Women in Photonics 2018 Hosted by Photonics Society @ UCSB October 29 - November 10
Between October 29 and November 10, the Photonics Society at UCSB held its third annual Women in Photonics event, a week of events promoting Women in Engineering and Science! This year, we held a total of five events for the UCSB, Goleta, and Santa Barbara communities, and hosted an international visitor. We sent local scientists to give talks at local K-12 schools, hosted a lecture given by Dr. Caroline Lai from Rockley Photonics, and hosted two Nanofab tours led by the women who work there.
UCSB Nanofabrication Facility Tours
We organized a tour of the UCSB nanofabrication facility on Saturday November 3rd from 1 - 3 pm led by female UCSB graduate students and local industry professionals for November 3.
Tour leaders showed attendees how to gown up in a bunny suit before walking them through the facility. Tours covered the various tools and techniques used in a cleanroom, as well as the many types of devices that are fabricated in the UCSB cleanroom.
In collaboration with women scientists and engineers from Freedom Photonics--a local photonics company--we organized an event at Freedom Photonics’ facility on October 30 from 3:30 to 5:00 pm. This event included a tour of the nanofabrication facility, a short lecture on photonic applications, the career paths of the Freedom Photonics scientists and engineers, and several hands-on activities including a demonstration of a handheld infrared camera, a DVD spectrometer activity, and the principles of photolithography using sidewalk chalk and stencils.
Above: Aligned stencil patterns from Freedom Photonics’ photolithography activity.
Talks by Photonics Researchers
On Friday, November 2 and Friday, November 9, the Photonics Society organized talks at local middle schools by women graduate students in photonics-related fields at UCSB. In these talks, the graduate students discussed their work, their interest in science, and their educational paths through college and graduate school.
Dr. Caroline Lai from Rockley Photonics in Pasadena came to speak to photonics graduate students on Thursday, November 8. She spoke about Rockley Photonics’ history and gave a technical overview of the range of technologies on which the company works. She concluded by touching on her career thus far and the importance of having female mentors.
Rockley Photonics' Vision of In-Package Optics for the Future of Datacenter Networking Abstract:Rockley Photonics is a silicon photonics company based in Pasadena, CA, that is a fabless supplier of silicon photonics chipsets, IP, and custom designs for high-volume optics applications. One of our goals is to enable in-package optics to create an optical switching solution for datacenter network applications. In this seminar, I will give an overview of Rockley Photonics, outlining our core technology platform and key strengths.
Above: Dr. Caroline Lai from Rockley Photonics speaks at UCSB.
High School Outreach
On Saturday November 10, female members of the Photonics Society participated in the annual I HEART STEM conference. The conference was jointly organized by the UCSB Women’s Center and Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) student organization and is intended to encourage high-school-aged young women to pursue STEM fields when they enter college through hands-on STEM workshops and a keynote address about the difficulties they may face as a woman in STEM. All attendees and workshop facilitators were women. The Photonics Society led a hands-on workshop where attendees explored different optical phenomena such as polarization and color perception.
Above: Photonics Society Secretary Victoria Rosborough leads participants in an activity at I HEART STEM
Finally, this year, the Photonics Society hosted an international visitor for Women in Photonics Week. Miki Igarashi is a general science communicator in Japan. In addition to hosting her own YouTube science channel and running science education outreach events for children, she is a graduate student at the University of Tokyo studying science communication with a focus on women in STEM. We invited her to observe I HEART STEM workshops and talks. In addition, some members of the Photonics Society visited MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, in downtown Santa Barbara with her as well as to find inspiration through the exhibits and demonstrations for our own photonics-related educational outreach activities. She wrote a blog about her experience with I HEART STEM and MOXI on her website. Finally, we gave her our color-mixing activity (available through the FUSE website) with instructions that we had translated into Japanese with the help of a UCSB Japanese-American student. We plan to send her our other educational outreach kits with translated instructions later in the academic year.
Above: From left to right, a student volunteer, Miki Igarashi, and Photonics Society President Takako Hirokawa after I HEART STEM 2018.