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SPIE Women in Optics Planner Aims to Inspire Careers in Science and Technology
Date:11/22/2013

engineer.” Sawyer went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics and master’s degrees in business administration and nanoscale physics. Earlier this month, Rebellion Photonics was named the Wall Street Journal Startup of the Year, besting 23 other companies in the competition.
  •     Eriko Watanabe, assistant professor at the University of Electro-Communications, said her greatest influence was her mentor and PhD supervisor, professor Kashiko Kodate of Japan Women's University. “My decision to undertake optical research was heavily influenced by her advice and attitude towards work and life,” Watanabe said.
  •     Emily Gallagher, a senior member of technical staff at IBM Microelectronics, said she was influenced by her mother, who studied architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1950s when very few “co-eds” were there. Her mother’s experience taught Gallagher to respect engineering and science and showed her that technical fields were open to women.
  • As for challenges, “Assume any barrier you face is addressable with training, education, experience, or grit,” advises Amy Eskilson. Her career in the business side of science began almost by accident. After studying radio and television broadcasting, she joined the advertising department of a fledgling photonics company. Now president and CEO of Inrad Optics, Eskilson says she has learned not to let preconceived limitations based on gender get in the way.

    University of Central Florida professor Kathleen Richardson urges women in the field to remember to reach out to those coming up in the field. “Consider how you've been influenced by someone who took a moment to share a little something with you and how you have 'paid it forward,’” Richardson said. “Your comm
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