Bellingham, WA, and Lund, Sweden--Eight new SPIE Student Chapters at universities and institutes throughout the world were recently approved by the Society’s Board of Directors. Chapter membership allows access to diverse career development opportunities and enables participation in outreach programs that help promote the field of optics and photonics.
The move boosts the total number of Student Chapters and Clubs affiliated with SPIE to 215 in more than 40 countries.
The newest locations for SPIE Student Chapters are:
• COUP (Escuela Universitaria de Óptica, Universidad de Pamplona), Colombia
• IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) Kolkata, India
• Imperial College London, United Kingdom
• Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Mexico
• National University of Mongolia, Mongolia
• University of Otago, New Zealand
• Universidad Politécnica de Tulancingo, Mexico
• Vidya Jyothi Institute of Technology, India.
The Student Chapter program encourages students of optics and photonics to create and engage in a diverse array of career development opportunities with funding for officer travel to SPIE meetings, student leadership workshops, a Visiting Lecturer Program, and activities that promote participation in the optics and photonics community.
Outreach projects are an important component of SPIE Student Chapter and Club activities. Last year, students reached more than 8,000 K-12 students and other community members with programs teaching about optics and photonics, and sharing their enthusiasm for the field. Projects often utilize kits and other materials provided by SPIE, teaching optics principles through activities such as telescope or kaleidoscope building and a hit-the-target laser competition.
The annual Optics Outreach Olympics at Optics and Photonics provides in-person recognition for participating teams whose project demonstrations are judged by established leaders in the field.
Student members are also invited to pitch their photonics business proposals to a panel of experts at the SPIE Startup Challenge at SPIE Photonics West. Winners are awarded cash prizes as well as sponsorship to attend Entrepreneurship Academies at the University of California, Davis.
Networking opportunities with experts at SPIE meetings are a significant benefit to student members, who pay reduced conference and professional development short course registration fees, and may be invited to serve or sit in on conference program and Society committees.
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