Laser professionals, build your skills with Laser Pronet

    May 23, 2012 3:38 PM by Lee Mather

    Seeking to provide a "productive laser workforce ," as more than 90% of laser and photonics industry incumbents do not have academic/professional credentials in their field, according to founder Sydney Sukuta, Ph.D., partners with laser companies to arm professionals with the tools they need to become certified. The tools aim to yield greater efficiency, client engagement, and a competitive edge in product knowledge.

    The tools in Laser Pronet's arsenal to certify employees include webinars, employee screening exams, short courses, and a free employee referral list for companies seeking qualified employees (as opposed to placement agencies, which can cost beaucoup bucks).

    Sukuta, who also serves as Laser Pronet's lead instructor, has taught at Fresno State University, University of Nevada-Reno, University of Phoenix, and San Jose City College, among others. He also delivers laser courses at the Photonics West and LEOS Annual conferences, and has worked for some laser manufacturers in Silicon Valley, where he saw firsthand the issues they encounter on a daily basis, he says. So he developed prescriptive short courses to help absolve most of these issues.

    For more information, please visit .

    LASER Classroom brings STEM curriculums to light

    April 9, 2012 3:23 PM by Lee Mather
    LASER Classroom (Minneapolis, MN), touted as the Classroom Laser Resource, recognizes that few Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics (STEM) K-12 educators--even those with physics backgrounds--have experience with photonics .

    To tackle this, the company plans to offer a three-volume curriculum for high-school classes that engages students by getting them excited about light and lasers (for me, any reference to Star Wars --an icon of my 1980s childhood--would've gotten my attention) and makes connections to STEM areas. In science, the lessons in the curriculum teach about lighting concepts, while the math lessons allow students to apply those concepts appropriately. It's not available until October of this year, but the company offers a free sample of Volume One that's available now.

    With the goal of bringing safe laser technology to K-12 classrooms, the company created Laser Blox to enable easy, safe classroom demonstrations and student activities. To become available this month in red, green, and violet wavelengths, the laser modules are magnetic, stackable, and won't roll off surfaces when set down. In the classroom, the violet version can be used to explore fluorescence--by shining it through a bottle of tonic water, students can watch its quinine (a white, crystalline alkaloid that provides the beverage's flavoring) glow. And stacking three green Laser Blox allows students to create a ray box.

    For more information, check out .

    OP-TEC provides lots of OP-portunity

    March 12, 2012 12:52 PM by Lee Mather
    The National Center for Optics and Photonics Education--known as OP-TEC--is a consortium of two-year colleges, high schools, universities, national laboratories, industry partners, and professional societies funded by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF's) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. Located at the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD; Waco, TX), OP-TEC formed to meet the constantly growing need for technicians in optics and photonics , according to the organization.

    OP-TEC serves secondary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs and postsecondary programs devoted to lasers, optics, and photonics technologies. It provides support through curriculum, instructional materials, assessment, faculty development, recruiting, and support for institutional reform; offers teaching materials; encourages more schools and colleges to offer programs, courses, and career information; and helps high school teachers and community and technical college faculty members develop programs and labs to teach technical content.

    The organization prides itself on its ability to bring optics and photonics outreach to people of different walks of life as well, again noting its overall goal of making the study of optics and photonics more widely accessible.

    For more information, please visit .

    Start your business plan off with a 'bang'

    March 2, 2012 12:57 PM by Lee Mather
    UC Davis' Graduate School of Management (Davis, CA) hosts an annual competition, Big Bang!, to foster student entrepreneurship--perfect for photonics and biophotonics research and development (R&D).

    Run by MBA students at the university, Big Bang! is an educational experience that begins in October and lasts until May each year. Teams consisting of various technical and business disciplines and/or mentors found in faculty, alumni, and other community professionals use the entire period to develop their business plan. During the period competitors have access to workshops that help to get their plans going, too.

    It's surprising to see that more universities aren't doing this, especially with the surge of biophotonics R&D right now working towards smaller, cheaper devices and higher-resolution imaging techniques to save more lives. Helping to commercialize these technologies faster is key, and Big Bang! could help to make them known.

    While it's too late to join this year's competition, keep it in mind for next year. For more information, please visit .

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Laser professionals, build your skills with Laser Pronet

Wed May 23 15:38:00 CDT 2012
Seeking to provide a "productive laser workforce," as more than 90% of laser and photonics industry incumbents do not have academic/professional credentials in their field, according to founder Sydney Sukuta, Ph.D., partners with laser compa...

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