Two local photonics experts used the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre Wednesday night to set the stage for how the field will improve Rochester’s job economy.

Jay Eastman
Jay Eastman

Jay Eastman and Paul Ballentine looked in their crystal balls and told about 150 entrepreneurs that a $600 million photonics research institute coming to town will boost local higher education, jobs and the city’s clout globally as the epicenter for everything optics.

Ballentine is the executive director of the University of Rochester’s Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences. His center matches university experts in optics, photonics and imaging with businesses looking to create a new product or improve an existing product.

Paul Ballentine
Paul Ballentine

Ballentine said the institute will help colleges in many ways. The Rochester Institute of Technology will likely collaborate with AIM researchers, he said. Ballentine added that RIT’s semi-conductor, microelectronics and imaging sciences programs will probably see an increase in applications.

Ballentine mentioned the optics programs at Monroe Community College and how historically the enrollment has been low. However, he said her heard from the optics program director Alexis Vogt that interest has soared since the AIM announcement.

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New York Photonics is a not-for-profit organization founded to promote and enhance the New York State optics, photonics and imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.

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