Alexis Vogt - 2019 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of Optics
Monroe Community College, USA
Country of Birth: USA
My career in optics began at the University of Rochester when I was encouraged by a few upperclassmen to take Introduction to Optics with Professor Turan Erdogan. Turan’s ability to distill complex optics principles in a compelling and engaging way was remarkable. Following a career in academia, Turan started an optics company in Rochester, later became my manager, and demonstrated that he is a trusted, knowledgeable, and accomplished business leader as well.
I am the endowed chair and associate professor of optics at Monroe Community College. In addition to full-time teaching responsibilities, I was appointed to MCC to strengthen and grow the optics and photonics program—the nation’s only two-year degree program training technicians for work in the precision optics industry. I cultivate community, business, and industry partnerships to anticipate workforce needs and promote regional and national economic vitality.
As I move forward and grow our optics program to meet the increasing regional and national optics workforce demands, I want more families to encourage their children to pursue interests in science and physics, especially their daughters.
As a female in a male-dominated field, I have often found myself as the only woman in a class, meeting, or presentation. As the daughter of two loving, inspiring, and supportive parents—including a strong, determined mother—I never viewed this as a challenge, but as an opportunity. Throughout my studies and my career, I worked hard and achieved success. Someone would eventually become the first female optics professor at Monroe Community College and I am pleased to be that woman.
My own strength and guidance come from my parents and the Bible. Words of particular importance that guide me and aptly apply to young girls or women considering a career in STEM come from Joshua 1 verse 9, “...Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged...”
Success can be achieved by working hard and always treating others with respect. The only limit to what you can do is your own ambition.