Friday, September 30, 2016

P. Jankovska: How far can one get with Officers Travel Grant?

      How far can one get with Officers Travel Grant (OTG)? In my case, from Riga to California, Arizona and Nevada. But let's start with business and then talk about pleasure. 
International conference SPIE "Optics + Photonics 2016" gathered around 1400 people in the heart of San Diego. Convention center and Mariot Hotel both were next to the sea, so even while you are going to Poster Sessions, Lectures, Talks, Workshops, Job Fair, Exhibitions or Evening events you still can feel the nice warm ocean breeze.

All the participants of the Leadership workshop 2016. Find Latvian girls in the first row.
       First day was before the actual conference started and it was dedicated only for OTG winners. This was Leadership Workshop that was truly inspiring and really useful. And I’m so thankful to SPIE for this opportunity to see Jean-luc Doumont in person and to hear what he has to say about leadership. We had so many interesting discussions and even trainings on how to get what we want. But in the lunch I had not only wonderful conversation with a girl who actually builds her own telescopes and uses them for military needs, but also the honor to sit next to the CEO of SPIE Eugene G. Arthurs and to have meaningful talk about how he got where he is now and science in Latvia.
In the next days happened so many things that I can’t remember what happened then so I will just make list of my TOP 11 moments in random order.
Dumster Optics - how to make outreach using things under $2, this was just great, I have a book about this and a bag full with little useful thingies;

Workshop on Quallity Lightning Kit that we have got in our chapter. We helped to develop this kit so it could be used for commercial needs in Spanish speaking countries while we learnt how to use it. And I can say that it is really great for school projects.
Problem based learning for teachers. This was really useful for me as a new teacher, I also have a book for this one if someone is interested in;
Absolutely wonderful people from around the globe that I met. Some of them even promised to come to the conference DOC next year. *Finger crossed*. An the conversations that we had about life in their home countries, politics, religion and life in general;

Optics Outreach Games - well, our game was just for fun,

but the thing that others were showing - wow - lego microscope, selfmade microscopes, home made spectrometrs, how 3D movies are made and so on. This was really busy and fun evening. If you want to see what others had - here is a link.

Chapter Posster Session - was great -  the networking, the new ideas and the people in general. At the end even our poster was taken hostage - what party is that if no one is taken hostage? And SPIE president is sending us his best regards for all our ideas ans plans - he really liked them. So we are on the right track;
Margaritas and Mexican food - just to die for;
Evening events with fancy food and wine;
Day at the beach;

Climate in San Diego mm, like the most perfect weather ever +26 -28 C  degrees in the day and +22 C in the night;
Helicopter show for me and Tatjana on our last day.

Actually, all of this was pleasure for me.
But before this week we (me, Tatjana and Karola) managed to visit San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon (with wonderful sunrise),

 Las Vegas

 and Los Angelos in 6 days.

In San Francisco I managed to live without my luggage for 3 days, but luckily I got it back. In Las Vegas for some reason we were a day earlier and we couldn’t figure out how did we manage to do that. Anyway, this was one of the greatest adventures of my life. I’m thankful to SPIE, UL SPIE and my road mates - Karola and Tatjana for this opportunity.

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