Empowering Optics: Introducing the 2024 SPIE Women in Optics notebook
The SPIE Women in Optics planner — published annually since 2005 — serves as an inspiration and resource for those considering careers in optics, photonics, and other STEM fields. Its colorful pages showcase vibrant cohorts of scientists, engineers, researchers, and industry leaders discussing their careers and how they achieved their current roles. And now, in its new notebook format, the publication features blank pages a-plenty so that budding scientists, professors, and engineers can scribble down their first formulas and photonics-focused theories.
The 2024 participants range from students and early-career professionals to those already well-established in industry, government, and academia. These dynamic professionals have drawn inspiration from across life’s great spectrum, from childhood teachers, generous mentors, and science-minded parents to cultural touchstones such as MacGyver, The Magic School Bus, Iron Man, and The Hunger Games.
They address the challenges of time management and the joys of mentoring and mentorship; they embrace their inner curiosity and commitment to their scientific and familial communities. Best of all, they share their stories of transformative career achievements, of learning from mistakes, and of working to advance diversity as well as science, demonstrating the impact that others have had on them and that they, in turn, hope to have on others.
The academics, engineers, and business leaders in this year’s notebook come from countries from across the globe, including Germany, Poland, India, Slovenia, China, Australia, Lebanon, Albania, Turkey, Canada, Guatemala, France, Italy, the United States, Argentina, Tunesia, Greece, Ireland, and Portugal. The also represent an extensive range of organizations and institutions such as ASML, Castor Optics, Optonique, OptoSigma, Meta, the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and the Technical University of Denmark.
And their individual areas of professional focus are just as wide-ranging, encompassing quantum technologies, virtual reality, electrical engineering, image technology, and laser science, health technology, astronomy, biophotonics, and biomedical engineering.
Packed with illuminating voices and visions, the SPIE Women in Optics notebook also includes easy-access, month-segmented calendar pages with reminders important days on the STEM calendar: International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February), Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (24 February), International Women’s Day (8 March), the International Day of Light (16 May), and International Women in Engineering Day (23 June).
The notebook is available at no cost to science teachers, educators, career counselors, community clubs, students, and the general public. SPIE offers both downloadable versions and print copies on its website. We also welcome your input: please add your nomination for the inspiring role models that will be featured in the 2025 SPIE Women in Optics notebook.
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