The 2013 Optics Summer Sizzler
The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) and Monroe Community College (MCC) hosted the fourth annual Summer Optics Sizzler June 24-28. The five-day camp allows high school students to explore education and career opportunities in optics and encourages the growth of a skilled workforce to fill the industry’s in-demand jobs.
The camp introduced students to MCC’s optical systems technology programs. As the first college in the nation to create a two-year optical technician training program, MCC today offers both an associate in applied science degree and a certificate program in Optical Systems Technology. The college also awards two different scholarships for students studying optics, with multiple recipients for each.
For many young people, these technical programs can provide a quick and affordable alternative to a four-year college, and the Sizzler is a way for students to explore if these options are right for them. This year students from Gates Chili and Greece Olympia participated in the program. Since the program began four years ago East High School and Gates Chili have begun teaching dual-credit optics courses with the MCC program. Greece Olympia is expected to begin teaching dual-credit optics in 2015.
Led by volunteers from the local optics community, students explore high-demand job paths directly with those working in the field. Hands-on activities include:
• building an LCD projector
• building a spectrometer to study light
• creating 3D holograms
• building a laser interfermoter
• bulding a telescope
“The Optics Summer Sizzler is a great way to introduce students to career possibilities they haven’t considered before, especially students who might not have thought college was a viable option at all. We prepare them for jobs that are readily available in our own community,” said Tom Battley, Executive Director of the Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster and Program Coordinator.
This year, students visited the Corning Museum of Glass on the last day of the program to see how optics drive technology and impact the world around them.
A long-established leader in the industry, Rochester is currently home to more than 60 small and midsize and imaging companies, which together employ about 2,500 people across the region. New York State has over 100 OPI companies providing 25,000 jobs and more than $5B of manufactured goods annually. Greater Rochester also ranks among the top metropolitan regions for patents, with the most patents granted for optics research. Sizzler sponsors include some of Rochester’s Top 100 fastest-growing companies, such as Sydor Optics, Optimax, Optipro and Rochester Precision Optics; in past years, the camp resulted in internships for students at some of these businesses, as well as enrollment in the MCC programs.
The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) (www.newyorkphotonics.org) is a nonprofit organization founded to promote and enhance the New York State photonics, optics and imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government. Its members represent the top optics and imaging companies in the world. Its partnerships, alliances, and ongoing innovation bring international opportunities to Rochester.
About MCC’s Applied Technologies Programs
As the largest community college in Upstate New York by annual enrollment, Monroe Community College (www.monroecc.edu) is a primary educator of the local skilled workforce. MCC partners with school districts and four-year institutions, workforce development boards, industries, businesses and government to meet its mission and respond to the community’s needs for a trained workforce. More than 25 percent of all local high school graduates choose MCC to begin their college education, and about 90 percent of graduates preparing for a career stay within the Greater Rochester area.
2013 Optics Summer Sizzler Sponsors:
- Applied Image
- ASE Optics
- Bond Schoeneck & King
- G-S Plastic Optics
- JML Optical
- IDEX Optics & Photonics
- Laser Energetics Lab
- Martin Dvorin
- PLS Launch Solutions
- Richardson Grating
- Rochester Precision Optics
- Sydor Optics
- Syntec Optics
- Vincent Associates