Candace Lynch

Candace Lynch - 2018 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Senior Crystal Growth Scientist
Inrad Optics, USA

Candace Lynch

Country of Birth: USA
Country of Residence: USA
Educational Background: BS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; PhD, Brown University


My passion for science can be directly attributed to the support and encouragement of family, teachers, and mentors during childhood. During high school, I part of a student team that sent two experiments up on the space shuttle; that experience and the group’s scientific mentors had a strong impact on me.

My primary responsibility is production crystal growth. The crystals and products developed at my company support a wide range of applications, including nuclear fusion research, industrial lasers, and detection of special nuclear material for homeland security. In this job, it is necessary to be conversant in the science behind multiple technologies in order to communicate with customers and optimize the products for each application. This is both challenging and stimulating, and I am constantly learning. I also identify new opportunities and secure funding for R&D to bring new products to market.

As a mother of three young girls, the biggest challenge is balancing the needs of my family with my professional responsibilities. My husband is an equal partner in parenting, and that teamwork is critical to getting everyone through each day. My employers and coworkers have been extremely supportive of me through pregnancies, maternity leaves, and numerous emergency calls from daycare. I would say that motherhood has made me even more organized and productive, since I know that I need to make every minute at work count. It also pushes me to strive for excellence so that my time away from my daughters has the greatest impact.

I would advise young women to have confidence in their abilities and to be resilient to setbacks. We all have bad days, but success will come to those who dust themselves off, learn from mistakes, and keep going. I encourage everyone to do outreach as much as possible; do not underestimate the impact you can have on a child’s life by sharing your time with them.

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