What Can a Student Chapter Accomplish in Five Years? A lot!

Alberto Lencina

On the fifth anniversary of the CIOp-UNLP OSA/SPIE student chapter, a founding member looks back on its accomplishments and encourages others to start a chapter at their own university.


figureCIOp-UNLP student chapter members at the 2012 student meeting in optics and photophysics in La Plata, including Angelica Mesa (left), Andrés Escobar, Jésica Santillán (treasurer), Patricio Fluxá (president) and Dámian Gulich.

In May of 2007, I met students from all over Latin America when we came together to take the class that started it all. It was a graduate course on optics, lasers and physics offered at the Centro de Investigaciones Ópticas (CIOp) at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina, where I was a doctoral student. Aside from learning a lot about optics, the members of the class made many friendships—and we did not want our connections to end after the final exam. That is how our student chapter was born.

Five years later, I realize that the chapter has done so much more than allowing a group of students to stay in touch. It didn’t take long for us to start making a difference. The chapter has been very active in conducting scientific outreach activities and collaborations, ranging from seminars to symposia, often with the help of other physics student chapters in Argentina. In fact, I believe the CIOp-UNLP OSA/SPIE student chapter has contributed to the spreading of optics and photonics in Argentina and perhaps Latin America. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last five years, and I believe that other institutions can benefit from starting an OSA student chapter of their own.

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Publish Date: 01 September 2012

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