The OSA Student Leadership Conference (SLC) was held on 14th to 16th September 2018 at National 4-H Conference Centre, Bethesda, Maryland followed by Frontier in Optics/Laser Science conference (FiO/LS) from 17th to 20th September 2018 at Washington Hilton, Washington, District of Columbia, USA. The OSA Student Leadership Conference was an immersive experience for 200 student chapter members around the world.

The Student Leadership Conference, started with opening remarks by Terence Rooney, Manager, Students and Early-Career professionals, OSA, USA and Liz Rogan, CEO, OSA, USA. The student attendees had a chance to hear from world-renowned lecturers on topics such as:

How to leverage your OSA membership benefits – Genaro Montanez, Chief Employee and Membership Engagement, Human Resources, OSA, USA; Hannah Walter, Technical community manager, OSA, USA; Jennifer Mehltretter, Education Programs Manager, OSA, USA.

Demystifying the Publication Process for Authors and Reviewers – Alexa Gaeta, Editor in Chief, Optica, Cornell University, USA; Alison Taylor, Executive Editor, OSA, USA; Kelly Cohen, Senior Publisher, OSA, USA.

A conversation on gender – Sara Bendoraitis, Andrea Blanco-Redondo, Alvaro Casas Bedoya, Ulrike Fuchs, Yasaman Soudagar

How scientists and engineers can have an impact on public policy – Dr. Jennifer Brookes, 2015-2016 OSA/SPIE Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow

How to use OSA to gain communication skill and network you need to go beyond grad school – Dr. Yasaman Soudagar, Founder & CEO of Neuroscence Inc., Canada

Of winding paths and coincidences in a life full of optics – Dr. Ulrike Fuchs, VP Strategy & Innovation, Asphericon, Germany

OSA 2030-Charting the Future of Our Society – Cindy Zook, Founder, Cindy Zook Associates, USA

Networking: An Art & Science – Isaiah Hankel, Founder, Cheeky Scientist, USA

Career Goals, Mapping and Maintenance – Linda Usher, ESG, USA

How to communicate science effectively – Carlos Lopez – Mariscal, Senior Optical Scientist, Appalachian State University, USA; Arlene Smith, Optical Program Manager, Avo Photonics, Inc, USA.

Attendees from all over the world had an opportunity to showcase their chapter activities by presenting a poster. SLC served as a fantastic way for students to immerse themselves in an environment full of professional development content, networking, and fun.

The world class technical program FiO/LS brought together 1200+ attendees from around the globe to network amongst their peers and to learn more about successful chapter management and careers in optics and photonics. The program featured more than 75 invited speakers, 200 contributed talks and nearly 500 poster presentations, which described the most exciting advances in the field of optics. The Plenary session included,

The Future of Computing – Heike E. Riel, IBM Research Frontiers Institute, Switzerland

Chirped Pulse Amplification to ELI and Beyond – Gerard Mourou, Ecole Polytechnique, France

Also, Seven Visionary speakers had been paired with four themes such as; Automative, Nanophotonics and Plasmonics, Quantum Technologies, and Virtual Reality and Augmented Vision. The Visionary sessions included,

Peering through the looking glass: The next frontier in Nano-optics – Teri Odom, Northwestern University, USA

From the night vision to LiDAR: An automotive perspective – Jan-Erik Kallhammer, Veoneer, Inc., Sweden

Quantum communication and networking – Prem Kumar, Northwestern University, USA

Bending light to bend reality – Mark Bolas, Microsoft Corp., USA

Activities shaping the wavefront of Nanophotonics – Mark Brongersma, Stanford University, USA

Tabletop probes for TeV Physics – David DeMille, Yale University, USA

Quantum technology for a networked world – Sir Peter Knight, Kavli Royal Society International Center, UK.

Attendees also had an opportunity to experience Science and Industry Showcase. The exhibition had an innovative demonstration by several companies, networking events, poster presentations, e-posters and rapid-fire oral presentations. The technical program with more than 50 Laser Science presentations, also had Symposium on Undergraduate Research which showcased the work of some youngest scientists. The research work of undergraduate researchers was featured by means of special poster session. The conference reception sponsored by Thorlabs was indeed a high point in a memorable conference week.