Liliana Villanueva

Liliana Villanueva - 2019 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

PhD Student
Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica, Mexico

Liliana Villanueva

Country of Birth: Mexico
Country of Residence: Mexico
Educational Background: BS in Mathematical Physics, Instituto Politécnico Nacional; MS in Optics, Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica
SPIE Student Member


The physics of the natural world has always captivated me. As I learned more about it, I decided to pursue my BS in mathematical physics. During this time, I quickly discovered my love to explore more about the quantum world. I was curious about the optical principles involved behind those interesting phenomena. So I decided to continue my study in the branch of quantum optics.

I am currently a PhD student at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE). I am a theoretical physicist and my area of expertise is quantum optics. My research focuses on the interaction of atoms with quantized cavity fields under certain conditions.

The biggest challenge during my career as a student has been the large amount of work. I've faced this in different ways. For example, I started to join study groups, learned how to work as a team, and set up a structured schedule to organize myself. This helped to make sure I was putting in the required time studying.

My advice would be that a career in STEM, like any other career, requires effort, commitment, and dedication. However, when we really like what we do, we do it with joy and determination. Strive every day to achieve your goals and do not allow someone else to discourage you.

In addition to my research work as a PhD student at INAOE, I am interested in outreach activities about optics for children and young people. I believe it is very important to increase the interest in science among young minds, so I founded the SPIE Women in Optics Chapter at INAOE, which carries out outreach activities spreading the message that women can also pursue a career in science and technology.

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