Stanford University Photonics Retreat

  • SUPR 5 group photo
  • SUPR 5 opening remarks
    Giving opening remarks at SUPR 5
  • SUPR 5 keynote speakers
    Gifts presented to our keynote speakers: Dr. David F. Blake and Prof. Arthur Bienenstock
  • SUPR 5 program committee
    SUPR 5 Program Committee closing the retreat
  • SUPR 5 T-shirt
    SUPR 5 T-shirt design by Matthew Lew
  • SUPR 5 T-shirt
    SUPR 2015 T-shirt design by Matthew Lew
  • Photos by Paul Lim

    Working in a lab outside of my own department has been both rewarding and challenging. I've greatly benefited from being surrounded by and learning from those outside my field. However, being disconnected from other electrical engineers can be lonely too! Fortunately, the Stanford Optical Society, a student chapter of OSA and SPIE, runs a yearly retreat to unite optics researchers from different departments together for a weekend program of guest speakers, professional workshops, expert panels, and networking. I've had the pleasure of participating in, organizing, and being the program chair of the Stanford University Photonics Retreat (SUPR).


    Professional development is often overlooked by graduate students because it is not formally required to obtain a degree. Furthermore, optics is such a diverse field that students often unacquainted with the research being done in the next building or across the street. Furthermore, having students and labs separated into schools, colleges, and departments creates artificial bureaucratic barriers where no intellectual barriers exist. SUPR is designed to address all of these needs and shortcomings. SUPR also provides younger graduate students a way to hone their communication skills by presenting their research to peers early in their career. SUPR also facilities networking between the 60 graduate students and 20 optics professionals attending from outside of Stanford.

    Tasks completed

    As program chair of the fifth-annual SUPR, I was responsible for the overall planning and running of the event. This included:

    Skills gained

    Lessons learned


    Chairing SUPR 5 has first and foremost gotten me more involved in service activities for the Stanford graduate community. It is gratifying for me to have been involved in planning such a well-received event. It has also shown me how useful and beneficial it is to be an active member of a professional society, both for the connections it facilitates and the leadership experience it provides. Lastly, I served as Co-President of the Stanford Optical Society largely because of my experience planning various SUPRs.


    Stanford Optical Society

    SUPR 2012 Program, April 13-15, 2012, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA

    SUPR 5 Program, April 12-14, 2013, DoubleTree Hotel Sonoma Wine Country, Rohnert Park, CA

    SUPR 2015 Program, April 10-12, 2015, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA