Twelve new SPIE Student Chapters have been approved by the SPIE Board of Directors so far this year, bringing the total number to 155 in 30 countries.
With more than 4,300 members worldwide, SPIE Student Chapters provide enhanced opportunities for optics and photonics students to advance their research, build professional networks, and help increase science knowledge among schoolchildren and the public through educational outreach projects.
New SPIE Student Chapters are at:
• Engineering School of Communication of Tunis (Tunisia)
• Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute (Pakistan)
• Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India)
• Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
• University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez (USA)
• Ecole Polytechnique (France)
• Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Russia)
• Nankai University (China)
• Technische Universität München (Germany)
• Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (México)
• Universite de Caen Basse-Normandie (France)
• McMaster University (Canada)
Programs at SPIE events
Several activities at SPIE events serve the needs of optics and photonics students. Presentations at symposia give students a chance to be seen, to find out who is doing similar or complementary work in other organizations, and to compete for recognition in student best-paper awards programs.
Student Chapter and networking programs at these events and on university campuses are strongly supported by established professionals.
"SPIE cares about students," says SPIE Fellow Francis Berghmans, professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (Belgium) and general chair of SPIE Photonics Europe 2010. "Students are the future of photonics."
Networking luncheons and receptions bring students together with experts in informal settings where they can find out where the jobs are, what skills are being sought, and how to apply. Networking also helps students build useful peer networks and find valuable mentors.
A new networking opportunity was launched at SPIE Photonics West in January when SPIE Student Services and Innovention Toys sponsored a World Khet Tournament. Students, faculty, and other participants competed for a free conference registration and plane ticket to return to Photonics West in 2011. The winner was SPIE member Benjamin Campbell, a research engineer at the Pennsylvania State University Electro-Optics Center.
More than 100 SPIE Student Chapter members also attend the annual Student Leadership Workshop at SPIE Optics+Photonics each year. The two-day workshop in San Diego covers strategies and tactics to help students succeed in their careers and work with teams.
Students Celebrate LaserFest
SPIE Student Chapters also have a rich tradition of sponsoring workshops, seminars, science fairs, and other activities to promote networking and professional development and to introduce the interdisciplinary field to the general public.
This year, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser, many chapters are providing Hit-the-Target laser workshops in schools. The kits were developed by SPIE as part of the Society’s Advancing the Laser: 50 Years and Into the Future tribute, and are offered through LaserFest, a collaborative celebration of the worldwide laser community.
A middle-school girl and her parents at the CREOL event. Photo courtesy of Apurva Jain
The CREOL Association of Optics Students (CAOS) and the SPIE Student Chapter at University of Central Florida also hosted a three-day LaserFest celebration in April that brought more than 200 people interested in lasers and other optical technologies to the campus. The SPIE Student Chapter at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, also participated.
The event included a symposium, lab tours, laser demonstrations for the public, professional development seminars, talks by several professionals involved in optics education and the laser industry, and social activities.
Europe’s best and brightest in Brussels
Several students and early career professionals were recognized at SPIE Photonics Europe this spring.
The 2010 Photonics21 Student Innovation Award was presented to two outstanding researchers: SPIE Member Natalie Vermeulen, a postdoctoral researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, and Sedat Nizamoglu, a research assistant at Bilkent University (Turkey). The €5,000 award is sponsored by Thales, SPIE Europe, and the European project ACCORD.
Prizes for the Photonics Innovation Village competition, held in cooperation with the European Commission and organized by the Brussels Photonics Team and SPIE Europe, were also presented in Brussels.
In the individual category, the top winner was Thomas Waggon of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany). First runner-up was Lawrence Bogaert of VUB, and second runner-up was Maria Farsari, IESL/FORTH (Greece).
In the multilateral category, the winners were Multitel (Belgium) accepted by Fabian Dortu; Centre for Microsystems Technology at Universiteit Gent (Belgium), accepted by Erwin Bosman; and Optrima (Belgium), accepted by Johannes Peeters.
Photonics Innovation Village awards were funded by the Brussels Capital Region.