Outreach Signup Link

The UR SPIE Student Chapter has participated in many outreach activities throughout the years. Outreach has been a very high priority for the chapter since its inception. The outreach events and demonstrations we perform for all ages allow us to inspire the next generation of scientists, and to have fun while doing so!

If you would like to participate in our chapter’s upcoming outreach events, or have suggestions for future activities, please email urspie@gmail.com.

Past outreach events include:

  • Optics Family Night: The Institute of Optics/Rochester OSA hosts a Family Night in December, showing various optical demonstrations for area optics professionals and their families. The UR SPIE outreach group participates in the event, in which we had to adapt our presentations for all age levels, from small children to curious adults. Several of the optics suitcase demonstrations are used to demonstrate diffraction, polarization, and birefringence.
  • Outreach at local grade schools: UR SPIE frequently participates in several outreach events at local high schools and elementary schools. The goal is to educate younger students about what exactly optics is, and to get them excited and interested in optics by showing them several fun optics demonstrations.  
  • IYL Science Weekends at RMSC: This spring we partnered with the Rochester Museum & Science Center for several “Light Weekends” as part of the International Year of Light 2015. SPIE members performed many optical demonstrations with the theme of polarization. Our goal was to bring awareness of optics and the IYL to the Rochester community.
  • Girl Scouts STEM-a-palooza: In April, the UR SPIE chapter was contacted by the local Girl Scouts of Western New York and we set up a table with diffraction and polarization demonstrations for young girls in grades 4-6. We were one of many tables with different scientific concepts to encourage the girls to pursue science.
  • Spooky Science Night: The Society of Physics Students host a Halloween-themed science event for the Rochester community in October. Here, we set up a table with “invisible” gel beads, transferring music to a detector across a table with a laser, and diffraction grating glasses. Children and parents alike really enjoyed the experience.
  • Lilac Festival: At the city of Rochester’s annual Lilac Festival, we set up a tent, partnered with the OSA chapter at the UR and the Optics club at Monroe Community College. We had four optics-related demos: a smart phone microscope, infrared light and cameras, color matching, and perception of color. This was a great place to meet people who don’t actively seek out scientific demos.
  • Rochester Maker Faire: We have demos as an exhibit at the annual Rochester Maker Faire. The first two days are frequented by middle and high schoolers on a field trip then to the general public. We typically have an infrared camera set up along with a laser used to transmit sound through free space (and modulated with a comb for amusing effects) and diffraction gratings.


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