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Grantees’ Reflections on IPC 2023 


The flagship event of the IEEE Photonics Society took place from November 12 to 16, 2023, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA. This pioneering IEEE Photonics Conference (IPC 2023) covered various technical issues within the field of photonics, addressing the diverse interests of its participants. Additionally, topics such as quantum technology and quantum optics were discussed. Attendees actively participated in events such as Plenary Sessions, Invited Talks, Panel Discussions, Tutorial Sessions, and Special Symposia, actively engaging with industry professionals to gain valuable insights into the latest developments. The focus on the Photonics Industry added a new dimension to the event, providing participants with a unique networking opportunity while also assisting them in staying updated on the newest advances. With diverse themes, this conference offered guests a unique opportunity to personalize their experiences and contribute to shaping the future of photonics. Below, you can find the thoughts of our esteemed participants:

Sanjana Bhatia (Panjab University, India)

Sanjana Bhatia
Sanjana Bhatia (Researcher PhD Student at Panjab University)

“I am Sanjana Bhatia, a 4th-year Ph.D. scholar from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, with a research interest in exploring analytical and numerical solutions to nonlinear optical systems. My primary focus revolves around optical frequency combs, optical rogue waves, and other intriguing phenomena within the realm of nonlinear optics. The IEEE Photonics Conference 2023 provided an exceptional platform for me to showcase and discuss my recent research endeavors. 

At the conference, I had the privilege of presenting our recent work on novel dark solitons in a quadratic-cubic, ac-driven nonlinear waveguide. The poster session not only allowed me to exhibit my research but also fostered engaging interactions during the Q&A session. Notably, I engaged in a stimulating dialogue with esteemed professionals in the field, including Prof. Gabriella Bosco, Prof. Peter Munro, and Dr. Jamie Guggenheim. Their insightful questions and feedback not only validated my work but also opened up new perspectives and potential applications for my research.

Getting advice from Dr. René-Jean Essiambre during President’s reception
Getting advice from Dr. René-Jean Essiambre during the President’s reception

As a volunteer for the technical committee at the IEEE Photonics Conference, I had the opportunity to attend sessions beyond my research domain. This experience broadened my knowledge base, exposing me to diverse topics such as biomedical optics and quantum optics. Exploring these different facets of photonics provided me with valuable insights and enriched my understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the field. One of the highlights of the conference was the chance to listen to Dr. René-Jean Essiambre, the IPC president, share his experiences at Nokia Bell Labs and reflect on his Nobel speech for Arthur Ashkin in 2018. Hearing firsthand accounts from such accomplished individuals added a personal touch to the conference, leaving an indelible mark on my memory.

The IEEE Photonics Conference extended beyond the technical sessions, offering a range of experiences that enriched both my professional and personal growth. Engaging in the career fair and industry sessions provided valuable insights into potential opportunities and the current trends in the field. The conference also featured sessions focused on mental health awareness, emphasizing the well-being of researchers and professionals in the photonics community. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to converse with the AVP of IEEE Women in Photonics Prof. Deepa Venkitesh, gaining insights into the various initiatives undertaken by IEEE to empower young girls and women in the field.

Sanjana with other grantees and student peers at IPC2023 conference
Sanjana with Naresh Chand (former AVP Chapter Relations), other grantees and student peers at the IPC2023 conference

In conclusion, my experience at the IEEE Photonics Conference 2023 was truly transformative and I am extremely grateful to the IEEE Women in Photonics Initiative for providing me with the travel grant to be a part of it. From presenting my research and exploring diverse topics beyond my expertise to meeting new people in the community, the conference provided a holistic view of the ever-evolving field of photonics. The personal touch by the IEEE Photonics Society Staff, the networking opportunities, the immersive sessions, the beautiful venue in Disney Springs, and the delicious food made this conference an invaluable chapter in my academic journey, leaving me with lasting memories and a renewed enthusiasm for my research pursuits.”

