Promote women leadership in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship (STEE), bridge the gap between Science and Business, and provide a forum to learn, connect and lead.
WiSTEE Connect aims to provide concrete support to help women to gain regional connections and global impact in STEE fields.
Compared to the existing similar organizations, WiSTEE Connect is aiming to fill two gaps:

Global Women of Light Symposium at the 2016 Frontiers in Optics Conference (Rochester, NY)

WisteeConnect event at FiO

To celebrate the OSA’s 100th anniversary, WiSTEE Connect has collaborated with the OSA Foundation to organize an international symposium 'Global Women of Light' at the 2016 Frontiers in Optics meeting on October 17th 2016 in Rochester, NY. Over 100 participants from 25 countries and 80 institutions attended!

The program was as follows:

  11:00 – 11:30   Welcome Remarks and General Introduction about WiSTEE Connect (by Chad Stark, Executive Director of OSA Foundation and Jie Qiao, Chair of WiSTEE Connect)
  11:30 – 12:00   Panel Discussion: Intersecting Science and Entrepreneurship
  12:00 – 12:30   Round-Table Discussion 1: What are Two Key Elements to be Successful in Your Sector as Female Scientists?
  12:30 – 13:30   Lunch and Key Remarks by OSA CEO Elizabeth Rogan, NSF Program Directors Carmiña Londoño and Dominique Dagenais
  13:30 – 14:00   Round-Table Discussion 2: What are Two Things to Watch Out for and Suggestions for Overcoming Them?
  14:00 – 14:30   Round-Table Discussion 3: What can Funding Agencies/Professional Societies/Academic Institutions/Corporations do to Provide More Concrete Support for Female Scientists?
  14:30 – 16:30   AAUW Salary Negotiation Workshop
  16:30 – 17:00   Closing

The panelists included:


Amy Eskilson

President and CEO of Inrad Optics Inc.

Susana Marcos

Professor at the Institute of Optics at CSIC, Spain, co-founder of Plenoptika Inc. and 2EyesVision Inc., and fellow of OSA, EOS and ARVO

Christine Whitman

Chairman and CEO of Complemar Partners Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Rochester Institute of Technology


Jannick Rolland

Brian J. Thompson Professor of Optical Engineering at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, co-founder of LighTopTech Corp, and fellow of OSA and SPIE

Dominique Dagenais

Program Director at the National Science Foundation, in the Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems Division of the Engineering Directorate

Carmiña Londoño

Program Director for the NSF Engineering Research Centers Program and fellow of SPIE


Elizabeth Rogan

Chief Executive Officer of OSA, The Optical Society

Janet S. Fender

Chief Scientist and Scientific Advisor to the Commander, Air Combat Command USAF.  Past President of OSA, The Optical Society

Lynda Busse

Research Physicist at the Naval Research Laboratory


Shouleh Nikzad

Senior Research Scientist and Principal Engineer at NASA JPL

Clara Asmail

Senior Technical Advisor, NIST MEP

Jessica DeGroote Nelson

Director of Engineering at Optimax Systems Inc.


Arti Agrawal

Senior lecturer at City University London

Stefi Baum

Dean of the Faculty of Science and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manitoba (Canada)

Gisele Benett

Associate Vice President for Research, Faculty Interaction and Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech., and fellow of OSA and SPIE


Ursula Gibson

Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Michal Lipson

Professor at Columbia University and fellow of OSA and IEEE

Nozomi Nishimura

Assistant Professor at the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University


Carle Pieters

Professor at Brown University

Kathleen Richardson

Professor at CREOL/College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central FL and fellow of OSA, SPIE, ACerS and the Society of Glass Technology

Jie Qiao

Associate Professor of Optics at the Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Founder and Chair WiSTEE Connect



Susan Houde-Walter

Co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of LaserMax, Inc., Past President of OSA, The Optical Society


The symposium schedule and panelists information can be found here.


Jie Qiao, PhD, MBA
Associate Professor, Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology