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Photon Camp 2020

Due to the continuing restrictions caused by Covid-19 we will not be holding Photon Camp during the Summer of 2021. Instead, we will offer tours of the institute and some of its labs in the fall when restrictions are lifted. Please contact Dustin Newman at for more information.

The Photon Camp is a free, one-week program where rising high school juniors and seniors can explore the growing field of optics and optical engineering. Students spend the week attending faculty lectures, visiting local optics industry sites, and working in the Institute of Optics laboratories. Photon Camp is geared towards rising juniors and seniors with a strong background in math and physics. As the level of instruction at Photon Camp is higher than the typical high school classroom, exceptions will not be made to this policy.

“Photon Camp was an excellent opportunity to gain firsthand college experience. There’s more to optics than most people realize!”
Danielle, Photon Camp alum

Note: Photon Camp is geared toward local area students. Housing is not provided.

Capstone Projects

The students will present capstone projects that were developed during Photon Camp. Parents, friends, teachers, etc., are invited and encouraged to attend this event. Past capstone projects have included:

  • Thermal Imaging
  • Optical Communication
  • Digital versus Analog Imaging
  • Solar Energy
  • Cell phone Camera versus Digital SLR
  • Illumination/Fluorescence

Past Lab Experiments and Demos

  • HeNe, CO2, and Nd:YAG Lasers
  • Fiber Splicing
  • Holography
  • Spectroscopy
  • Interferometry
  • Pinhole Camera
  • H-alpha Telescope

The Application Process

*Photon Camp 2021 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.*

Space is limited and admissions are "rolling" (camp slots will be filled as qualified applicants apply).

  • Review How to attend Photon Camp [pdf]
  • Complete the downloadable application [pdf]
  • Create a personal statement of approximately 300 words or less describing your interests and future ambitions
  • Ask a teacher for a letter of recommendation (math or science teacher preferred)
  • Order your transcript from your school
  • Submit the following documents to Dustin Newman:
    • Application
    • Permissions form
    • Personal statement
    • Letter of recommendation
    • Transcript

Documents may be submitted electronically or by mail. Submit documents electronically to or via U.S. mail to:

Dustin Newman
The Institute of Optics
University of Rochester
PO Box 270186
Rochester, NY 14627

Note: If submitting an application via email, please do not submit photos of the documents. They must be submitted in PDF format. Non-PDF applications or illegible PDF submissions will not be considered.

Deadline for Applications

*Photon Camp 2021 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.*