Category Archives: Outreach

CIAN Summer Program Success Breakdown

Over the course of the summer CIAN universities hosted 65 students and teachers across eight CIAN universities. These are some of their stories…

Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Programs

Research Experience for Teachers programs are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), are six-weeks long, and incorporate both a laboratory research component and classroom component. By the end of the six-weeks, the educators participating have produced a research poster about their project as well as a lesson plan which will be implemented in the new school year applying the science and technology they have learned.

Learn more about the RET program & how to apply.

University of Arizona

The University of Arizona hosted eight educators from Native American reservations across the USA. This summer, educators came from the following institutes, Fond du Lac Ojibwe School, Blackfeet Community College, Browning High School, Navajo Technical University, Santa Rosa Day School, San Simon Day School, Menominee Indian High School, and Winslow High School. Together, the selected teachers impact six tribes including the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Nation, Blackfeet Nation, Navajo Nation, Tohono O’odham Nation, Menominee Nation, and the Hopi Nation. Participants not only spent time performing research within their laboratories, but also participated in classes taking place at the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) as well as completing a workshop on Native American Education with Dr. Greg Cajete, expert in the field. One participant shared his upcoming plans after the program,

My intentions for the upcoming school year are to incorporate some of the experiments that I was fortunate to witness with my students.  We will demonstrate the sun’s energy to produce electricity, cook food, produce hydrogen and improve our environment at the same time…this was a good way to spend six weeks and I would do it again in a heartbeat. ~ Julius Salinas (Fond du Lac Ojibwe School)

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UA ROKET Participants (L to R): Natalie Davis, Vincent Hood, Martha Rogers, Daniel Moreno, Leo Bird, H. Scott Halliday, Marla Lopez, Julius Salinas

If you are interested in learning more about the RET program for educators of Native American students please contact us.

Columbia

NancyYi-ColumbiaRET

Nancy Yi and Dr. Dessislava Nikolova measuring the transmission characteristic of a silicon photonic modulator

Columbia hosted Nancy Yi, who is a physics teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School. While at Columbia University Nancy participated in the Lightwave research lab of Prof. Keren Bergman.  She was mentored by Dr. Dessislava Nikolova on a project that aims to develop a silicon photonic system for secure communications using the quantum properties of laser light. Silicon photonic devices have very small dimensions and moreover they can be manufactured with the same technology used for computer chips. As a first step in the project, Nancy and Dr. Nikolova characterized the voltage dependence of the transmission characteristics of all modulators on the investigated chip.

UCSD

3-JenniferQuach-UCSD

Jennifer Quach from Gompers Preparatory Academy spent the summer in Dr. Yeshaiahu Fainman’s laboratory. Her project titled, “Investigating Light and Their Chemical Properties” aims, “to understand light and its properties by explaining the similarities and differences between element spectroscopy and how that connects to their understanding of the atomic energy levels and photons emitted from excited state to ground state.” Using goals of the Next Generation Science Standards Jennifer hopes to see students forming a stronger foundation of the periodic table and its characteristics.

NSU

BillEvans-NSUBill Evans teaches Algebra II and Physics at Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Virginia. This summer he investigated “Prism-Coupled Waveguides” with Dr. Demetris Geddis and Lawrence O’Neal at Norfolk State University. Branching off of his summer project Bill will apply the new knowledge to have his students create a circuit using Snap Circuits Kits and then apply knowledge from their understanding of the quadratic equation.

This experience has re-energized me as a teacher, made me much more aware of the quality of work that students need to be capable of performing in an engineering program, and has connected me to a wealth of human resources to mentor, coach, and tutor my students…This has been so powerful! My students will not believe “What I did on my summer vacation.” ~ Bill Evans (Booker T. Washington High School)

Tuskegee

Marie Lemon teaches 6th grade at Greenville Early College in Greenville, SC. This summer she spent 6-weeks in the lab of Dr. Naga Korivi and Dr. Li Jiang.

My goal is to infuse aspects of the lab’s research in my projects planned for this school year.  This lab has been full of invigorating activities and I have been absorbing ideas from the professors and engineering lab students.  One might conclude that 6th grade is too young to benefit from such an experience.  To the contrary… ~ Marie Lemon (Greenville Early College)

4-MarieLemon-Tuskegee-editMarie’s project focused on Smart House Technology incorporating Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and alternative sources of energy (fruit juice, saltwater, and solar panels) to wire the house. The concept of using photons in LEDs to send signals in devices, make connections, and do work in the process introduces and teaches circuits and electricity to 6th grade students. Through this work, students will continue to build on 21st Century skills; such as, collaboration, communication, and digital literacy necessary for college readiness.

