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First Bonenfant Memorial Scholarship Awarded

Photonics.com
Jun 2013
WASHINGTON, June 28, 2013 — Stephanie Laga, a senior at the California Institute of Technology, has been awarded the first Paul A. Bonenfant Memorial Scholarship by the OSA Foundation.

The $8000 scholarship honors the late optical communications expert and Morgan Keegan analyst Paul Bonenfant, a dedicated member of the technical program committee for the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and speaker at OFC for many years. He spent his career in various capacities from engineering to investment banking, and recognized the critical need for international experiences to promote global engagement and collaboration.

The award, established in 2011, will be given annually to an undergraduate student enrolled in an engineering or physical science program to attend a semester-abroad program offered through his or her accredited academic institution. The goal is to provide international experience to students as they prepare for professional careers that promote global engagement and collaboration.

Laga, who will begin her senior year at Caltech this fall, is pursuing her undergraduate degree in chemistry, with an interest in inorganic chemistry, including its applications to optics. She will use the scholarship to study abroad at the University of Melbourne in Australia this fall, where she will take courses in photomolecular science, supramolecular and structural inorganic chemistry, and participate in a chemistry research project.

Laga also is an active volunteer with Juice from Juice, a National Science Foundation outreach program for college students to mentor high school students and teachers on how to construct and use dye-sensitized solar cells and water-splitting apparatuses.

“Stephanie’s enthusiasm for the physical sciences and especially optics was evident in her application for the scholarship,” said Maria Pontones-Bonenfant, chair of the scholarship’s selection committee and wife of Bonenfant. “The committee was impressed with the demonstrated leadership in her research work as well as extracurricular activities. This combination of skills is one that mirrored Paul’s professional strengths and one that the committee felt stood out in Stephanie’s application.”

Undergraduate students applying for the scholarship must meet specific criteria, including pre-acceptance into a study-abroad program, demonstrated interest in optics-related research and applications, financial need and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants were reviewed by the Bonenfant Memorial Scholarship Committee.

The scholarship — supported through donations from individuals and organizations — will rotate among several US universities.

For more information, visit: www.osa.org/foundation


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