From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2016
The Lightwave Roadshow is an outreach program run by research students at the University of Southampton, UK, that seeks to educate and inspire young students with optics, through conducting workshops in local schools and exhibiting at local and regional educational fairs. Adopting a hands-on philosophy enabled by an extensive collection of experimental optical demonstrations, Lightwave aims to promote scientific interest and indirectly address the global STEM skills shortage. While Lightwave has become a well-established program in local schools since its inception in 1998, 2015 included an unprecedented number of overseas activities. Inspired by the In- ternational Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015), Lightwave organized a school workshop in a foreign country (Singapore) as well as exhibited at major events, including the IYL 2015 opening ceremony in France, which marked the first time that the roadshow used UK school students to deliver outreach activities beyond the UK. These recent successful overseas projects have encouraged the outreach team to continue expand- ing the reach of the roadshow internationally. Of particular note is the involvement of Lightwave at academic conferences, where experiences and best practices can be shared among outreach ambassadors from different programs, student chapters, universities, and organizations. This paper provides a review of these activities, and identifies the administrative and practical challenges of bringing a local outreach program abroad and some strategies to overcome them. We also outline our travel suite of experimental demonstration kit, a portable selection from our main equipment inventory. This won the recent OSA ‘IYL-To-Go’ student competition.
Nicholas H. L. Wong, Matthew T. Posner, Vinita Mittal, David R. Gray, and Pearl V. John, "Taking local optics outreach abroad for IYL 2015: administrative and logistical challenges and strategies," Proc. SPIE 9946, Optics Education and Outreach IV, 99460F (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 31, 2016; Published: 27 September 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237442.
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