Tag Archives: Optical Sciences

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

Plant Science Night

Whenever I meet someone new, the conversation always ends up at “So what major are you studying?” As I boldly claim Optical Science, most people give me a smirk and say “So you work with eyes and prescription glasses?” Almost all of the people I have met have never heard of what an Optical Science major is. To spread the word outreach programs expose people to what Optical Science is all about.

Last Friday evening, Ventana Vista Elementary School hosted an annual Plant Science Night where scientific organizations from all over the city of Tucson come together to educate the next generation on the understanding of plants. But as an Optical Science major, what is our role at a Plant Science Night you ask? Because plants don’t have many characteristics on the surface, but under the microscope, millions of organisms are “swimming” microscopically. So as Optical Engineers, my group brought microscopes and lenses to discover movement behind what appears to be an inanimate object. Some of our demonstrations included, a homemade compound microscope made of K’nex and Lego’s, an apparatus where by just placing your phone on the surface, the camera on your phone can act as a microscope (you can even take a picture!), and a microscope that is projected to a 42 inch screen with a water sample taken from the turtle pond on the UofA campus. We brought 3 microscopes, so the other 2 that are not in use are for the students to look at different plant and cacti samples that Dr. Nofziger brought with him.

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My experience with CIAN’S IOU-NA program

Learn more about the IOU-NA REU program and apply!

From Florida to Arizona


The morning of March 24th, I got a phone call from Amee Hennig, the education and outreach manager from CIAN. She had called to say that I got accepted to CIAN’s IOU-NA program. A program designed to help Native American Undergraduate students from across the US, become an integral part of the research experience, specifically in the Optical Science department at the University of Arizona.

Arizona? When I applied to the program, I was not looking forward to the idea of spending the summer in Arizona, but I had always wanted to visit the land of my people. I was reminded that I had prayed for this a while ago, so I kept an open mind and decided to focus on the opportunity at hand instead. Even before I stepped foot into Tucson, CIAN was there to help me every step of the way.

So I got on a plane and headed to Tucson. 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

Expect Academic Success in STEM (EASIS) Summer Camp for Native American Students

EASISThe Expect Academic Success in STEM (EASIS) is an outreach program in partnership with Winslow Unified School District (WUSD). It leverages off existing activities, and teacher training programs, with the purpose of introducing and sustaining optics and photonics concepts to middle and high school Native American students.

This year’s EASIS summer camp is
June 9-13

We are currently recruiting volunteers to help with the programming. Email Amee Hennig if you are interested in being a part (in any way) of the summer camp.

The intended outcome of EASIS is to improve classroom STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum and encourage Native American students to excel in Science and Math, ultimately motivating them to pursue engineering professions. The optics summer camp offers hours of optics demonstrations and presentations by Optical Sciences graduate students and faculty, guided tours of optics and STEM labs, as well as a college preparation presentation.

 Example Activities:

  • Measure the Power Output of the Sun
  • JELL-O Lenses
  • Steward Observatory Mirror Lab Tour
  • Fundamentals of Human Vision & Cow-eye Dissection
  • And much, much more!

Thanks to funding provided by: spie

Real Holography

Among the credits I was taking this fall at the University of Arizona was the lab course OPTI380A. This lab was a foray into the realm of physical optics. For this class we had a final project that included a final written report as well as a video report. The project had to investigate or showcase some aspect of physical optics. The video, which had to be under four minutes in length, had to effectively summarize the project.

My lab partner, Braden Smith, and I decided to look into real holography. The title of “real” indicates that we were going to make a hologram of a real object. As my bio indicates, I’ve been working with holograms for a while with CIAN. Our lab works with computational holograms, where a model from a computer is decomposed into many views that are then holographically recorded in our re-writable medium. I’ve always been interested in making a “real” hologram though. The idea interested Braden too, so we made it our project. I’ll let our video explain the rest. Check it out!

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Drowning the Internet, then saving it. – a public talk


December 6, 2013
1:30pm Arizona Mountain time (12:30pm Pacific time and 3:30pm East coast time)
College of Optical Sciences Auditorium 307 & to be streamed online (look for updates)

Assistant Research Professor
College of Optical Sciences
University of Arizona

“Drowning the Internet, then saving it.”

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