Etendue: Sean McCafferty

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Welcome to Etendue, featuring interesting and accomplished individuals known for their leadership and contributions both with their careers and the College of Optical Sciences, in their own words. (For a similar view on the college’s best and brightest – our students – please check out Another Wavelength among our Students in the Spotlight.)

    This week, we hear from Ph.D. student Sean McCafferty.

     The throughput of a life in optics" banner

    Where are you from?

    I hail from Youngstown, Ohio, a working-class steel town in the northeast corner of the state. There I received my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Youngstown State University and worked in the steel, auto and power industries. Working as a product development engineer with multiple patents and subsequent profitable products, I desired to bring engineering to directly help individuals. Attending medical school at the Ohio State University and deciding on a career in ophthalmology facilitated these ends. A subsequent residency training was completed at the University of Arizona as well as a master's in optical science.

    Who or what influenced your interest in optics?

    McCafferty examining a patient at his ophthalmology practiceBeing a lifelong engineer and ophthalmologist, I found that optics was a natural fit and extension of my desire to use engineering to alter my field of medicine. Optics is a primary vehicle when coupled with a varied background in mechanics and medicine to create novel ideas in ophthalmology. Creativity requires a unique perspective afforded by my varied background. Novel ideas can then be developed, manufactured and marketed to form a business helping to employ the Tucson community as well as potentially aiding the global community. I have had a mentor and friend in Jim Schwiegerling at OSC.

    Describe your career.

    After completing ophthalmology residency I founded Arizona Eye Consultants in 2001, then Camp Lowell Surgery Center and Carondelet Foothills Surgery Center. The successful ophthalmic practice and surgical centers have grown to include many practitioners, covering most of the Tucson area. I am a principal investigator conducting both basic science research as well as clinical research. Broad areas of research from inception to clinical practice are examined. A combined approach is utilized with an extensive knowledge base in optical engineering, medicine, ophthalmology and mechanical engineering. I’ve authored several peer-reviewed articles and ophthalmic patents as well as completing my master's in optical science and founding Intuor Technologies, an ophthalmic/optical product development company.

    Describe your current job.

    My life consists of tenuously balancing multiple businesses, research, a physician practice and a family with six children ... it’s busy.

    A portrait of McCafferty against a white wallShare your single best OSC experience.

    Seeing personally the benefit to the recipients of the John Tipton Scholarship and honoring that for which the scholarship stands, namely the honoring of all men and women who accept duty and consequence and dedicate their lives to making positive change in the world. [Editor's note: McCafferty established two U.S. Army Captain John Tipton funds: an award to engineering and optical sciences undergraduate students and an endowed graduate student FoTO (Friends of Tucson Optics) scholarship.]

    Why is staying involved with OSC important to you? How are you involved?

    OSC is a reciprocating partner and world-renowned resource of information, expertise and talent. Great ideas require greater champions of those ideas to make them reality. The University of Arizona OSC is a valuable resource of ideas and champions.

    Name one neat fact about you.

    I failed the machinist apprentice entrance exam at the GE locomotive plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, so I had to enroll in engineering school to secure a job.


    << Back to Etendue