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SPIE will bring photonics to USA Science and Engineering Festival

09 March 2012

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- Lasers, next-generation lighting, and tomorrow's technology will be demonstrated in interactive displays this spring at the USA Science and Engineering Festival booth staffed by volunteers representing SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

USA Science and Engineering Festival logoSPIE is an Official Partner of the festival, hosted by Lockheed Martin and other sponsors 28-29 April at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

SPIE will also participate in the Festival Finale Expo kick-off with an invitation-only "Sneak Peek Friday" on 27 April for underserved schools, homeschoolers, military families, and House and Senate members.

The SPIE booth will offer several opportunities to play with light and discover how future technology will use light in numerous ways. SPIE members will be on hand along with staff both days to answer questions about photons and their capabilities.

Among the optical scientists at the SPIE booth at the 2010 festival were SPIE Fellows Carmiña Londoño of NSF (National Science Foundation) and Michael Postek of NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology).

"The festival sends a very clear message to young minds that science and engineering are fun, useful, and an excellent career choice," says Londoño, an NSF program director who feels strongly about reaching out to the public to emphasize how exciting science and technology are. 

"As an engineer, I believe that actively participating in science and engineering outreach is a social responsibility that comes with the privilege of having had the opportunity to study engineering," she says. 

SPIE booth at 2010 USA Science and Engineering FestivalPostek, a senior scientist at NIST, agrees, adding that "the future of our nation hinges on our ability to prepare our next generation to be innovators in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

"The excitement and wonderment shown on the children's faces during the USA Science and Engineering Festival in 2010," he says, "clearly demonstrated the exceptional value of the effort taken by SPIE and the other participants to strengthen this critical effort."

The 2012 festival will feature 100 stage shows, 33 author presentations, a book fair, and a career pavilion for high school students including a job fair, career fair, and networking opportunities.

The USA Science and Engineering Festival supports the objectives of the Race to the Top initiative led by the U.S. Department of Education. The campaign emphasizes the need for:

  • Designing and implementing rigorous standards and high-quality assessments
  • Attracting and keeping effective teachers and leaders in America's classrooms
  • Supporting data systems that inform decisions and improve instruction
  • Using innovation and effective approaches to turn -around struggling schools
  • Demonstrating and sustaining education reform.

SPIE programs target similar objectives to further science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Among them:

  • More than $440,000 in scholarships and educational outreach grants funded annually through the SPIE Educational Fund
  • Student Chapters and professional development programs
  • Tools for educators and students including hands-on projects, videos, and posters
  • Support for global programs such as Active Learning in Optics and Photonics, the Winter College in Optics and other programs at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, and programs providing free access to content in the SPIE Digital Library
  • Visiting Lecturer programs

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 225,600 constituents from approximately 150 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 $2.5 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2011.


Media Contact:
Amy Nelson, Public Relations Manager
+1 360 685 5478