Wyant College of Optical Sciences Students and Professor Attend AISES Conference

Nov. 28, 2023
NA HEritage month
at AISES conference

(L to R): Micah Mann (BS Optical Sciences 2020 & MS Optical Sciences 2022, Current PhD Student), Leo Bia (BS Mathematics & Civil Engineering 2021, Current PhD Student), and Prof. Kupinski display their medals for their establishment as Sequoyah Fellows, an AISES lifetime membership.

Recently, Prof. Meredith Kupinski and optical sciences PhD students Micah Mann and Leo Bia attended the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) conference in Spokane, WA to represent the Wyant College of Optical Sciences at the college's booth. (Read more about his year's conference and UArizona attendees.) As part of the conference, Micah, Leo and Prof. Kupinski participated in the events of the conference and also answered questions at the college's booth. Micah also presented a talk entitled, "The Fascinating History of the Camera." See the full agenda. The AISES conference was planned just before the start of Native American Heritage Month, celebrated in the month of November.

In the photo, Micah, Leo and Prof. Kupinski display their medals at the conference recognizing their lifetime membership into the AISES Sequoyah Fellows. According to AISES, "The AISES Lifetime Membership program was named in memory of Sequoyah, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, who perfected the Cherokee alphabet and syllabary in 1821, resulting in the Cherokee Nation becoming literate in less than one year.  In this spirit, AISES Sequoyah Fellows are recognized for their commitment to the AISES mission and to STEM and to the Native American community. They bring honor to AISES by engaging in leadership, mentorship, and other acts of service that support the students and professionals in the AISES family."

Micah shared, "I enjoyed the conference, the conference center was surrounded by rivers and trees changing to fall colors. I got to see one of my past mentors and had a chance to visit with him along with many other people who stopped by the optics booth." 

There were many exciting presentations, talks and posters presented at the conference, but Micah attended a presentation that caught his attention in particular. An employee from Microsoft shared a side scroller game they coded that told their tribe's history using the engaging technology of video games! Micah also said, "It was a really effective way to tell a story."

Prof. Kupinski said of the conference, and Leo's and Micah's participation, that, "By assuming leadership roles in both OSC and AISES these students are already impactful mentors and ambassadors."

If you are interested in representing Wyant College at next year's AISES conference please contact Prof. Meredith Kupinski! Wyant College of Optical Sciences celebrates Native American Heritage Month with Micah, Leo and Prof. Kupinski! Read more about Wyant College of Optical Sciences Indigenous alumni such as Micah Mann, Dr. Julius Yellowhair, and Craig Draper–all of whom hail from the Navajo Nation!

We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples. Today, Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, with Tucson being home to the O’odham and the Yaqui. Committed to diversity and inclusion, the University strives to build sustainable relationships with sovereign Native Nations and Indigenous communities through education offerings, partnerships, and community service.