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Twice a year, leading companies in the optics industry meet alongside respected academic researchers, with students profiting from the interaction. The occasion is the Industrial Affiliates Workshop and Corporate Showcase/Career Fair at the University of Arizona. The fall 2015 three-day event is planned for 7 to 9 October and is a showcase for the value of the Industrial Affiliates program of the College of Optical Sciences (OSC) at the University of Arizona.

The Industrial Affiliates program reflects the roots of the College of Optical Sciences, formerly known as the Optical Sciences Center, and still represented by the acronym OSC. In 1964 the nation demanded more highly trained engineers and physicists in the optical sciences. From that need the OSC was founded. Throughout its 50-year history, the OSC has stood in the forefront of the field - focussed on the mission of leading research in the physics of light, advancing the methods used to fabricate the world's largest telescopes, and educating more optics students than any other institution in the United States.

But optics and photonics - the science and engineering of generating, manipulating, and detecting light and other electromagnetic radiation - is a field where today's scientific research soon appears in tomorrow's commercial products. The rapid advance of manufacturing technology means that students run the risk of being trained in methods that industry has abandoned, companies can find it difficult to discover appropriately trained potential employees, and teachers can find themselves working in isolation from current practice.  

The Industrial Affiliates program is designed to overcome all three of those challenges. Member organizations stay up-to-date with the OSC's latest research, which makes it easy for them to upgrade their own capabilities. The OSC stays connected with updates to best industrial practices, making the curriculum relevant. Students benefit from coursework applicable in the industrial world - and have the opportunity to intern with leading optics companies.  

This summer, for example, student interns worked on projects ranging from lens design to virtual reality displays to studies of the polarization behavior of unique light sources. They worked for companies such as Edmund Optics, one of the leading suppliers of optical components; Oculus, a Facebook company working on virtual reality displays, and Cymer; a division of ASML and a supplier of innovative deep-ultraviolet sources.

The Corporate Showcase and Industrial Affiliates Workshop is the most popular benefit of the program, and it's also where many connections are made that benefit all the parties involved. These events are offered at no cost to Industrial Affiliate program members. Prospective members interested in experiencing this event may attend as a guest.

The Industrial Affiliates program is actively expanding both the breadth of the program and the number of participating organizations, according to Kaye Rowan, Senior Director of Development for the College. "The internship program is an exciting opportunity for our Industrial Affiliates," said Rowan, who manages the Industrial Affiliates membership, "especially those with facilities far from the American Southwest. This is an opportunity for companies located throughout the country and world-wide to increase their visibility among students who will soon join the pool of highly qualified potential employees." Companies interested in joining the program should contact Ms. Rowan at [email protected]

The College of Optical Sciences (OSC) at the University of Arizona was established in 1964 to fill a national need for more students trained in optical physics and technology.  The OSC continues to fill that need, training more students in the optical sciences than any other institution in the United States.  The industrial affiliates program is designed to leverage the strengths of academic and industrial optics for the benefit of all.

Labels: University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences,Industrial Affiliates Program,optics

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