SOCk IONS Conference a Smashing Success

    Date Posted: 
    Thursday, October 13, 2016

    The Student Optics Chapter (SOCk) had the amazing opportunity to host optics students from around the world for IONS Tucson 2016. IONS Tucson, which ran from Sept. 30-Oct. 3, brought students from Russia, Egypt, France, the U.K., Germany, Canada, Mexico and all around the U.S. here to the College of Optical Sciences. IONS, which stands for International OSA Network of Students, is a program funded by OSA that provides funding and guidance to help student chapters organize and host an academic conference. In addition to the funding provided by OSA, SOCk was very grateful to receive additional sponsorships from Oculus, ASML, Edmund Optics, Physik Instrumente, and the College of Optical Sciences. 

    Friday began with an opening presentation from Conference Chair Benjamin Cromey, followed by a keynote from Dr. Jennifer Barton. The first batches of student presentations began that afternoon. That night, the Dan Dunlap Stadium club hosted both dinner and a keynote from Dr. Dae Wook Kim.

    Saturday morning was filled with more student presentations. After lunch, the conference participants were wowed by tours of the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, as well as tours of OSC, which included stops in the Takashima Lab, the 3D Holography Lab, and the Multiphoton Microscopy Lab. After a few more presentations, attendees took the SunLink for a social evening in downtown Tucson.

    Sunday morning and early afternoon were spent at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, where all of the conference attendees were wowed by the variety and abundance of desert life in Southern Arizona. Sunday evening began with a presentation by Women in Optics about diversity and inclusion, followed by a dinner and poster session.

    Monday morning included a presentation from Dawson Baker on how to manage a student chapter as well as advice and discussion on how to best do optics outreach. The afternoon was filled with career development, including a keynote from Dr. Volker Sorger from George Washington University on the subject. Two panel discussions were held, one on careers in academia with Dr. Robert A. Norwood, Dr. Marcellin, and Dr. Sorger, and one on industry with Dr. McEldowney, Donn Silbermann, and Dr. Sorger. The panelists took time to discuss their own careers, as well as answer questions and offer advice to the conference attendees. Finally, Dr. Scott McEldowney from Oculus gave a closing keynote, ending the conference.

    IONS Tucson 2016 went very well thanks to the work of SOCk officers and many others. The participants said several times how much they enjoyed the conference, including how organized the event felt. SOCk would like to thank the keynote speakers for their time, the sponsors for their support, and all the students who came from around the world to spend the weekend here in Tucson.

    For more information on the conference and the events that were held, please visit the conference website, and don't forget to view the photo gallery.

    [Editor's Note: Story written and provided by Benjamin Cromey, 2016 SOCk president.]