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CMP students host KOALA 2011

Friday December 9 2011

Centre for Micro-Photonics students have jointly hosted the KOALA 2011 optics students conference with the University of Melbourne and RMIT University. The KOALA conference series is the largest student conference on optics in Australia and New Zealand, bringing over 50 Honours, Masters and PhD students together for a week of networking and scientific presentations.

KOALA (Conference on Optics, Atoms and Laser Applications) is an annual student conference held by students, for students in any field of optics. The conference is open internationally to any Honours, Masters or PhD student but predominantly sees Australian and New Zealand students in attendance.

In 2011, Swinburne students Benjamin Cumming and Mark Turner teamed up with students from the University of Melbourne and RMIT university to host the 4th KOALA conference at Trinity College from 27 November to 2 December 2011. Attracting 57 students from 11 Australian and New Zealand universities, KOALA 2011 hosted 26 student oral presentations (30 minutes) and 27 poster presentations.

Two plenary speakers: A/Prof Joanne Etheridge from the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy and Prof. Keith Nugent from the ARC Centre for Coherent X-Ray Science were invited to present alongside John Dyson from Starfish Venture Capitalists who gave a seminar on the role of venture capitalists in entrepreneurship. Four students were also invited to present workshops on key areas of optics that feature throughout the conference so that all all attendees are able to better understand talks from outside their own research area.
The conference organizers also ran tours of local university laboratories, and held a tour of the Australian Synchrotron at Monash university.

Alongside the scientific program, the KOALA conference strongly encourages student networking by providing a number of social events throughout the week long conference. A welcome reception, trivia night and conference dinner were all provided at no cost to attendees, and an entire day dedicated to social activities so that students could forge new relationships in a geographically isolated scientific region.

Registration for the conference was a flat $150 for both local and travelling students and included all accommodation meal expenses alongside all social and conference expenses. Several travel grants were made available for those who had difficulty with airfares. This cheap registration is only available through the hard work of the conference organisers and from the generous sponsorship from numerous academic, commercial and other orgnisations.

The conference was a complete success and has already been passed on the Griffith University OSA student chapter for the next conference in 2012!



About 2/3 of the KOALA attendees at Trinity College


Poster Session


Lecture Theatre


Student Presentations


Passing of the KOALA to Griffith University


Social Day at Cape Schanck