SPIE announces scholarship awards to more than 135 photonics students

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SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, has announced education and travel scholarship awards totaling of $351,000 made so far this year to more than 135 students. Among named awards is a new scholarship honoring the memory of Laurin Publishing and Photonics Media founder Teddi Laurin.

It is a very difficult task to choose the winners as all are first-class students.

Education scholarship awards for 2016 announced recently by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, include a new award in memory of Laurin Publishing and Photonics Media founder Teddi Laurin.

SPIE has awarded $351,000 in education and travel scholarships so far this year to more than 135 outstanding students studying optics, photonics, imaging, and related disciplines.

SPIE Scholarship Committee chair Cristina Solano (Centro de Investigaciones en Óptica) congratulated all the students who applied. “It is a very difficult task to choose the winners as all are first-class students,” she said. “I thank the committee members who gave their time and expertise in evaluating the applications. Clearly decisions were made in the spirit of rewarding talent and contributions to the society.”

Several students received named education scholarships supported fully or in part by the society:

  • Shoufeng Lan, a PhD candidate in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, was awarded the $11,000 D.J. Lovell Scholarship, the largest and most prestigious sponsored solely by SPIE.

Lan’s research is on the electrical manipulation and extraction of nonlinear optical signals from artificial and natural nanomaterials.

  • Dana Kralicek, a recent graduate of University of Arizona (UA) who is entering Stanford University this fall for her PhD, was awarded the $10,000 John Kiel Scholarship.

Kralicek has concentrated on bio-optics, materials research, and public outreach and will study optical sciences and engineering at Stanford.

  • Kaitlyn Williams of UA is the recipient of the inaugural Teddi Laurin Scholarship. Photonics Media is partnering with SPIE to fund the $5,000 scholarship to raise awareness of optics and photonics and to foster growth and success in the photonics industry by supporting students involved in photonics.

Williams recently received her undergraduate degree in optical engineering and plans to focus on lens design for telescopic camera systems for her master’s studies. She also will work as an optical systems engineer at Raytheon Missile Systems while at UA and hopes to pursue doctoral studies in solar engineering.

  • Cecilia Chen, a senior studying electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University, is the recipient of the $5,000 SPIE Laser Technology, Engineering, and Applications Scholarship.

Chen is a member of the Ultrafast Phenomena and Technologies Group at Cornell and has been part of an experimental demonstration of a tunable laser‐plasma waveplate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She is spending the summer exploring silicon photonics for communications at the Berkeley Wireless Research Center.

  • Xiaoqing Xu, a PhD candidate in electrical and computer engineering at University of Texas at Austin, was awarded the SPIE BACUS Photomask Scholarship. The $5,000 scholarship, sponsored by BACUS, the SPIE Photomask International Technical Group, is dedicated to advancing photomask technology.

Xu works in the UT Design Automation Group. His thesis focuses on physical design and design for manufacturability addressing emerging lithographic and manufacturing constraints in advanced semiconductor technology nodes. His research is aimed at enabling design‐manufacturing co‐optimization in extreme IC scaling and beyond.

  • Ross Uthoff, a PhD student at UA, was awarded the $5,000 SPIE Optical Design and Engineering Scholarship, established in memory of former SPIE Past President Warren Smith and Board Member Bill Price.

Uthoff focuses on developing mobile health biomedical instrumentation to improve sensing and diagnostics. Currently, he is developing a system for the detection of oral cancer using a smartphone platform.

SPIE has distributed more than $5 million in individual scholarships to date. The awards reflect the Society's commitment to education and to the next generation of optical scientists and engineers around the world.

In an award supported in part by SPIE, Alex Rodack, who expects to receive his master’s degree from the College of Optical Sciences (OSC) at UA in December, was awarded the $20,000 Friends of Tucson Optics (FoTO) SPIE Graduate Student Endowed Scholarship in Optical Sciences.

Rodack plans to continue working on high-contrast imaging and advanced coronagraph design techniques for his PhD work at OSC.

The SPIE FoTO scholarship is one of 30 such scholarships enabled by SPIE Past President James Wyant, founding dean of OSC, with a $10 million challenge grant. SPIE contributed $100,000 for the endowment.

Also, Yunfeng Nie, a PhD student at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, was named in May as winner of the 2016 Michael Kidger Memorial Scholarship, which receives support from SPIE. She will receive the award in September during the UK Optical Design Meeting at Rutherford Appleton Lab.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2015, SPIE provided more than $5.2 million in support of education and outreach programs. http://www.spie.org

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Amy Nelson
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