SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION: New Grant Program in Honor of Robert S. Hilbert

Spotlight on inspiring the next generation of scientists and business leaders

Three young professionals were recently named as the first winners of the Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Student Travel Grant in a program established this year by the OSA Foundation (OSAF) and Optical Research Associates (ORA). The grants recognize the research excellence of students in the areas of optical engineering, lens design, and/or illumination design. The 2010 grants were awarded for research presented during the International Optical Design Conference (IODC), held June 13-17, 2010, in Jackson Hole, WY.

The 2010 grant winners are:

  • Amber M. Beckley, University of Rochester, USA, for her paper: Imprinting Aberrations in the Stokes Parameters of a Focal Spot
  • Joshua J. Kim, University of Arizona, USA, for his paper: Modeling Transflective LCD Illumination Systems
  • Garam Yun, University of Arizona, USA, for her paper: Three-dimensional Polarization Ray Tracing and Diattenuation Calculation

The program honors the memory of Robert S. Hilbert (1941-2008), former ORA president and chief executive officer, who was a respected member of the optics community and who enthusiastically embraced learning and optics education. All students who submitted papers during the regular “call for papers” process for the IODC were eligible for the competition. Entries were judged by the IODC program chairs based on the quality of research presented and the information provided with the application. Winners received grants of $1,100 USD to support their attendance at IODC. Future grants will also be available for Frontiers in Optics/OSA’s Annual Meeting (FiO) or other key technical meetings. The grants are sponsored by ORA.

“We are excited to recognize the impressive research skills that these students demonstrated by awarding them with the Hilbert Memorial Travel Grants,” said IODC Program Chair Julie Bentley. “This grant is a fitting tribute to Bob Hilbert. We look forward to seeing the many accomplishments that these students will achieve in the future, just as Bob did in his productive career.”

The three winners were excited about the opportunity to present their work at IODC.  “The IODC is the premier international conference in the field of optical design,” said Garam Yun. “Attending the conference will enable me to meet other professionals in the field and learn more about the frontiers of optical design.” Joshua Kim felt that “The ability to share my research with a much larger audience of my peers is very important to me, as it can generate new ideas and interest in the field. It is a high honor to be able to present my research to an international audience, especially as a first time presenter.” Amber Beckley noted, “In my limited career in the sciences, I have already learned how important communication and interchange are to progress and innovation in research. I see this paper presentation as a way to both prepare and ameliorate the way I present my research to the scientific community and as a great occasion to get questions and feedback.”

The grant is part of the OSAF’s Future Innovators Fund. “This fund focuses on programs that offer career and professional development resources to undergraduate and graduate students,” said Meredith Smith, OSAF director. “These activities help students from around the world to build successful and rewarding careers in optics and photonics. The Hilbert Memorial Grants are a perfect fit for our mission and goals, and the OSAF is delighted to be a part of this program.”

Optical Research Associates (ORA) is the industry's leading supplier of imaging and illumination design/analysis software: CODE V and LightTools. ORA’s Engineering Services group provides imaginative, cost-effective solutions across the entire spectrum of optical design, with more than 4,800 completed projects since the company was founded in 1963. Working with their software distribution partners, ORA now has customers in more than 25 countries. For more information, visit

The OSA Foundation was established in 2002 to support philanthropic activities that help further the Optical Society's (OSA) mission by concentrating its efforts on programs that advance youth science education, provide optics and photonics education to underserved populations, provide career and professional development resources and support awards & honors that recognize technical and business excellence. The grants funded by the OSA Foundation are made possible by the generous donations of its supporters as well as the dollar-for-dollar match by OSA. The Foundation is exempt from US federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is a public charity. To learn more about the OSA Foundation or to find out how to donate, please visit or e-mail



GRACE KLONOSKI is the Senior Director, Foundation, Membership & Education Services for the Optical Society of America, 2010 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20036;  e-mail:;

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