Irvine Valley College (IVC) has been awarded its first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, a three-year Advanced Technological Education (ATE) award of $190,000 to fund the IVC Photonics Initiative. The primary focus of the Initiative is on preparing students for employment in photonics, a rapidly growing field that covers the science and engineering of devices that interact with light. In addition, instructors will work with the local business and education community, providing on-site demonstrations to increase awareness of the diverse opportunities in the field of photonics.
New courses developed and taught at IVC are based on the industry-guided photonics curricula written by OP-TEC, the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education. Prof. Roy McCord and Dr. Brian Monacelli, Co-Principal Investigators of the IVC grant, are leading hands-on, laboratory-driven classes utilizing state-of-the-art industrial equipment. The IVC Photonics Initiative team is collaborating with regional companies that manufacture advanced photonics devices or use photonics in engineering applications that range from laser surgery to homeland security. The Initiative is designed to create a career path to employment via internships and industry-guided coursework. Photonics courses are being taught at IVC’s Advanced Technology Education Park in Tustin.