SPIE Student Member awards

Recognizing outstanding SPIE Student Members

The SPIE Student Awards program focuses on rewarding students who demonstrate excellence in the optics and photonics community. View our current award below, and check back for more awards slated to come in the future.

Student and advisor receive their SPIE Student Chapter Award

SPIE Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Chapter

Award description

Established in 2022, this annual award is a way to show the Society's appreciation for our Student Chapters and their critical contributions to the optics and photonics community.

The recipient will be an SPIE Student Chapter that demonstrates an exceptional level of participation, enthusiasm, program quality, professionalism, and involvement in their institution, the local community, and the larger SPIE community. Further emphasis is placed on robust outreach to undergraduate students, community service, increased technical education efforts, and developing an engaged — and engaging — chapter community.

The recipient chapter will be presented with the award at SPIE Optics + Photonics in its recipient year. In order to facilitate attendance, the award covers travel and accommodation costs (up to $2,000 per person), as well as conference registration fees, for three representatives from the recipient Student Chapter, and conference registration fees for the chapter’s advisor. Chapter representatives must have been active in the chapter during the year of the annual report that earned the recognition and be current Student or Early Career Members at the time of SPIE Optics + Photonics award presentation. 


2023 SPIE Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Chapter recipients at awards ceremony

Congratulations to the 2023 recipient

We are pleased to announce that OSKar (Optics Students of Karlsruhe) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany, has been awarded the 2023 Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Chapter. 2023 SPIE President Bernard Kress reported that the chapter stood out because of its breadth of activities, including International Day of Light observations, industry visits, and social and networking events.

We’d also like to recognize the two runners-up: Spectra, based at Washington University in St. Louis, in St. Louis, Missouri, United States, and the SPIE Student Chapter at the University Of Delhi at Acharya Narendra Dev College, in Govindpuri, Delhi, India.



Award criteria

To be considered for this award, SPIE Student Chapters must:

  • Submit their annual report by the 1 December deadline of the previous year.
  • Have a minimum of 10 members.
  • Have an SPIE Member as a faculty advisor.
  • Have undertaken innovative and impactful activities in the following areas:
    • Community involvement — can include activities such as outreach to undergraduate students with a focus on increasing awareness about the fields of optics and photonics, community service engaging undergraduate students on campus, and community service with the local community or with SPIE.
    • Technical dissemination — technical activities such as company visits, research programs, symposiums, technical presentations, speaker series, and training courses.
    • Engaging, retaining, and growing membership — programs such as awards, alumni engagement, welcome activities for new members, and volunteer recognition. Also, initiatives to grow the Student Chapter and to support the student-to-professional conversion.
    • Operations and planning — development of annual goals, strategies to engage current members, communications, and promotional campaigns, etc.
    • Participation and enthusiasm — high participation of membership at events on or off campus, high attendance at SPIE events or conferences (in person or virtual), and innovative activities to further passion for optics and photonics.



Previous recipients

The SPIE Student Chapter at Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Óptica y Electrónica (INAOE) in Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico, earned the first-ever Presidential Award for Outstanding Student Chapter in 2022. Read the full press release.