Optica Foundation Announces a US$10,000 Scholarship for Women in Optics

200 women scholars worldwide to be recognized over the next ten years for a total disbursement of US$2M in scholarships

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#Scholarship–The Optica Foundation announces the Optica Women Scholars. The program provides visibility, community, and resources for 20 women annually via financial support of US$10,000. Additionally, they will receive professional development resources from the society, including membership and mentorship. By 2030, 200 scholarships will be awarded, creating a global network of women in the field.

“When I entered the field of optics, women as peers or role models were a real rarity,” said Janet Fender, 1997 Optica President. “I worked hard at achieving a successful career, but my life was far from balanced. I wonder how many talented women may have left our field because they didn’t have the support of their peers or know women as role models. My husband and I dreamed of a scholarship program for women in optics. The Optica Foundation embraced that dream, engaged the optics community and created a remarkable program to enable a future substantial network of women connecting and supporting each other while building successful and fulfilling careers in optics and photonics.”

The ten-year scholarship fund of US$2M+ was established with the contributions of ten US$100,000 donors and a US$1M match from the foundation. Hong Liu, Distinguished Engineer, Google LLC rallied industry support which includes contributions from II-VI Incorporated; Corning Incorporated; Google LLC; Meta Platforms, Inc.; Innolight Technology USA Inc; Intel Corporation; NeoPhotonics Corp; and Source Photonics.

The individual contributors are Janet Fender & John Otten III and Elizabeth A. Rogan, Optica CEO. Additional contributions from the community were collected, including Edmund Optics; Ursula Gibson, 2018 Optica President; Joseph Goodman, 1992 Optica President; Marvell Semiconductor Inc; Eric Van Stryland, 2006 Optica President; and James Wyant, 2010 Optica President.

“The foundation looks to recognize and nurture fresh talent and bright ideas,” said Chad Stark, Optica Foundation Executive Director. “The adept and ingenious women assisted through this scholarship will drive tomorrow’s discoveries. The enthusiastic commitment from the community to fund this US$2M investment is exceptional.”

The scholarship is awarded based on need, academic performance and demonstrated potential. Candidates are undergraduate and graduate-level students who identify as women. The program will accept applications from 9 February – 15 March. Learn more at optica.org/womenscholars.

About the Optica Foundation

The Optica Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established by Optica (formerly OSA) in 2002. The foundation carries out charitable activities in support of the society’s mission of promoting the generation, application, archiving, and worldwide dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics. We cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in the community as they move through advanced degree programs and become active members of research, engineering and business communities around the globe. The foundation also works to secure the endowments for Optica’s awards and honors programs. For more information, visit optica.org/foundation.

About the founding contributors


II-VI Incorporated, a global leader in engineered materials and optoelectronic components, is a vertically integrated manufacturing company that develops innovative products for diversified applications in communications, industrial, aerospace & defense, semiconductor capital equipment, life sciences, consumer electronics, and automotive markets. Headquartered in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, the Company has research and development, manufacturing, sales, service, and distribution facilities worldwide. The Company produces a wide variety of application-specific photonic and electronic materials and components, and deploys them in various forms, including integrated with advanced software to support our customers. For more information, please visit us at www.ii-vi.com.

“Women scientists and engineers can be found throughout II-VI globally, making groundbreaking contributions, and we look forward to many more joining our ranks. We strongly encourage women to become the future generation of leaders in optics, optoelectronics, and photonics, following in the footsteps of those who have already reached the higher echelons in our industry. We celebrate both women and men who have been recognized as thought leaders, including the recently elected 2022 Optica Fellows class.” –Vincent D. Mattera, Jr., Chair and CEO of II-VI Incorporated

Corning Incorporated

Corning (www.corning.com) is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science, with a 170-year track record of life-changing inventions. Corning applies its unparalleled expertise in glass science, ceramic science, and optical physics along with its deep manufacturing and engineering capabilities to develop category-defining products that transform industries and enhance people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in RD&E, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and deep, trust-based relationships with customers who are global leaders in their industries. Corning’s capabilities are versatile and synergistic, which allows the company to evolve to meet changing market needs, while also helping its customers capture new opportunities in dynamic industries. Today, Corning’s markets include optical communications, mobile consumer electronics, display, automotive, and life sciences.

