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2019 Cycle 1 Education Outreach Grant Recipients

SPIE awards over $80,000 annually to organizations with optics and photonics related education outreach projects. In the first round of the SPIE Education Outreach Grants for 2019, SPIE has named 15 winners. Recipients of the second round will be announced later this year.

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Meet the 2019 Cycle 1 Winners

- Achievement House Cyber Charter School (USA) - for "Traveling STEM Drone Lab." A traveling STEM Drone Lab will expand optics and photonics education to online students across Pennsylvania. The lab will travel to schools and community organizations that have limited resources. The drone cages will provide safety and flexibility, allowing demonstrations indoors. The lab will demonstrate how drone optics are used for obstacle avoidance, vision positioning, thermal detection, and photogrammetry. Hands-on activities will introduce the electromagnetic spectrum and interactive digital lessons will explain the drone industry uses of LiDAR, multispectral sensors, and remote sensing.

- Billerica Memorial High School (USA) - for "Exploring Fiber Optics." Introducing high school Senior-level Materials Science students to communications, specifically how technology advanced from basic copper wire to fiber optic cable used today. Students would learn about indices or refraction, total internal reflection and use this knowledge to create a light guide. From these basics characterize fiber optic transmissions and factors influencing power output. Industrial Fiber Optics has produced a hardware kit and lab manual appropriate to this level and would provide students nine lab-based activities strengthening their understanding of optics in communications.

- Montana Science Center (USA)- for "STEAM Connections Field Trips: Photonics." Field trip lessons, implemented in part by SPIE students, will provide students and teachers with a standards-based, hands-on, interactive understanding of light in a way that goes beyond what might otherwise be done in the classroom. Students in grades 4-8 build a take-home spectroscope, learning how to use it to analyze the spectra of different light sources. High School students are introduced to an MPIA volunteer, who works in the local photonics industry or university. Students solder a take-home LED flashlight and design a 3D container for it.

- DRS Daylight Solutions Inc. (USA) - for "Project-Based Learning: High School Age." "In this program, two high schools partner with Daylight to conduct a project-based learning program during the fall semester. The program will comprise a handful of optics and photonics engineering projects which will be identified by Daylight employees. These projects will be based upon real-world problems that are challenging but within the abilities of high schoolers to achieve. Projects will be down-selected by our STEM committee in conjunction with the high school instructor, then assigned to the class for execution.

- Florida Association of Science Teachers (USA) - for "Explore the Light." Elementary teachers are expected to teach about a wide range of scientific domains. They need both resources to engage students and content knowledge to ensure misconceptions are addressed. The Florida Association of Science Teachers has the ability to reach teachers who are looking for both, developing both a teacher training kit to use at their annual conference and an outreach kit that could be loaned out to teachers to use at school STEM nights.

- Huntsville Electro-Optical Society (USA)- for "Constructing a Model of the Eye." Develop an ultra-low-cost model of the eye for demonstrating how human vision interacts with light and the surrounding world. A simple model of the eye would be constructed using a ping pong ball, adhesive iris (sticker), and plastic biconvex lens. Students will explore sight, inverted images on the retina, corrective lenses, and other everyday functions of the eye. Teachers will be trained in-person and/or through online videos to implement hands-on activity. Designed to be used with Next Generation Science Standard 4-PS4-2 for reflecting light from objects and entering the eyes.

- IT Delhi (India) - for "Towards the path of Light." Students and teachers of KGBV Schools (government-run schools for dropout underprivileged girl students) where students will attend sessions aimed at instilling a sense of confidence and purpose towards pursuing careers in STEM through optics.

- Indian Hills Community College (USA) - for "Latino Photonics Camp." IHCC will host a free two-day photonics camp on its campus tailored specifically to Latino students aged 12 to 16. The camp exposes participants to optics and photonics through lessons and hands-on activities. Dr. Andrés Díaz, a research professor at Universidad Metropolitana’s Puerto Rico Photonics Institute, will lead the camp, speaking in both Spanish and English, ensuring students feel comfortable and fully grasp the material. Students also have the opportunity to explore IHCC’s Laser and Optics Technology laboratory.

- Monroe Community College Optics Club (USA)- for "Community Optical Demonstrations."

- National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Thailand) - for "Your Own Mobile Optical Spectrometer." An optical spectrometer is a very good tool for inspiring students and general public. The activity will be creating low-cost mobile spectrometers that work together with a smartphone. As a result, after the activity, all attendees can apply it in their daily lives.

- National Space Science & Technology Institute (USA) - for "The Power of Optics." As part of our Mobile Earth + Space Observatory, students work with pinhole boxes and lenses to explore concepts of light and optics. Through hands-on interaction, they discover how light waves are bent to form new and altered images. Students develop an understanding of optics and observe how light can be amplified and focused to create clear images, through a telescope or human eye. Students analyze the behavior of light by tracing rays from the source to understand the properties of light.

- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (USA) - for "Shedding Light on Matter: Exploring the Wonders of Light." "Through our camp and outreach programs, we will introduce optics via natural phenomena. We will present hands-on activities that establish the foundation of optics and physics by having kids experiment with light rays (LEDs, laser pointers, or a flashlight) and lenses and mirrors. Kids will explore the inner workings of telescopes and their applications in the field of astronomy. And students will study animal vision with respect to its perception of the electromagnetic spectrum. These stations will be set up for Science Nights at local schools (serving approximately 3,900 children) during the school year, and for camp/class activities and museum festivals.

- Sector67 (USA) - for "Milwaukee Maker Faire." A UV capable camera will carry out an activity similar to "How the Sun Sees You" where a thermal camera is used to demonstrate "heat vision" with a big tray of ice water. This existing activity really engages an audience of all ages. This new project will expand this activity into UV with sunscreen and other materials that absorb/reflect UV.

- Tianjin University Student Club (China) - for "2019 TJU-SPIE Optics Expo." The theme of Expo will be "Optical Communication Future, Connecting You and Me." Participants can visit various optical laboratories at Tianjin University, create optical images, and witness a short videos competition. Award-winning images will then be shared at local primary schools, and the awarded optical videos shared on the club website. Postcards and T-shirts based on the awarded images will be given to pupils who can correctly answer questions during youth-education activities.

- University of Latvia Student Chapter (Latvia) - for "Learn and shine with SPIE." The workshop includes various demonstrations and meaningful hands-on activities. This recurring educational event will take place in different schools all around Latvia.