SPIE and the organic growth circle

01 May 2023
Bernard Kress

SPIE, like many scientific societies, thrives as an organic community with sustained growth through the involvement, dedication, and efforts of its Members. Accessing and benefitting from the many services SPIE offers is the main goal for many Members as they advance their work and careers, either through in-person events or other offerings such as publishing or reading scientific literature in the SPIE Digital Library.

The Society’s ever-growing membership speaks to the quality and breadth of the services it provides. One may attend a conference to listen to presentations or present a paper, converse with poster authors, stroll through the exhibition hall or browse to find new potential partners, listen to a panel session, keynote, or plenary talk, or mingle with colleagues and friends at the various networking sessions, receptions, awards dinners, and other social events at SPIE Conferences.

However, getting involved in the Society can also provide a great leveraging effect: It will not only further your professional development but your personal development, too. Your service will help the Society grow, which in turn bolsters the services it provides back to the community. This is the mechanism behind the organic growth circle.

Getting involved in the Society and being a community champion is rewarding and can be initiated at various levels: Participating or presiding in a student chapter, engaging in a technical committee, helping chair sessions and conferences, being a journal reviewer, stepping in to participate in a panel session, or acting as a member of a standing committee are some of them. These activities provide opportunities to further personal growth and develop precious communication and management skills that can help leverage your technical skills to further your career in industry or academia. It will also provide a great sense of satisfaction.

Recognizing and honoring the value that individuals provide to the Society and the larger optics and photonics community is important for all Members to take part in. Nominating colleagues for Senior and Fellow Members or for one of the 20-plus Society Awards to those who are volunteering and excelling in services to the community is a token of appreciation and provides an official recognition of the quality of their engagement. Being honored in this way can bolster a Member’s confidence and help secure a continuation of such services for future generations.

I encourage you not only to actively engage in some of the exciting activities the Society offers, but also to help identify and reward community heroes. Self-nomination is also an option, and all awardee processes are done blindly by committee.

One of the great honors of being SPIE President is having the opportunity to meet and congratulate the year’s awardees. It always gives me great joy to see the pride on their faces as they accept an award from their peers.  By nominating them, you can bring joy to a colleague and show your appreciation and admiration for their work. I invite you all to take the time to make a nomination and help SPIE honor our community’s best.


Bernard Kress

2023 SPIE President


TAGS: Awards
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