Read more about her experiences and on her blog.

CalTech

Two teachers participated in the CalTech Research Experience for Teachers program. Joe Hartley from Larchmont Charter School and John Smallenburg from John Muir High School spent six weeks in the laboratory pursuing state-of-the-art research projects with faculty mentors.

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Programs

Research Experiences for Undergraduates Programs are funded by NSF, ten-weeks long, and students participate on a research project as well as in professional development opportunities to prepare them for graduate school.

Learn more about the Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans REU program & how to apply.

Learn more about the Integrated Optics for Undergraduates program & how to apply.

University of Arizona

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L to R (top): Robert Castellanos, Galveston Begaye, Lisa Willis, Brandon Jesus (bottom): Conrad Begay, Desiree Saraficio, Christian Bartholomew, Vernon Kaye

Through the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduate program CIAN at the University of Arizona hosted eight Native American Undergraduate students. Students hailed from four different tribes including the Colorado River Tribes, the Navajo Nation, the Tohono O’odham Nation, and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe. Projects included developing a smartphone-based ocular imaging system, investigating lead and arsenic exposure risks to a community through analysis of airborne particles on children’s playground equipment, and polarized Raman microscopy of aligned carbon nanotubes; among many other exciting projects. The students also participated in the Graduate College’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium (UROC) Program to develop skills that will be essential for applying to, being accepted into, and succeeding in graduate school.

Learn more about the Integrated Optics for Undergraduate Native Americans REU program & how to apply.

Read about past students’ experiences; Solianna, Scott, & Robert.

UCSD

UCSD hosted two undergraduate students this summer in Dr. Yeshaiahu Fainman’s laboratory. Caylin VanHook attends Louisiana Tech University where she studies electrical engineering and physics. This summer her project was “Numerical Techniques in Near-field Optics and Materials.” Andrei Isichenko attends Cornell University and studies engineering and physics. His project was “Capacitvely-induced free-carrier effects in nanoscale silicon waveguides for electro-optic modulation.” Caylin and Andrei also participated in the UCSD STARS program which enabled them to attend a GRE preparation course, attend graduate school preparation workshops, present their research at the UCSD Summer Research Conference, and learn from other opportunities throughout the summer.

CalTech

Two students participated in the CalTech REU program. Aadith Moorthy researched “Vacuum Technology for Applications in Optoelectronics and Novel Environments.” Aadith studied miniaturized vacuum triodes and vacuum-based photodetectors, both of which utilize field emission of electrons. As a result of the project Aadith stated in his abstract,

This photodetector will help forward CIAN’s mission of creating transformative optical technologies by allowing for high speed conversion of an optical signal to an electronic one. Overall, the results substantiate the promise of field emission in vacuum technologies for novel applications and environments.

Daniil Lukin studied “Design and Fabrication of Low-Voltage Turn on Vacuum Triodes.” For his project he worked with four-terminal planar vacuum triodes with emitter-collector gaps under 10nm, fabricated out of tungsten on sapphire. This technology is expected to operate at high temperatures and high frequencies which will be useful for integration with on-chip photonics.

Columbia

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Lillian Chik presents her project at the Columbia REU Symposium.

Lillian Mun Shin Chik was mentored by Ph.D. student Christine Chen on implementing dynamic control of a Silicon photonic switch fabric through a computer interface, to improve system robustness with power resource allocation. Chik says, “For this project, I learned in detail about optical communications for high-speed networking, focusing primarily on the photonic packet switching architectures.” Jacob performed system optimization on the programmable wavelength locking firmware and software for the lab’s high performance silicon photonic link and switch systems. Jacob’s first deliverable was a modification to FPGA based signal processing of wavelength locking feedback signals – he replaced an unstable moving average filter with a more stable (fewer transients) median filter. Additionally, Jacob explored further automation of the system and began development of a lock-and-memorize protocol. Lillian and Jacob attended graduate school and professional seminars as part of the REU program, which culminated in a presentation to Columbia NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) peers and researchers.

Young Scholar High School Research Programs

The CIAN Young Scholar High School Research Program occurs over the course of the summer (although students are also encourage to apply for the school year). Students have a unique opportunity to enter a top-tier research laboratory and encounter the research process first-hand. Placed with a mentor, the student pursues a designated project and develops a research poster to present his or her progress.

Learn more about the Young Scholar High School Research Program & how to apply.

