July 28, 2023, Orlando, FL — From lasers to self-driving cars, video game displays, and medical imaging, high school students are spending the week at UCF’s College of Optics and Photonics getting hands-on experience in the field. It’s all part of their Laser and Photonics Summer Camp.
Dean of the college David Hagan said optics and photonics are just about everywhere you look. “If people are watching TV, they’re looking at a photonic device, a display, when you’re doing an internet search, that’s all going over the fiberoptic network and we have a very strong program here in fiberoptics,” he said.
He said companies are desperate to hire people in the field. “There’s so many jobs. Companies are crying out basically saying they could double their business if they could just hire more employees,” he said. That’s where the college’s summer camp comes in.
Lukas Kondis came all the way from California to participate. “Prior to this, I knew basically nothing about optics and photonics and now I’m getting exposed to it,” Kondis said. Lukas’ mom, and UCF alumnus from the College of Optics and Photonics, Ikuko Kondis, said that’s exactly why she wanted him to attend. “I went to this school, I want my son to get exposed to the field of optics, because I think it’s a really great field to get into for the future,” she said.
We caught up with another alum, Raluca Negres, who also has her son participating and now works as a staff scientist in California. “I’m not sure he’s going to do exactly what I did, but I thought exposure is very important,” she said. “My mind is still open, but this is really interesting,” she said.
Graduates from the college have ended up working for companies like Apple, Google, and Meta.