Tuesday, October 18, 2011

FiO 2011 - part 3

Hey everyone..! Another busy day.. let me tell you about some interesting folks I met today.

Animated discussions at the VIP meeting. Pic courtesy OSA.
In the morning I attended the VIP networking session. They had some very inspiring people from the optics industry – Karl Koch from Corning, Jean-Michel Pelaprat of Vytran, Michelle Holoubek, patent attorney at SKG, Richard Smart from Oclaro, Colin Seaton from Fianium and Ken Ibbs from LanTian Photonics. It was great to meet them in person and hear about their experiences and advice for working in the optics industry. Some of their advice included trying out places through internship programs so you can figure out what you want, making sure you fit in well with the work and culture of the team, and when you start working, try to learn the most you can from positions in your career. 

Laura, Donna, Jannick and Liz. Pic courtesy OSA.
In the afternoon I was at the Minorities and Women in OSA event where the panelists included very accomplished women in optics. Donna Strickland is a Professor at the University of Waterloo and works in ultrafast short-pulse intense lasers and non-linear optics. Jannick Rolland is a Professor at the University of Rochester and does very interdisciplinary and applied work in the areas of head mounted displays, augmented reality, illumination and freeform optics. Laura Weller-Brophy has vast experience working in industry at 3M, Kodak, and Corning. She is presently the founder of a start-up in Rochester, FluoroLogic Inc., which is developing devices for screening cervical cancer using fluorescence detection. Fluorologic has won several awards for their technology and business plan in Rochester. Elizabeth Rogan is the CEO of the Optical Society and has strong management experience in the corporate, federal and non-profit sectors.

It was great to hear these extraordinary ladies speak about working in academia, industry and management. They talked about the importance of support from family, mentors, colleagues and peers, gave advice for making choices in careers and a work-life balance.  

It was fantastic that the panel members in both events took the time and effort to reach out to us and gave us their best advice. Such interaction and support is amongst the greatest benefits of being in a professional society with a strong sense of community. 

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