2024 Women in Optics notebook

Celebrating its 20th year, the 2024 SPIE Women in Optics notebook serves as an inspiration and resource for those considering careers in optics, photonics, and other STEM fields.
2024 Women in Optics notebook cover and inside pages

2024 Women in Optics notebook: Powerful stories to empower

Olivia Fehlberg headshotTogether we are fueled by curiosity and a desire to make a difference in the world, and our 2024 group of women in optics — now featured in a brand-new notebook format — is no different. We have followed diverse pathways to contribute to science and society in meaningful ways.

Each individual story is unique, but there are strong themes that bind these powerful experiences together. These engineers, researchers, and industry leaders share personal tales of finding joy and success in their work, addressing self-doubt, requesting assistance when needed, and learning from failure along the way. 

Most importantly, they emphasize the role we all play in furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM. These reflections remind us that we can all serve as supporters, allies, advocates, and mentors to others embarking on similar journeys.

As you enjoy these inspiring autobiographies and the wonderfully designed pages of this year’s notebook, please ask yourself: what can I do to empower those who will follow in these women’s footsteps?

Olivia Fehlberg
Design Engineer, Edmund Optics, Inc.
SPIE Senior Member
Chair, SPIE Early Career and Student Sub-Committee

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2024 profiles, listed in alphabetical order by last name

Marie Abboud Mehanna

Full Professor, Chairperson

Saša Bajt

Group Leader

Kathy Beaudette

Business Development Director

Isha Behl

Research Fellow

Rebecca Charboneau

Optical Engineer

Estelle Coadou

Technical Program Manager

Vanessa Coelho-Santos

Junior Leader (Assistant Researcher)

Mary Kate Crawford

Staff Application Engineer

Klea Dhimitri

Applications Engineer

Dalila Ellafi

Program Manager

Francesca Ferlaino

Professor, Research Director

Anna Gębarska

Owner, Managing Director

Cherine Ghazouani

Team Leader and Optical Design Engineer

Cindy Gong-Harris

Director of Marketing and Business Development

Gloria Hoefler

Vice President of Engineering Research

Elizabeth Illy

Head of Marketing

Nia Imara

Professor of Astronomy, Founding Director, Artist

Subitcha Jayasankar

PhD Research Scholar

Sinead O'Keeffe

Research Fellow

Claudia Rabis

Global Sales Director

Madison Rilling

Executive Director

Olga Sachkouskaya

Product Manager

Casey Schwarz

Associate Professor

Ikbal Şencan-Eğilmez

Assistant Professor

Leda Sox

Senior Research Scientist

Gavrielle Untracht

Postdoctoral Researcher

Martha Vardaki

Postdoctoral/Academic Research Fellow

Emma Xu

PhD Candidate

Cristina Zavaleta

Assistant Professor

Zhexin Zhao

Research Scientist


Nominations for the 2025 notebook closed on 29 February 2024. The nomination form for the 2026 edition will open in August 2025. 

Thank you to the sponsors of the 2024 Women in Optics notebook