“We are proud to be part of the Optica Women Scholars program. The ability to innovate is driven by diversity of thought and experience. This program will not only be intentional in its efforts to bring new voices into the optical industry, but also to ensure their voices are heard. We look forward to seeing the contributions of the recipients and to building a culture that welcomes and supports every individual.” –Felicia Murrill, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Program Manager, Corning Optical Communications


Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google’s targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.

“Google looks forward to seeing the talented recipients of the foundation’s new scholarships enter the workforce for a prosperous future.” —Hong Liu, Distinguished Engineer, Google LLC


Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. When Facebook launched in 2004, it changed the way people connect. Apps like Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp further empowered billions around the world. Now, Meta is moving beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.

“Meta is proud to be part of this new program and looks forward to launching talented scholarship recipients into careers in this important technology area of the future.” – Katharine Schmidtke, Director of Sourcing


InnoLight designs, builds and markets high-speed optical transceivers that enable rapid bandwidth expansion of next generation networks. It is headquartered in Suzhou, China with manufacturing locations in China, Taiwan and Thailand. It has RD and Sales offices in China, US, and Singapore. InnoLight’s solutions offer superior technical performance, compelling value proposition, and time to market advantages that are critical for the sustaining growth of the Data Center, 5G Wireless and Metro Network. For additional information, please visit www.innolight.com.

“InnoLight is pleased to sponsor and contribute to the Optica Women Scholars program. Women have been major contributors to the adoption and advancement of optical technologies. This scholarship program will enable more talented women to participate in the development of next generation optical technologies.” –Osa Mok, Chief Marketing Officer of Innolight Technology.

Intel Corporation

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to newsroom.intel.com and intel.com.

“As the world is becoming increasingly digital, there has never been a more important time to be a technologist. Our industry must join together to support higher education and professional communities analogous of society. Women represent 50% of humanity; representation doesn’t come close to that, especially in areas like optics and photonics. Two decades ago, I started silicon photonics when I was CTO at Intel and now our silicon photonics technology shines inside hyperscale datacenters around the world. To continue that relentless pace of innovation, we need programs like this that ensure we are opening the door of opportunity wide for all of the best and brightest technologists.” – Pat Gelsinger, CEO, Intel

NeoPhotonics Corp

NeoPhotonics is a leading developer and manufacturer of lasers and optoelectronic solutions that transmit, receive and switch high-speed digital optical signals for Cloud and hyper-scale data center internet content provider and telecom networks. The Company’s products enable cost-effective, high-speed over distance data transmission and efficient allocation of bandwidth in optical networks. NeoPhotonics maintains headquarters in San Jose, California and ISO 9001:2015 certified engineering and manufacturing facilities in Silicon Valley (USA), Japan and China. For additional information visit www.neophotonics.com.

“We are excited to be part of the Optica Women Scholars program and are looking forward to the achievements of these talented women. Women have played a key role in the development of our optical products for the highest speed over distance applications, and the next generation of women scientists will surely build on this legacy.” — Tim Jenks, Chairman and CEO, NeoPhotonics.

Source Photonics

Source Photonics is a leading provider of innovative and reliable optical communications technology that enables communications and connectivity in datacenters, metro, and access networks. We invent next-generation solutions to provide customers with enabling technologies to support the rapidly increasing demands of cloud infrastructure, wireless communications, routing, and fiber-to-the-premises worldwide. Source Photonics is headquartered in West Hills, California, with manufacturing facilities, R&D, and sales offices worldwide. For more information about Source Photonics, please visit www.sourcephotonics.com.

“Source is very proud to be part of this scholarship program in Optics. Leveraging diverse talents and points of view sustains Source Photonics’ innovative and creative teams. The Optica Women Scholars represent ideal candidates for our global workforce. We look forward to supporting these exceptional young researchers with funding and mentorship as they prepare for a prosperous career in photonics.” –Frank Chang, Chief Engineer and Head of CTO Office, Source Photonics


Optica Foundation
Becky Bosco



Mark Lourie

Vice President, Corporate Communications


Corning Incorporated

Megan Whittemore

+1 (202) 661-4171


Ryan Moore


Intel Corporation
Patricia Oliverio-Lauderdale

Global Corporate Communications, Intel


for NeoPhotonics Corp

LouVan Communications, Inc.

Michael Newsom

Mobile: +1 617-803-5385

Email: mike@louvanpr.com

Source Photonics
Christian Ilmi

Sales Director

phone: +1-818-773-9044

email: christian.ilmi@sourcephotonics.com

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