OP-TEC hosted an International Year of Light celebration at the annual “Waco Wonderland” festival in collaboration with the City of Waco, Texas, Texas State Technical College, and Baylor University. The City of Waco provided a large covered outdoor exhibit area where OP-TEC, TSTC, and Baylor provided photonics education information, demonstrations, and promotional items targeted to families and children who attended the evening event.
The outreach materials included orange plastic yo-yos with blinking LED lights, imprinted with the logos of OP-TEC and the Optical Society’s Optics4Kids; logo diffraction glasses and fiber optic wands. OP-TEC also sponsored a holiday laser light show grand finale at the festival that was presented by Prismatic Magic on a giant inflatable screen right before the Polar Express movie was shown. Credit was given in the laser light show to OSA, SPIE, NSF, OP-TEC, TSTC, and Baylor University and in Powerpoint slides shown before the movie with “What is it?” photonics images and information about the photonics education programs at TSTC and Baylor.
You can see event marketing pieces, photos, and a video clip of part of the laser light show on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OPTECenter. The IYL event was very positively received by the community; as a result, there are several hundred more young people who have been introduced to optics and photonics technology and careers!