Membership is the foundation of our society. Members create the underlying ideas that run and define LEOS as the technical society it is today. It is therefore vitally important that LEOS serves its members meaningfully and continues to grow membership as it evolves forward. As the Vice President for Membership in the Americas (this includes the U.S., Canada, and Latin America) I strive to assure that our diverse membership benefits from the array of opportunities LEOS provides. I also continuously seek feedback from our individual members and chapters on new ways we can improve and expand LEOS services to accommodate our swiftly changing technical and educational challenges.
Over the past few years LEOS initiated numerous programs aimed at better servicing our members. I would like to focus in this article on the education front where I have been personally involved. We now offer the highly competitive Graduate Student Fellowships established to support outstanding LEOS student members pursuing graduate education within the LEOS field of interest. Each year we award twelve fellowships of $5000 each to student members in the three main geographical regions of LEOS (Americas, Europe/Middle East, and Asia/Pacific). The Fellows are provided up to $2500 for travel to the LEOS Annual Meeting where the award ceremony is held. We have also established student travel grants to many of the major LEOS sponsored conferences including: LEOS Annual, OFC, CLEO, CLEO/Pacific Rim, CLEO/Europe, OECC, and ECOC. The program awards 16 grants annually of up to $2500 each in support of student travel and lodging expenses and complementary conference registration. LEOS has further established a student project program that specifically targets students at the undergraduate and graduate level who seek to implement a team project involving photonic technologies. The program provides three annual awards of $1500 each to support the development and demonstration of the project. Over the past several years many student members of LEOS have benefited greatly from these varied programs.
Our members benefit, learn, and interact with LEOS through our international conferences and publications. At the local level LEOS chapters throughout the world provide a vehicle for interaction with fellow LEOS members and for learning through chapter sponsored activities such as the LEOS Distinguished Lecturers Program. LEOS chapters are the essential local connections our members have with our society. To strengthen our LEOS membership I view the support of existing chapters and the establishment of new chapters as part of the most important missions for LEOS.
From those of you that actually read this article to its end (I know you must care), I would like to solicit any suggestions you may have on how LEOS can better serve its membership. Please send these suggestions, comments or questions to me by email: email@example.com.
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