With a vision for the future, Texas State Technical College (TSTC) Waco developed the nation's first Laser Electro-Optics Technology (LET) program in 1969.  Since that time, TSTC has continued to successfully train laser optics technicians for rewarding careers in the photonics industry and those industries enabled by photonics. 

In an effort to increase awareness of this growing field, TSTC Waco is partnering with the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education (OP-TEC) to offer a Summer Institute in optics and photonics and its associated photonics-enabled applications. TSTC Waco currently serves as an OP-TEC college partner specializing in photonics and nanotechnology.  OP-TEC is a National Science Foundation (NSF) National Center of Excellence headquartered in Waco.

TSTC’s Mission:
  • Increase the number of students in the Laser Electro-Optics and Nanotechnology programs at TSTC Waco.
  • Develop 4+2+2 career pathways for high school students in photonics-enabled technology education programs.
  • Increase the number of graduates in these programs and employ them in a photonics career field.

To learn more about TSTC Waco, please click here.

OP-TEC’s Mission:
  • Enhance optics and photonics education nationally.
  • Increase the number of photonics-enabled associate degree programs nationally.
  • Work with high schools and community and technical college faculty to increase the number of students entering the photonics-enabled programs.
  • Create high school-to-community college “pipelines” of highly qualified and strongly motivated students.
  • Increase the numbers of graduates from these programs in an effort to meet the urgent need for optics and photonics technicians.

To learn more about OP-TEC, please click here.

Participant Eligibility:

The Institute is open to teachers, counselors and students (grades 9-12). Students are selected based on an application.   Teachers and counselors must submit an application containing information on their current job position, experience and interest in photonics and photonics-enabled technology fields.  To view complete application details and instructions or to submit an application online, please click here.

Teacher & Counselor Credits:

Teachers and counselors completing the Institute will be eligible to receive continuing education credits.

The Summer Institute’s curriculum will provide participants with classroom lecture and valuable hands-on training in the photonics skills required in the photonics industry.  The curriculum will also cover basic laser and optics principles and their associated applications, career opportunities and educational program opportunities. 


For more information on the Agenda and Curriculum Components, please click here.
The purpose for the Summer Institute is to provide students, teachers and counselors the opportunity to learn more about:
  • the skills required to be successful in photonics-enabled careers;
  • the career choices and applications of the photonics industry; and, 
  • the educational opportunities available through TSTC’s LET and Nanotechnology programs.

In addition, the Institute provides the unique opportunity for students, teachers and counselors to collaborate and interact in classroom and laboratory environments.


May 27, 2014   10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - 1st Institute  FULL
June 17, 2014   10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - 2nd Institute  FULL
July 15, 2014   10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - 3rd Institute

Registration Fee:  None

There is no registration fee to attend the Institute.   Participants are responsible for any travel expenses to attend the Institute.


Lunch is provided by OP-TEC and TSTC Waco.


Applications are accepted via email, fax and mail or through the online application process.

Applications Deadline:

May 9, 2014 - 1st Institute
June 6, 2014 - 2nd Institute
July 3, 2014 - 3rd Institute

Click here to access complete application details and instructions.

Parent/Guardian Information for Student Applications: 

Please click here to view important information for parents and guardians of student applicants.

Click here to download an informational brochure (PDF) about the Summer Institute!

For more information, please contact:
John Pedrotti
Department Chair
Texas State Technical College
Laser Electro-Optics Technology (LET) Department
3801 Campus Drive
Waco, TX  76705
Phone:  254-867-3173
Fax:  254-867-3175