Vilnius Univ., Lithuania
  • Washington State Univ., USA
  • Washington Univ. in St. Louis, USA
  • Xidian Univ., China.

The Board will be asked next week to approve SPIE Student Chapters at Harvard Univ. (USA) and Univ. of São Paulo (Brazil).

Students who are interested in forming an SPIE Student Chapter are encouraged to look at the template documents on the SPIE website.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 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. SPIE provided over $2.3 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2010.


Media Contact:

Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
Tel: +1 360 685 5478