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OSA Foundation: Supporting Women in Optics and Photonics

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The OSA Foundation (OSAF) strives to elevate the profiles of women in optics and photonics and increase the percentage and total number of women participating in OSA and the broader field at all levels. Programs include our women-invited speaker grants; the Manny, Nanny, Granny family care grants; the Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy Recognition; the Suzanne R. Nagel Lounge at OFC; and the Corning Women in Optical Communications Scholarship and Travel Grants.

A mentor tribute from Courtesy of OSAF.

A mentor tribute from Courtesy of OSAF.

In 2016, the OSAF launched the online Honor Your Mentor program, which — coupled with social media outreach — gained a lot of traction within our community. In 2018, we leveraged this platform to create the online Women in Science program and (in 2018 and 2019) promoted the ability to leave a tribute during the month of February to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. For March, which is Women’s History Month, OSAF curated 31 tributes and turned them into banners that we featured on the website and in social media posts (one per day this year and last).

This year, the OSAF offered grants to OSA student chapters to design campus or community events in support of, celebrating, and promoting women in our field. A total of 13 chapters representing Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Peru, Senegal, Spain, and Ukraine created unique programs reaching a reported 3500 people. The events included everything from youth outreach programs to symposia featuring prominent women and highlighting their research and careers.

OSAF also funds an annual one-day program in support of Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Entrepreneurship (WiSTEE). The 2019 symposium will be held Sept. 15 in conjunction with OSA’s annual meeting, Frontiers in Optics, which will run Sept. 15-19 in Washington, D.C.

For more information on OSAF’s programs supporting women in optics and photonics, and other diversity initiatives, please visit

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2019
OSAOSAFwomen in sciencehonor your mentorWomen in Optics and PhotonicsOptics Special Section

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