The IEEE Photonics Society Summer Topicals Meeting Series 2022 (IEE SUM 2022) which was held on the 11th to 13th of July 2022 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was one for the books! I was extremely honored to have received the IEEE Women in Photonics Travel Grant to attend the esteemed conference with like-minded people. This year’s theme included an array of interesting topics such as Portable Ultra Stable Frequency Sources and Applications, Reconfigurable Optics and Photonics, Space Division Multiplexing, Silicon-Integrated Mid-Infrared Photonics, Semiconductor Quantum Light Sources and their Applications, Terahertz Imaging: Progress, Challenges, and Applications, and Ultra-wideband Optical Fiber Communication Systems. Participants of the conference were truly excited as this was the first physical conference conducted after two years of pandemic. Together with my fellow IEEE women travel grantees, we had a great networking session with other speakers attending the IEEE SUM 2022 during the Sunday evening social and welcome reception. Contacts were exchanged, research areas of interest were shared and potential collaboration in the near future were discussed in the talks too! Not to mention, the deliverance speech from the keynote and invited speakers sparked some inspiration amongst the attendees.  

Photo session with other women travel grant recipients and general chair of IEEE SUM2022, Dr. Cristian Antonelli. Photo credit: IEEE Photonics Society. 

During the SUM 2022, I had also registered for the mentor-mentee matching program. The mentor-mentee matching program aimed to pair students and professionals working in the same area to discuss and exchange ideas. Samira and I were lucky to have Dr. Fabio Pezolli from Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Italy, as our mentor. He was kind enough to share his insightful knowledge and career experiences. Dr. Pezolli chronicled his research journey and experiences especially in the field of group II-V semiconductors. The sharing session from Dr. Pezolli was a motivating and inspiring one. He also shared the importance of striking a balance between work/career and family/personal life. I was so grateful for the great piece of advice from Dr. Pezolli and hoped to keep in touch and learn from him in the near future. 

Mentor-mentee match session with our mentor, Dr. Fabio Pezolli from Universit degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Italy. Photo credit: IEEE Photonics Society 

Attending the IEEE SUM 2022 will remain a fond and unforgettable memory. I did not only have the opportunity to meet new friends and gain new knowledge during the conference, but I also managed to try out some local Mexican street food and enjoyed the panoramic beach view with the great weather in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Once again, thank you IEEE Photonics Society for the golden opportunity and hope to see everyone in IEEE SUM next year! 

Making new friends in IEEE SUM2022. From left to right: Joshua Uduagbomen, Neethu, Wenting Yi and me.