Optics and Photonics Education Scholarships are available to students located anywhere
in the world, in high school, undergraduate and graduate programs, who are studying
in a related field of optics and photonics. The award supports students’ cost of tuition,
books, and/or research activities as they pursue their educational and career goals
in optics and photonics, which is the study of the fundamental properties of light
and harnessing them in practical applications.
“Many qualified applicants from all over the world in the field of optics, most of
whom are Ph.D. candidates, worked really hard and presented their best selves to the
committee because they wish to be able to contribute further toward optics,” said
Liu. “I am fortunate enough to be one of those recognized, thanks to my great faculty
advisor at IWU, (B. Charles and Joyce Eichhorn Ames Professor of Physics) Gabe Spalding.”
Liu is also a 2019 Eckley Scholar. Students selected for the Robert S. and Nell B. Eckley Scholars and Artists Program work on campus over the summer as scholars and artists under the supervision of a
faculty member. His project, titled “Quantum State Separation and Demonstration of
High-Dimensional Entanglement,” is in collaboration with Spalding. As part of his
research, Liu is spending a portion of the summer in Scotland conducting optical quantum
sensing research at the University of Glasgow. At Illinois Wesleyan, Liu has developed
an extensive understanding of optics.
“I work with Dr. Spalding on single photon quantum optics research, and he has given
me countless valuable suggestions and honest guidance,” Liu said. “Dr. Spalding also
connected me with IWU alumni in optics, who also helped me with my research efforts.
Last winter, he encouraged me to apply for the SPIE scholarship. Knowing how much
competition I would face, I was not confident that I would win. However, Dr. Spalding
supported me throughout the application process and wrote letters of recommendation
along with (Professor of Physics) Dr. Narendra Jaggi, which were essential to my recognition."
Liu said he is eager to continue researching and learning during his final two years
at Illinois Wesleyan.
“With the recognition from SPIE, I can do optics research with more curiosity and