Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): SPIE recognizes that diversity and inclusion drive innovation, excellence, and new knowledge. Bringing together people from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives makes us stronger and supports our mission. We offer a collaborate work environment and strive to create a culture of belonging for all our employees.


Internal initiatives for staff members

Book Club: SPIE just recently launched an EDI book club. This book club began as a way to encourage staff members to educate themselves regarding issues that are facing our world, right now. Josh Henry, who co-founded the book club with Laura Sharik, had this to say about why the group was formed, “As we all watch the world grapple with systemic racism and other issues, we felt that in order to start to make positive change in the world, both our personal lives and in our professional lives, it was important that we educate ourselves. This book club provides a safe space for our staff to discuss, learn and grow and hopefully pass this growth and compassion on to the people in our lives. It’s very difficult to make positive measurable change in a large community without first doing the work ourselves and that is what this book club hopes to accomplish.” Every other month the group will choose a book to discuss, that focuses on antiracism, gender equality, LGBTQ+ equality, religious and cultural equality, or equality for those who are differently abled. SPIE generously purchases all the books for each member of the club. SPIE believes in the importance of raising awareness and deepening our own understanding on issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion. This club is available to help support employees that are interested in educating themselves on what can be done to create a better world for everyone.

EDI Resources Page: SPIE’s EDI resources page on spie.org is populated with books, podcasts, movies, articles, activities and more, recommended by staff and the SPIE community. It is a place where SPIE volunteers, employees, constituents, and members can go to find and share resources. To view these lists, click here.

Equal Pay: Annually, SPIE reviews employees salaries to verify pay equity among all genders, ages and ethnic groups. This activity is part of our annual Affirmative Action Plan.

External initiatives for constituents

Stories of Pride: In June 2020, SPIE celebrated Pride Month by speaking with members of our community, to share their stories. Each week a new member was highlighted to talk about their experiences as an LGBTQ+ scientist, in the optics and photonics fields. They discussed who in their life, within the LGBTQ+ community had inspired them, how allies could actively support LGBTQ+ scientists and engineers and offered advice to LGBTQ+ scientists/engineers of the future. To view their stories, click on the following link.

SPIE.Online EDI Live Chats: In July 2020, SPIE began hosting monthly Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Live Chats with experts in the field on topics including race, gender, intersectionality, communication, and confidence. The sessions are held on the first Thursday of the month and are open to the public and recordings are sent to all registered attendees and hosted on our SPIE.Online archive for SPIE members to view any time. This series is part of our effort to educate, support, and inspire the optics and photonics community to work together to solve the challenges faced by our world.

Each session, host Meg All leads a discussion with the expert using audience-submitted questions and interactions from the chat. After the hour-long program, we host a 30-minute networking session for those who’d like to continue the conversation in a Zoom breakout rooms. Our hope is that by holding these events, we encourage safe, supportive environments where learning and innovation thrive. For more information on SPIE’s commitment to EDI including other resources, please go here.

Family Care Grants: SPIE believes that parents and care givers should have an equal opportunity in sharing their research and participating in conferences and symposia. Family Care Grants are designed to supplement caregiving costs incurred by SPIE Members who are registered to attend a SPIE meeting, either in-person or virtually. Grants cover caregiving expenses (at home or on site) for children under the age of 13 or dependent care if you are a care giver. The maximum grant amount for in-person meetings is $500 and the maximum grant amount for attending an SPIE Digital Forum is $250.

Women in Optics: SPIE launched its Women in Optics program in 1998. This program has been helping build and facilitate career opportunities for women in the field of optics. It provides women with the chance to network with other women in their field, encourages professional growth and community support. To follow what’s happening go to, @WomenInOptics.

SPIE is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. SPIE provides equal employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, color, age, religion, protected veteran or disability status, or genetic information.