WiO Bi-Weekly Meeting & Mission Statement

At the last WiO meeting, we voted to accept an updated WiO mission statement! We are very excited to continue to work on updating WiO's governing documents to guide our path forward. Read our updated and ratified mission statement below:

The mission of Women in Optics (WiO) shall be to promote awareness, build community, and improve the representation of diversity and inclusion within the college. The WiO group will: (i) provide intersectional support and community building for graduate and undergraduate students; (ii) improve awareness by building partnerships inside and outside of the university; (iii) confront sources of bias and inequality in the field.

Next on our list is to review our current bylaws, which we will work on during the next WiO meeting.  We also held a vote on action items to focus on for the current academic year. Thank you to everyone who attended and gave us their input! If you weren't able to attend, please fill out the form attached. We want to work on events that our community finds productive, and the easiest way to do this is with your input: WiO Action List Votes

Next week our meeting time will shift to 4pm on Wednesday, October 30th to encourage participation in OSC spooky Halloween festivities on the 31st! We'll be going back to our normal Thursday meeting times after this meeting. We'll be talking about our upcoming events as well as starting work on our new action items. 

Industrial Affiliates is HERE! 

View the 2019 Fall Agenda HERE!  Make sure to stop by the fantastic student presentations and the student poster session

WiO is sponsoring 10 (student) tickets to A Fireside Chat with Tarana Burke, sign up here!!!!!

UA Consortium on Gender-Based Violence Speakers Series: A Fireside Chat with Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘Me Too.’ Movement, with Q&A. Click here to reserve a tickets through WiO and here for more information. 
Event is on October 30th at 6pm in Centennial Hall 
New Initiative Highlight: JOURNAL CLUB!
WiO, SOCk, and POW's academic chairs have been working together to put on a brand new recurring event: Journal Club! Taking place once a month, journal club will provide a learning environment for optics connoisseurs of all levels to discuss seminal papers in the field. The discussion will be guided to promote understanding of the scientific content, discuss what makes a good academic paper, and make connections between other topics in optics. Have a favorite paper you'd like to discuss? Journal club is taking submissions here!
Outreach Opportunity!
Caterpillar 2019 Girls Experience Mining (GEM)  Day
Friday, November 1st,  1:00 - 3:30 PM

GEM day is a new event for local Tucson middle school girls to learn more about mining. The primary goal of the event is to increase mining interest and showcase what mining is about and how Caterpillar contributes, and to also provide a well-rounded overview of the potential careers in mining and STEM industries, and how the next generation of scientists and engineers is going to change the world. WiO will be sharing careers in optics at the career fair!

Sign up HERE
WiO Spotlight is an installment series where we talk with students, staff, and faculty to share our passions and connect with our community here at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences. This week we get to know 1st-year Masters student, Aafaque "Affy" Khan. 

Where are you from?
I am from Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. It is a small (relatively speaking by Indian standards) town and a famous religious pilgrimage in central India. I come from a humble lower-middle-class family and being able to come to U.S. for an higher education has been an extremely challenging journey for me. 

What is your undergraduate/professional background? 
Before joining MS Optical Sciences student at OSC, I was leading a team building a multi-million dollar space telescope. More formally speaking, I was working as the engineering lead of a team building a space telescope, called SUIT, for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). SUIT, which stands for Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope, is a UV Imaging payload onboard ISRO's Aditya-L1, which is a solar mission to L1. I worked with the PI institution of SUIT, the Inter-University Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, and a multi-institution team spread across India for 4 years before moving on to pursue an academic career in Astronomical Instrumentation. It was really challenging role for an early career young professional and it gave me diverse experience in space systems engineering, astrophysics, opto-mechanical engineering, and multi-stakeholder project management. 
I have a Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering and after which I spent a year at residential liberal Arts fellowship called the Young India Fellowship (YIF). YIF provided me with an opportunity to study humanities and social sciences from academics and industry experts from across the globe in a cohort of 100 fellows drawing from various top institutes from across the country. This was a great perspective building exercise for me and a period of holistic learning that exposed me to a diversity of multi-disciplinary subjects ranging from domains of gender studies, history, philosophy, psychology, art appreciation, visual communication and political economy. This spectrum of ideas, discussion and debates provided for the problem solving, critical thinking and leadership training that was missing from my engineering education and that allowed me to excel in a challenging early career role. 
What inspires you about the field of optics?
In my early twenties, my career interests dwindled between astrophysics and space engineering. With the help of some amazing opportunities and mentorship, I discovered that astronomical instrumentation is the perfect blend that brings these two fields together. Astronomical instrumentation relies on cutting edge optical engineering and innovation in optical physics, to push the boundaries of what we can find about the universe. So optics for me provides the building blocks for the ultimate quest of knowing more about how nature works at astronomical scales.
Tell us about your research. 
I work with Dr. Erika Hamden in the Hamden UV/Vis Detector Lab at the Steward Observatory. I am currently involved in 2020 flight campaign of the FIREBALL-2 (Faint Intergalactic Redshifted Emission Balloon) mission. FIREBALL-2 is a balloon-borne 1 meter telescope coupled to an ultraviolet spectrograph and is designed to study the faint and diffuse emission of the intergalactic medium (until now detected primarily in absorption). I am also building the UV/Vis detector characterization facility at the Hamden lab that will allow characterization and testing of custom-built EMCCDs for balloon and space missions. I have started to venture into theoretical and observational astrophysics that would compliment my work in instrumentation. I am interested in the Circum-Galactic Medium (CGM) and its role in the evolution of galaxies. In the long term, I am interested in instrumentation for ground and space-based observatories for UV astronomy. 
What do you wish your peers knew about life as an international student?  
As an international student, it took me some time to deal with the social, cultural and academic differences between India and the U.S. I got a lot of support from both domestic and international grad students at OSC through informal channels, I would really appreciate it if my peers would more actively engage with international students and seek out opportunities of dialogue and cultural exchange with the diverse international community. It is important to realize that moving to a new country and starting a new life both academically and otherwise is extremely challenging and a bit of help can make a big impact in someone's life. 
What do you do beyond your academic life?
I believe that a great work-life balance is extremely important for sustaining productive and creative research in the long term. I take the time off to travel, do photography, explore the outdoors- hiking, camping and cycling, improve my swimming skills and to socialize with creative, constructive and crazy grad students of OSC and Steward. 
Why does diversity matter to you?
I have lived through minority experience back in India and in my personal life witnessed and experienced prejudice based on gender and socio-cultural identity. For these reasons, I deeply connect to the causes of gender equality and minority representation in academic and social spheres. For me, diversity is the end-goal of the processes of empowerment and inclusion that give opportunities to demographic groups that have been historically been marginalized or oppressed. It is an indicator of how free an institution is and of how effectively we are as a society working to move away from our past mistakes. It's very personal!

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Upcoming Events

October 21, 2019
Industrial Affiliates Day 1
Grand Ballroom, Student Union Memorial Center
1:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

October 22, 2019
Industrial Affiliates Presentations
Meinel 307
9:15 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October 22, 2019
Industrial Affiliates Poster Session
Meinel 3rd Floor Lobby
5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

October 23, 2019
Industrial Affiliates Presentations
Meinel 307
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

October 30, 2019
WiO BiWeekly Meeting
Meinel 654
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

October 30, 2019
Fireside Chat with Tarana Burke 
UA Centennial Hall
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Thanks for reading the WiO Weekly, have a great time at industrial affiliates and Happy Halloween! 
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