Optic Greats

Profiles of professional scientists, engineers, industry leaders, and academics in the 2023 SPIE Women in Optics planner offer insights and inspiration
01 September 2022
Daneet Steffens
Image of the 2023 SPIE Women in Optics Planner with accompanying text.

An optical-systems engineer. A technical-lead manager in polarization design. A National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. As part of an international slate of professors, graduate students, and emerging and established researchers, these optics and photonics professionals are part of the 24-strong cohort of inspiring women showcased in the 2023 SPIE Women in Optics planner.

An annual offering since 2005 from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, the planner was created to inspire and educate young girls and women, as well as inviting them to consider careers in optics, photonics, and other STEM fields. Showcasing an engaging and informative collection of women scientists, engineers, researchers, and industry leaders, the vibrant SPIE Women in Optics planner is available at no cost to science teachers, educators, career counselors, community clubs, students, and the general public.

The planner’s participants range from young women at the beginning of their career trajectory, to those further along their professional paths. As part of their planner profiles, each woman shares a taste of her dreams, ambitions, challenges, and successes, while offering engaging, experience-based advice to those considering STEM as a career option.

Even more impressive, their paths are as diverse as they are. These 24 women have been inspired by physics teachers, parents, science museums, lasers, laboratories, Marie Curie, and their own individual early curiosity; they have gone on to become business development directors, committed graduate students and academics, scientists, product engineers, industry leaders, optics-focused project directors, experimental physicists, design engineers, and mentors.

The 2023 cohort represents organizations such as Photon etc., IBM, MKS Instruments, Excelitas Technologies, Meta, TRIOPTICS, Siemens, and Illumina, as well as a wide spectrum of international universities. And their individual areas of professional focus are just as wide-ranging: nanoscience and nanotechnology, plasmonics and optical biosensing, experimental physics, photonic nanobiosensors, photonics and electronics, novel fiber optic lasers, silicon photonics, and optical sensors with applications in the agriculture and healthcare sectors.

Packed with inspiring voices and visions, the SPIE Women in Optics Planner also includes spot-on reminders for the most important days on the STEM calendar: International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February), Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (23 February), International Women’s Day (8 March), International Day of Light (16 May), and International Women in Engineering Day (23 June).

And this year, for greater reach and accessibility, SPIE is continuing to offer downloadable versions as well as our usual print copy of the planner: download or request your copy now and spend your year with these illuminating women who are transforming our world.


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