Dipankar Sen (Texas A&M University)

Dipankar Sen (Graduate Research Assistant, Physics & Astronomy, Texas A&M University)
Dipankar Sen (Graduate Research Assistant, Physics & Astronomy, Texas A&M University)

“This was my first time attending the IEEE Photonics Conference, and the 18-hour drive to the conference venue proved to be worth it. The five days of the scientific journey at IPC were truly mesmerizing. There were plenty of technical talks on advanced imaging technologies for bioimaging, and I had the opportunity to discuss recent scientific advances with experts in my field of interest. In addition to attending the technical talks, my volunteering role gave me the chance to meet the amazing people behind the success of this grand event: the organizers and the support staff. IPC 2023 also provided the opportunity to reunite with old friends and make new ones. Visiting Disney World at the end of the conference with new friends was a bonus. I cannot wait to attend next year’s IPC in Rome!”

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Dipankar with other grantees and student peers at the IPC2023 conference

Olga Szewczyk (Wrocław University)

Olga Szewczyk (PhD Student, Research Assistant at Wroclaw University of Science and Technology)

I am Olga, a PhD student from Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Poland. Thanks to IEEE, I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s IPC Conference in Orlando, US. As a volunteer, I contributed to the conference organization, allowing me to not only connect with amazing people but also gain insights into the technical aspects of the event. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference sessions, along with events like the welcome reception, banquet, and President’s reception, providing ample networking opportunities. Participating in the mentorship program offered valuable perspectives from both academic and industrial viewpoints. A particularly noteworthy activity organized by IEEE Young Professionals was a workshop addressing mental health problems, a topic of great relevance in today’s context. However, the most memorable experience for me was the CREOL tour, where world-class scientists presented their research topics.

olga mentor
Olga and her mentor, Antonio Teixeira from PIC Advanced

Jiachi Ye (Florida University)

Jıachi Ye (PhD Student at University of Florida)

“At this year’s IEEE Photonics Conference, I was honored and delighted to serve as a volunteer, assisting at the registration desk and in the technical session rooms. My registration responsibilities included greeting attendees and distributing materials and badges. It was a pleasure to reconnect with individuals I had met at previous events and to contribute to ensuring their positive experiences. If given the opportunity, I look forward to volunteering again at the next event, hoping to continue both contributing to and learning from this vibrant community.”

Tasfia Kabir (Eindhoven University)

Tasfia Kabir (PhD Candidate at Eindhoven University of Technology)

“At the conference, I had the valuable opportunity to participate in various networking events, connecting with dynamic young professionals and inspiring women in engineering. As I navigated through the booths, engaging in meaningful conversations with representatives from renowned companies and esteemed universities, I gained insights into cutting-edge research and industry trends. The talks delivered during the conference were truly illuminating, shedding light on innovative ideas, and sparking discussions that fueled my passion for the field of Photonics. I particularly appreciated the application of IPC, which allowed us to stay on top of the schedule at all times.”

Sinan Genc (Abdullah Gül University)

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Sinan Genc (Abdullah Gül University) AVP Young Professionals

“First of all, after COVID-19, being united with all those people was undefinable. IPC 2023 was my third IPC and I had the chance to understand what IPC gives to me. Especially the mentor-mentee program which is a high-quality opportunity to receive advice on my career. I need to thank the organizers of this program. As usual for IPC, I got the chance to have discussions with professionals, join inspiring presentations, and get networking opportunities. Probably there may be another postdoctoral research position opportunity in the future, with a professor that I met during the conference. This is why I love IPC. The hackathon, quantum sessions, and lab tour to CREOL were other opportunities for the attendees. The one which I have to talk about was the Young Professionals’ session on mental health. Dr. Akhil Kallepalli’s presentation added value and increased awareness among the people at the luncheon. Last but not least, I am sure that I will be at the next year’s conference in Rome. Hope to meet all those amazing people again.”

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