In last month's column, I talked about the tremendous growth of OSA's student membership and the contributions these young members bring to the vibrancy of the Society. Nearly one-quarter of OSA's members are students, and they are actively engaged in most of our activities. Hopefully all these students will one day graduate with a Ph.D., Master's or B.S. degree, continue to be active in optics, and remain engaged in OSA as individual members.
To ease the transition from student membership to individual membership, OSA offers individuals who have completed a college-level degree program within the last three years a "recent graduate" membership option. Recent graduates enjoy discounted membership dues of U.S. $45 for up to three years post-graduation.
More important, these members have access to in-person and online networking opportunities and are encouraged to join OSA's Young Professionals (YP) Program. Launched in 2008, this fast-growing program offers career-building OSA volunteer opportunities aligned to the members' technical interests. It is available not only to recent graduates, but to all members under 40 years of age. Currently, almost 200 of OSA's 900 recent graduate members participate in the YP program. I'd like to encourage all of our eligible members to take advantage of this great opportunity.
There are a wide variety of possible assignments available in the YP Program. For example, you could speak at or help organize conferences in your subject area; get involved in evaluating submitted abstracts; identify invited speakers or assist in chairing the oral sessions. You might participate in the journal review process, identify new topic areas for OSA publications, or participate in OPN's Career Focus column or Bright Futures career blog. In membership activities, you might assist with the youth development program.
I was recently in Australia and India as part of OSA's collaborative agreements with the Australian Optical Society, the Optical Society of India and the Indian Laser Association. I met many OSA student members and recent graduates, and I was overwhelmed by their enthusiasm and abilities. In Australia, many of the young researchers had just returned from IONS Koala 3, held in Dunedin, New Zealand. This conference, which was entirely organized by students, was very high quality and low cost: just $100 for registration, accommodations and meals for four days! In India, I was fortunate enough to welcome the newest OSA Student Chapter (the 10th in India), at IIT Guwahati, while attending Photonics 2010, a conference that attracted international speakers from around the world. As I meet with student and recent graduates throughout the year, I'll continue to update you on the activities of these very important members of the OSA community.
In this issue, be sure to read the features on integrated silicon photonics from Mario Paniccia and his colleagues at Intel; Nikolay Zheludev's roadmap for metamaterials; Jeff Hecht's historical piece on the first fibers to homes and a discussion about the metamorphosis of the transistor into the laser by laser pioneer Nick Holonyak Jr. … not to mention my own contribution on Optics in Ireland.
Finally, I'm pleased to report that you can now access OPN on your iPhone or iPad. Visit the iTunes App Store to access the free app, which includes full OPN content along with news and blogs from the OPN website.