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Behind the Scenes at SPIE Asia

By Ravi Kannadorai

SPIE Asia was an initial step towards bridging the communication gap between the student chapters across Asia. It was conducted along with the LM conference between 30 June and 2 July. Though the invitation was sent to all the Asian student chapters, only representatives from China and India could make it. Being the organizer of the first student conference of its kind in Asia I had a lot of responsibilities to portray myself and my chapter well in front of the visiting international community.

Event management cannot be done single-handedly; it’s a tough and challenging job. Support, Encouragement, and Money are few of the many necessary things in organizing a successful event. Based on the efforts put forward in the successful organization of such an event I have compiled my learning and experiences in organizing SPIE Asia.

  • First and foremost was getting full support from the chapter advisor. Prof. Asundi is the SPIE Singapore Student Chapter advisor and he encouraged us to have a student conference.

  • Having obtained the encouragement, I needed support from my own chapter members and committee members to get things done smoothly; which I received mainly from my committee members.

  • The plan was ready but the key thing was the money and careful budgeting of the funds for the activities. We had the university grant money, the collaborative grant, the annual grant and the money from the sponsors to our website which made us to organize the event without any budget hiccups.

  • Finally, it was the events itself. The events were designed to benefit school students, school teachers, and the other research students. The feedback provided by the attendees said it all. One of the teachers, Ms. TT Lim from Raffles Girl’s School, says, “We’re grateful for the sharing session which has enriched our teaching repertoire as well as exciting the teaching scene! The generosity of SPIE and the presenter have been greatly appreciated.”

Having set the floor plan, specific tasks were delegated to two committee members and at the end of every fortnight prior to the conference we sat together to discuss. Also during SPIE Asia, since it was a 3 day event, two committee members were given responsibility to manage each day’s events to evenly distribute the work.

SPIE Asia was organized along with an international conference (Laser Metrology); so we were expecting a lot of non SPIE attendees too. This gave us an opportunity to interact with them and to explain the benefits of being a SPIE student member. In this regard we organized an Indian style dinner for all SPIE student members and non members.

In addition to the above experience, I had an opportunity to interact with the industry and academic professionals. Industries are always on their toes to participate in such events to showcase their company and career opportunities in their respective companies. We used this opportunity to entice them in participating in SPIE Asia. We got in touch with five companies but only KLA-Tencor, Chartered Semiconductor, and AEM could make it. In fact, KLA-Tencor suggested us to inform them well before the event so that they can contribute more than just giving a talk.

Overall SPIE Asia has laid a foundation for the getting the student chapters to work closely with each other in future. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof. Asundi, Dirk Fabian, Jason Hamman, June Thompson, and my committee members for making this event a grand success. We hope to organize a similar event in the near future with more attractive events, a greater number of participants, and on a bigger scale than SPIE Asia.