On June 18, Alexis Vogt, PhD, MCC Chair and Associate Professor of Optics, conducted an Optics Summer Institute for 19 high school teachers to prepare them to teach optics dual enrollment courses in their secondary schools.

Dual enrollment courses are MCC courses taught in high schools, by qualified high school teachers.  High school students who successfully complete the course receive MCC credit.  By completing optics dual enrollment courses, students advance into the optics career ladder and start college with advanced standing.

The Optics Summer Institute included technical training and concluded with a tour of JML Optical.  11 area high schools participated in the professional development:  East (Rochester City School District), Eastridge, Edison Career and Technical (Rochester City School District), Gates Chili, Greece Olympia, Hilton, Penfield, Rush-Henrietta, Webster Schroeder, Webster Thomas, and West Irondequoit.

As recently as 2012, MCC’s Optical Systems Technology program was in trouble – low enrollment, aged labs, and no sponsorship.

That changed with the Summer Sizzler Optics Summer Camp, investments by the Corning Foundation and Sydor Optics, and recently, the summer Photon Camp at the University of Rochester.  A turnaround occurred because the New York Photonics Cluster worked together to solve a shared problem: a lack of qualified optics technicians for available jobs.

Today, as of June 2018:

  • 17 students graduated this academic year from MCC’s Optical Systems Technology program (an increase of 325%from May 2016);
  • 202 high school students in 5 schools participated in the MCC optics dual enrollment course (an increase of 260%from 2013);

Within the last year, MCC’s Optical Systems Technology program was awarded:

  • $760,000from the Corning Foundation in January 2018 to expand its optics program;
  • $550,000from the National Science Foundation for its OPT IN! program tostrengthen the regional optics and photonics workforce and provide students with employment opportunities in industries to fill high skill, high demand positions.

Highlighting May 2018 graduates:

Quotes from the students:

“Hello Professor Vogt, I am happy to say I got the job with OptiPro. I will be an Advanced Process Development Lab Technician. I start on July 9th. I really appreciate everything you taught me and the position you put me in to succeed was great. Hope to see you around in the future in the well-knit Optics community!”
Justin Arrajj, working at OptiPro

“Professor Vogt,
The end of the semester came fast and I did not get a chance to properly thank you for all your help, support, guidance and knowledge shared throughout my time in the optics program. I truly believe the time spent in the program was well worth it and that it was the push I needed in the right direction for my future.
As a job update, I did except a full time position at RPO as an Optical Technician…Again, thank you for all your assistance, I’m sure we will cross paths in the future someday, and have a wonderful summer break.”
Salaahuddin Karim, working at RPO

Donations of OPI Lab Equipment and learning materials at participating high schools are supported in part by NYSEG / RG&E.

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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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