Reaching audiences big and small: Holistic approach to optics outreach at the Wyant College of Optical Sciences

Emily Finan, Hillary Mathis, Kali Gagne, Kira Purvin, Mike Nofziger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Wyant College of Optical Sciences (OSC) at The University of Arizona participates in a variety of outreach activities in all levels of the education system and the Tucson community at-large, reaching thousands of students each year. We have created immersive workshops including "D.I.Y. Optics"and "CSI: Optics-Optical Forensics". For large audiences, we emphasize "pocket optics", cost-effective giveaways such as pixel magnifiers, the Pepper's ghost illusion, and Fresnel lenses. New resources and lesson plans are centralized on an online hub, which started as a UA/NASA Space Grant project in 2018 and now facilitates instructor training and acts as an on-demand resource for troubleshooting demos in the field. We share successes and lessons learned from our outreach events, culminating in 10th Annual Laser Fun Day in March 2020, the flagship student-led event supported by the Student Optics Chapter (SOCk) and Women in Optics (WiO).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOptics Education and Outreach VI
EditorsG. Groot Gregory, Anne-Sophie Poulin-Girard
ISBN (Electronic)9781510637665
StatePublished - 2020
EventOptics Education and Outreach VI 2020 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Aug 24 2020Sep 4 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceOptics Education and Outreach VI 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online


  • D.I.Y.
  • Education
  • Optical science
  • Optics
  • Outreach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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