Tuskegee

At Tuskegee University, four students in grades 10 to 12 from Booker T. Washington High School participated in the CIAN sponsored summer REH outreach program (Young Scholars Program) from June 8 to July 3, 2015. They conducted research on two projects at the Microelectronics Laboratory at Tuskegee University under the guidance of CIAN faculty Dr. Li Jiang, Dr. Naga Korivi and CIAN master’s and undergraduate students. Two reports and two posters were produced as a result of the research activities.

tuskegeeyoungscholar-editThe projects are, “Optical waveguides from 3D printed templates” under the supervision of undergraduate research assistant Alexis Pruitt and “Optical lens from 3D printed templates” under the supervision of undergraduate research assistant Steven Gaillard. The high school students received lab training from research associate Lamont Henderson and their project supervisors as well as many other training and educational opportunities provided by the program.

Columbia

Columbia hosted one Young Scholar High School Researcher student from Union County Academy of Information Technology. He spent the summer learning about the research process and participating in a research project in Dr. Gil Zussman’s laboratory under the mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students. His project focused on improving the design of a web-based tool for the dynamic presentation of simulation results. The project resulted in a demo that showcases routing in node and the hope is that in the future, there will b other discoveries made to connect the angular front-end to the node back-end of the website.

CalTech

CaltechYSCalTech’s Young Scholar’s program is newly implemented in the laboratory of Dr. Axel Scherer and branches off of success had with the CalTech Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program. Previous RET teacher, Keith Russell, brought his experience in the lab, Summer 2013, straight to his students in the classroom as well as carrying out regular visits with his students to the CalTech laboratories. This summer, two students of John Muir High School were selected to participate in the five-week program. Three weeks were spent doing labs now used in an undergraduate semiconductor fabrication course to give the students experience with nano-fabrication. For the last two weeks the students carried out their own research project.

As a final note, CIAN would like to thank the many faculty, staff, and students that make these programs possible. Without their dedication and drive these programs would not have such a significant impact across so many students and educators around the country. Thank you.

Where Did They Come From?

This summer’s participants came from all over the USA!

Yellow = CIAN Universities
Purple = REU Program
Orange = RET Program
Red = Young Scholar Program

EASIS Summer Camp 2015

Once again, CIAN at the University of Arizona, hosted 16 Navajo and Hopi Native American High School students from Winslow Unified School District in Winslow, AZ. This year’s Expect Academic Success in STEM (EASIS) summer camp took place between June 22-26 and was five days of fast-paced optics and engineering activities! The summer camp would not have been possible without the huge amount of support from CIAN and UA College of Optical Science faculty, students, and staff. Additionally, we received exciting giveaways for the students from CIAN IAB partners VPIphotonics and Northrop Grumman.

See the slideshow below for a sample of the many activities students participated in to learn about optical engineering.

Interested in participating in EASIS 2016? We’re accepting applications for all students!

Interested in supporting EASIS 2016? Contact us!

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UCLA’s Explore Your Universe

Every year at the University of California, Los Angeles a gigantic event is hosted by all the science departments and student clubs. And the CIAN students at UCLA have a big hand in making this day a reality.

This year, the Explore Your Universe event was a great success. Over 5,000 attendees explored different science booths from UCLA featuring a variety of exhibits ranging from flash freezing objects using liquid nitrogen (chemistry), launching model rockets, to using new robots on different planets (astronomy). Talks were given by guest lecturers, and near the end of the event, the planetarium was open for viewing the night sky.

The booth set up by CIAN students and OSA/SPIE Student Chapter members at UCLA was a premier location to see and one of the booths that required a visit to win a prize. CIAN students and OSA/SPIE Student Chapter members at UCLA kept themselves busy for 6-hours straight teaching children and adults alike about optics. They had a blast using the optics demonstrations provided in the CIAN duffle bag. The tools were so effective that even parents and teachers asked where they could purchase some of the demonstrations to teach their kids!  People of all ages were present with most of the kids from 5-16 years.

cejo.pngCEJO LONAPPAN – PHD STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES

Cejo Konuparamban Lonappan is a Ph.D.student at the University of California, Los Angeles, working under the guidance of professors, Dr. Bahram Jalali and Dr. Asad M. Madni. His research interests include the design and development of real-time high throughput instruments, high speed and RF circuits and systems, integrated photonics, and optical communication networks. He developed the real-time time-stretch (TiSER) technology which was used at the CIAN Testbed for Optical Aggregate Networks (TOAN) test-bed to demonstrate rapid optical performance measurement to enable agility in optical transport networks. He received the 2014 IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society Graduate Fellowship Award. He is an active member of the OSA and SPIE student chapters in UCLA and various IEEE societies.

