Tag Archives: education

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 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 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.

Research in Optics for K-14 Educators and Teachers (ROKET) RET Program


Application Deadline: February 13, 2015


CIAN is the Center for Integrated Access Networks, a ten-university Engineering Research Center (ERC) funded by NSF. CIAN is working towards creating transformative optical technologies to enable an affordable faster internet for the future.


IMG_1380Tammie Bowman and Janet SchafferThe Research in Optics for K-14 Educators and Teachers (ROKET) Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program is designed for educators of Native American students. This includes teachers on reservation schools as well as teachers with a majority classroom population of Native American students. The program takes place at the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, AZ.

This 6-week summer program runs from June to July and is a hands-on research experience for teachers to experience a lab setting and pursue their own project in a top tier research lab. Teachers will also have the opportunity to:

  • participate in a workshop with Dr. Gregory Cajete on “Science Curriculum in Native American Education,”
  • create an original STEM lesson plan that is relevant to Native American students,
  • participate in the Optics Research Workshop,
  • gain three hours of graduate credit (continuing education) by participating in the American Indian Language Development Institute (aildi.arizona.edu)


A stipend of $5,400 and housing and travel is provided. Additionally, a classroom supply budget of $1,500 is awarded at the successful completion of the program.


Full-time teachers employed by a school that primarily serves Native American students (must confirm upcoming school year employment). K-12 teachers and community college faculty in a scientific discipline with an interest in increasing their knowledge of scientific research and bringing advanced information about optics, electronics, physics, materials science, and engineering into their classrooms are encouraged to apply.





Letter of Recommendation from School Principal (or comparable authority) & Professional of your choice

May be mailed to CIAN in a sealed and signed envelop by the letter writers, or emailed directly by the letter writers. The Principal or equivalent authority of your institute must include in his or her letter confirmation of your position for the coming school year.

All mail may be directed to CIAN headquarters.

Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN)
University of Arizona
c/o Amee Hennig, CIAN Education & Outreach Manager
1630 E University Blvd., 501B
Tucson, AZ 85721

Email Amee Hennig with any questions.

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:

Franiece Bennett Awarded CIAN Diversity Fellowship

CIAN student Franiece Bennett recently made the move from undergraduate student at Norfolk State University to graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with this change Franiece also applied for and was awarded the CIAN Diversity Fellowship. This award will assist her in completing her research and education goals. Below Franiece shares a bit more about herself and her research goals.

If you would like to learn more about applying for the Diversity Fellowship please contact CIAN Education.

Congratulations to Franiece Bennett
Recipient of the CIAN Diversity Fellowship


Franiece D. Bennett
MS/PhD First Year Student
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department
Constance Chang-Hasnain Optoelectronics Research Group
University of California, Berkeley

I am from Slidell, LA and I have a passion for creativity and love for art in any form or medium. My inclination to the sciences drew me to the field of engineering where I found creativity and practicality intertwined. As an undergraduate my junior year I was first introduced to CIAN based research when I worked with Dr. Demetris Geddis at Norfolk State University on a heterogeneously integrated long wavelength VCSEL-based transceiver circuit design for micro/nano scale device applications. Now as a first year graduate African-American female student, I wish to continue to promote the diversity of engineers and work towards realizing the functionality of future optoelectronic devices. By working in Dr. Chang-Hasnain’s research group at the University of California, Berkeley I am able conduct research related to silicon photonics and optical communications systems. As a CIAN Diversity Fellow I will be afforded the opportunity to conduct meaningful research that will benefit the center as well as further the influence of optoelectronic integration to conventional network systems.


My research project is one that will hybridize High Contrast Metastructure (HCM) applications with on-chip tunable Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs) to create an all-inclusive transmitter photonic integrated circuit. A micro-sized HCM is an ideal MUX due to its dimensions, which are smaller than the optical communication wavelength and an insertion loss of 0.5 dB. Tunable VCSELs are an appropriate optical output source due to their minimal thermal resistance at approximately 1.59 K/mW, low-cost fabrication processes, and continuous single mode tuning range at room temperature. From Finite-Difference Time-Domain simulation, multiplexing four on-chip channels into a single optical fiber will result in a coupling efficiency of up to 90% for 35nm 1dB bandwidth. To ensure proof-of-concept, the tunable VCSELs will have a characteristic continuous tuning range of at least ± 26 nm within the communication band. Also, the MUX can have no more than 21dB of loss, which is proportional to 90% coupling efficiency of multiple channels. The thermal resistance of the fabricated lasers will not exceed 1.6 K/mW.

Girls in Engineering Summer Camp at UC Berkeley

Led by female faculty members and graduate students, during the past summer UC Berkeley College of Engineering launched a summer camp designed to inspire middle school girls to explore careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). The summer camp consisted of two separate periods in June and July respectively, one week for each, and hosted altogether about 60 middle schoolers from five East Bay schools. See our video here.

As a female graduate student from a male-dominated department (EECS), and a CIAN student specialized in the area of optoelectronics, I feel obligated and pleased to introduce the girls to see what can be fun and interesting about optics. Continue reading

Being a Young Scholar – A High School Student Opportunity

Are you a young, enthused individual who wants to work with lasers, gain valuable research skills, have fun AND get paid while doing this? These were the proposals that caught my attention and motivated me to apply to the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) Young Scholars internship program. While I was uncertain whether I would be a good candidate for this opportunity I knew that I had a desire to learn and gain valuable research skills and this program offered exactly what I desired.

CIAN logo

After submitting my application and anxiously waiting for a response, in December of 2013 the program coordinator contacted me and asked whether I was interested in participating in the program. I immediately agreed, because I knew that this was my chance to get involved in something exciting and meaningful. After exchanging a couple of email messages I was set up for an interview and told to prepare myself for an exciting opportunity.

Soon enough the big day arrived and before I could comprehend what was happening, I found myself knocking at the interviewer’s door. Continue reading

Optics in Montana!

I am very excited to finally write about my amazing trip up to Helena, Montana to talk about optics! This was such an enjoyable trip and one that will be a strong memory of my time at the U of A. This trip occurred back in May of this year.

Getting ready for the first presentation. I've got all my outreach tools ready in front of me. Can you tell I'm excited?

Getting ready for the first presentation. I’ve got all my outreach tools ready in front of me. Can you tell I’m excited?

The video on “Real Holography” that I made prompted this trip. A teacher friend of mine in Montana watched the video and showed it to her students. She later told me how much they enjoyed it. Her school is in the category of a rural school, and is far enough from any major university that a solid STEM presentation is hard to come by. I spoke with the folks at CIAN, and they agreed to fund my trip up there! I still smile thinking about the event, I had so much fun. My teacher friend, Deanna Carlson, organized several events for me. Continue reading