Welcome to the first issue for 2021 of IEEE Photonics Society News! I’m excited and privileged to be the new Editor-in-Chief, and, thanks to the diligent and enthusiastic contributions from our staff and volunteers, I think things are off to a great start! As I look back at what the Newsletter has been and forward to what it could be, the foremost thought on my mind is what you, the Photonics Society members, want to share and gain from this publication. So, as I begin my new tenure, I want to encourage you to reach out to us with your contributions, comments, and requests (ipsnewsletter@ieee.org). We’re here to listen and report!

After an unprecedented year, it’s worthwhile to reflect on the innovativeness, resilience, and passion of our members during 2020. In this issue, Photonics Society President Carmen Menoni and Executive Director Doug Razzano take a look at the Society’s various events and accomplishments of the past year. Zetian Mi and his conference co-chairs present their highlights from the first ever fully virtual IEEE Photonics Conference. Nicolas Fontaine and Fatima Garcia-Gunning guide us through some virtual lab tours, just one of the successful events at IPC and ECOC 2020. Finally, there are several highlights of past and ongoing events and initiatives—the PRISMA Conference for LGBTIQA+ people in science, technology, and innovation; the new Tyndall “Explorer” program; the Kyambogo University Chapter’s Photonics Week; the UK and Ireland Chapter’s HOPES webinar series; and offerings and insights of the Silicon Valley Women in Photonics Chapter.

Our always reliable, insightful, and thoroughly enjoyable mainstays of the Newsletter are also returning in 2021. A necessary evil for some and a refreshing diversion for others, office meetings are the topic of Daniel Renner’s piece in his ongoing Industry Engagement series. Vice President of Conferences Perry Shum answers a slew of insightful questions posed by Naznin Akter. Senta Jantzen takes us into the lives and labs of three more young researchers—Abhinav Sharma from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL), Germany; Naznin Akter from Florida International University; and Guowu Zhang from McGill University. And Chris Doerr provides us with some lighthearted lab fun with his crowd-pleasing cartoon. Additionally, Akhil Kallepalli, who is the new Associate Vice President of Young Professionals (YPs), kicks off his new series for and by Photonics Society YPs.

Finally, as I mentioned in the opening of this column, what is foremost on our minds at the Newsletter is what is on your minds. Not only do we want to hear about your news, events, and ideas, but we also want to know how best to serve you. My predecessor, Nick Fontaine, and I have had several conversations over the past several months about this, and we’ve included one here for your benefit. We hope this provides some transparency into the goings-on at the Newsletter, and we hope it inspires you to reach out to us. So please contact us, and please participate in the ongoing Newsletter survey and our other solicitations in the future. I’m looking forward to a great 2021 with you all!