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Planner Aims to Inspire Women to Pursue STEM Careers

BELLINGHAM, Wash., Nov. 30, 2013 — The SPIE Women in Optics 18-month planner aims to inspire a new generation of girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The 2014-2015 planner is available for free from the international society for optics and photonics.

The planner includes stories from 28 women working in optics and photonics, in occupations ranging from university professor and laboratory researcher to entrepreneur and CEO. They share stories of inspiration and discuss the challenges and rewards of careers in fields considered unconventional for women.

STEM is "the most exciting career path imaginable," said contributor Susan Tousi, vice president of engineering at Illumina, a developer and supplier of tools and integrated systems for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function.

Because science and engineering are driving the future, Tousi says, the best and brightest minds are needed. "Many of my highest technical contributors have been women. We must make use of this rich talent base to make our dreams of the future a reality," she said.

Other successful women interviewed include: Allison Lami Sawyer, CEO and co-founder of Rebellion Photonics in Houston, which recently was named the Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year; Eriko Watanabe, assistant professor at the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo; and Amy Eskilson, president and CEO of Inrad Optics in Northvale, N.J.

The 2014-2015 planner is sponsored by Edmund Optics, Inrad Optics, Logical Marketing and nLight.

To receive a copy, email For more information, visit:

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