Scholarship Winner Updates

In 2011, we gave our first annual optical sciences scholarship in Michael's memory. Much has happened with our scholarship winners. Below are some historical updates:

Alex Anderson, August 2016 (2015 Scholarship Winner)

I just completed my first year of my PhD at the University of Colorado Boulder in electrical engineering. I am studying orbital angular momentum in light in Dr. Juliet Gopinath's group. I also received an NDSEG (National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate) Fellowship which will fund my research for the next 4 years.

Cheng Zhang, May 2017 (2014 Scholarship Winner)
I did my PhD defense in May 2016 with the dissertation title "Optical Properties and Optoelectronic Applications of Nano-size Metallic Films and Metamaterials". After staying in my PhD lab for a short period after defense, I move to Gaithersburg, Maryland in October. I started my post-doc work at Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. I work with NIST Fellow Dr. Henri J. Lezec on topics of plasmonics and metamaterials. Here is the link to my profile at NIST: 

This is the link to my google scholar profile:



Michael Steinbock, April 2017 (2011 Scholarship Winner)
I joined the Air Force Research Labs (AFRL) at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM in May 2016. There, I am at the Starfire Optical Range (click the link for some pretty pictures) studying ground-based imaging techniques of space assets. The primary challenge to this application is imaging through the Earth's turbulent atmosphere, which distorts imagery. This has been a great experience, working with a great team of scientists. 


I am also staying active. I joined a hike with co-workers to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back, where we experienced everything from snow to rain and some beautiful sunny days--hiking roughly 33 miles in all. We wasted no time in planning the next adventure!

Again, I look back to your scholarship as the catalyst for so many good things. Thank you all, and I hope the same may happen to others!

David Carlson, April 2017 (2012 Scholarship Winner)
My wife and I are still in Boulder, CO where we have just survived the winter after so many years in the desert of Arizona.  It took a little adjusting, but at least it's been fun to get out skiing again!

I am currently working as an NRC (National Research Council) postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  My recent research efforts have been focused on several nonlinear optics experiments in chip-scale photonic devices. Our broad goals here are to make high-precision laser systems compatible with systems that can run with very low power consumption, small size, and little user-intervention. Some applications would be, for example, remote chemical sensing, next-generation time and frequency standards, and exo-planet detection with ground-based optical telescopes.

Here are links to two freshly-minted papers that are currently in peer-review.

Tanya Das, April 2017 (2016 Scholarship Winner)
I am finishing up my Ph.D. and will be graduating this June. I was recently accepted for the 2017-2018 Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellowship Program, which means I will be moving to Washington D.C. this fall. During this one-year fellowship program, I will serve as a legislative assistant for a Congressman or a Congressional Committee and will get to advise on science and technology-related policy issues. I hope to work on issues related to STEM education and optics and photonics technologies. The Michael Pate Optical Sciences Memorial Scholarship was essential in me landing this position, as it gave me the freedom to pursue my interests in science policy while I was still working on my Ph.D. research.

David Carlson, August 2016 (2012 Scholarship Winner)
I finished my PhD at the U of A this spring and have just started a postdoc position at NIST in Boulder, CO where I will be working on designing and fabricating chip-scale optical frequency combs based on microresonators.  A short summary of our group's research is here: http://www.nist.gov/pml/div688/grp80/microresonatorresearch.cfm.

Cheng Zhang, August 2016 (2014 Scholarship Winner)
I recently graduated from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor with a PhD in Electrical Engineering Optical Society of America (OSA). I am responsible for organizing both networking and technical events at OSA conferences on behalf of the technical group.
(Optics track). I plan to do a postdoc training after graduation. From earlier this year, I start to serve as the Event Leader of the Nanophotonic Technical group of the




Alex Anderson, August 2016 (2015 Scholarship Winner)
In May, I graduated from University of Rochester with a BS in Optical Engineering. This summer, I interned at MIT Lincoln Laboratories in the optical engineering group. This fall, I am beginning my PhD at Universityof Colorado Boulder where I will be joining the Optics and Photonics Research Group, led by Dr. Juliet Gopinath.

David Carlson, July 2015 (2012 Scholarship Winner)
I'm still in the optical science Ph.D program at the Univ. of Arizona and will be graduating this coming spring.  My dissertation project on developing a frequency comb laser source in the extreme ultraviolet continues to move forward and some of our latest results have been presented at the most recent CLEO and FiO conferences.  My wife is also graduating from optical sciences this fall and so the two of us will be doing some job searching in the coming months.  Exciting times ahead!

Michael Steinbock, July 2015 (2011 Scholarship Winner)
Things are quite exciting for me at the moment... I'm trying to finish up my dissertation for my PhD committee by this weekend! I'll be defending Aug 17, here at AFIT

Your scholarship really set a great many things in motion for me... I have since been awarded a scholarship from SPIE as well as scholarships from the Directed Energy Professional Society the past two years (and perhaps one more time). On top of that, I was awarded the SMART scholarship, which is a huge deal. That has set me up with a follow-on assignment with the Air Force Research Labs in Albuquerque, NM. I've already been working with the labs out in ABQ, and I'm extremely excited about the situation. I'll be working with the space optics division, but I'm also retaining ties to the laser weapons side as well. 

In general, I absolutely love this research and supporting our country. Recently I haven't been able to do much outdoor adventures with the dissertation in full-swing, but I have a two week kayaking venture up the Exuma Island chain in the Bahamas scheduled for November :)  Albuquerque also offers a huge range of places to wander and things to do. I've also put my auto racing hobby on hold this summer, but I hope to squeeze in three track weekends before the season ends--after I defend. 

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