DANIEL LAM – ALUMNI, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES

Daniel Lam received his PhD degree from UCLA in Electrical Engineering under the guidance of Professors Bahram Jalali and Asad M. Madni.  He is currently working at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.  His current interests are high speed measurements, fiber optic telecommunication networks, radar, and laser optics.  While with CIAN he worked on the Testbed for Optical Aggregate Networks and time-stretch technology. He is an active member in spreading optics awareness through CIAN outreach and the OSA/SPIE Student Chapter at UCLA.

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CTY Engineering and Applied Science Day @Columbia University

This gallery contains 19 photos.

On September 20, 2014 gifted students from the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth attended Engineering and Applied Science Day at Columbia University. In sessions taught throughout the day, students and their parents learned about the inner workings of the internet and learned about the … Continue reading

Engineering Explorations Day @Columbia University

On March 29, 2014, in collaboration with the Columbia University chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, students at Columbia University participated in a workshop for middle school age girls as part of the spring semester’s program “Engineering Explorations Experience.”

We adjusted our Jell-O waveguide demo to include in the lesson more information on the science of fluorescence and the Bohr model of an atom. The students’ teachers also attended the talk and came to ask us after how to make the demo for their other classes. Overall I’d say it was a successful day for Jell-O ing!

CIAN students Cathy Chen and Lee Zhu gave the lectures, select pictures can be seen in the gallery below:

The International Year of Light and Laser Fun Day 2015

International Year of Light logoHappy New Year! You may or may not have heard about the International Year of Light. Quoting from the United Nations handout, “The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL 2015) is a global initiative to raise awareness of how optical technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to worldwide challenges in energy, education, agriculture, communications and health.”

Both SPIE and OSA, along with other international organizations such as the United Nations, are promoting the IYL to raise awareness about the impact of optics on the challenges of the world. The Student Optics Chapter (SOCk) at the University of Arizona has always had optics outreach as one of the primary goals of its mission statement. The IYL has just given us a remarkable opportunity to have an even greater impact than usual.

I’ve discussed our annual Laser Fun Day event in a previous blog post. Thanks to a very generous grant from SPIE, SOCk is able to make our fifth annual Laser Fun Day all about the International Year of Light! As always, each of the undergraduate classes will have a theme assigned for the class to develop and demonstrate to visitors. This year, the themes will be based on the IYL themes.Laser Fun Day Logo_with date

  • The Seniors (my class) will be discussing Communications. I plan to involve my friends in the various CIAN labs to assist us in this demonstration, since Communications is an area that CIAN has certainly had a great impact in.
  • The Juniors will have Energy as their theme.
  • The Sophomores will talk about the impact of optics on Health.
  • Education will be covered both by SOCk and the College of Optical Sciences. We will discuss the college and how optics has impacted education in general.
  • Our contacts in the College of Agriculture, along with several optics people working on relevant projects, will cover the Agriculture theme.

Thanks to the SPIE grant, we are also redesigning our ever popular Laser Maze! The previous laser maze served us well for four years, but was made on a low budget, leaving several areas for us to improve upon. Laser Maze 2.0 will address many of the issues of the first version by being easier to assemble, stiffer in alignment, and easier to transport! Since it is a modular design by nature, it will also allow us to vary the laser maze design to make it more interesting.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be posting more about Laser Fun Day as we move forward toward the event.

To learn more about the International Year of Light, visit the IYL website.

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Cropped Ben face

BENJAMIN CROMEY – UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Benjamin Cromey is pursuing his Bachelors in Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Arizona. As a member of the Optics Ambassadors and the Vice President for the Student Optics Chapter, optics outreach is one of his passions. He participated in the 2012 IOU program with CIAN and has been working with 3D Holographic displays ever since. Ben’s posts.

Girls Science Day Take II @Columbia University

On Saturday, November 15, 2014 Columbia hosted middle school girls from in and around New York City in the annual Girls Science Day. So what happens when you mix 40 middle schoolers, laser pointers, and fluorescent JELL-O?

We had a great plan- 40 minutes, we would explain the basic properties of an atom and how it relates to fluorescence, explain Snell’s law, give them a JELL-O waveguide,  and have them find the critical angle of the JELL-O waveguide. But, as we all know…even the best of plans can derail a bit…

Then came the critical question: “Can we touch it?” followed closely by “Can we eat it?!” And while Cathy quickly stopped them from eating the Jell-O, the touching of the waveguides soon turned into a bit of a JELL-O war. Clean up took a while, and  while our waveguides may not have stayed intact, the event was fun and informative. And we have learned for next year’s Girls Science Day to tell them not to throw the JELL-O when we instructed them to touch it.

Girls Science Day was hosted by Cathy Chen, Atiyah Ahsan, and Jelena Marasevic.  Approximately 40 students attended the event on Columbia University’s campus.

Select pictures can be seen below:

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