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Latin-American Student Meeting in Cali, Colombia

By Carlos López-Mariscal

Cali, the third largest city in Colombia, was the point of reunion for over 120 participants of the tenth National Optics Meeting and the First Andean and Caribbean Conference on Applied Optics. Almost 70% of the attendants were students from 8 different universities in Colombia and other research and educational institutions in Perú, Ukraine, Venezuela, Spain, Argentina, and Mexico.

During the technical meeting, the participant speakers showcased their research activities in the academic environment of the Universidad del Valle. The meeting was organized by the Quantum Optics Group in conjunction with the Universidad del Valle SPIE Student Chapter. A lot of hard work and dedicated students were required to organize this all day event. Students helped to set up the conference rooms, make sure speakers knew where to go, and take care of special guests. Others worked at an SPIE student member reception and a booth promoting membership in the Society.

The local student chapter, headed by Álvaro Casas, also organized the first Latin-American student meeting, which was attended by chapter leaders and long-standing friends Lázaro Padilha, from CREOL, Viktor Lysiuk from Taras Shevchenko National University in Kiev, and Carlos Lopez-Mariscal from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, who shared their experiences with student chapter organization and optics awareness activities. During this student event, SPIE Fellow and invited lecturer William Rhodes talked about the importance of SPIE for professional development in the early stages of his career in Optics.

As a result of the local chapters' efforts to increase Latin-American student involvement in SPIE activities, several students from Medellín and Bogotá were inspired to join SPIE during the meeting.

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