American students will carry out scientific research in Russia


A year ago, ITMO University signed an agreement on partnership with the University of Rochester. According to the document, the director of the Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester professor Xi-Cheng Zhang became the scientific director of the ITMO University International Institute of Photonics and Optical Information Technology. He defines the Institute’s development strategy and coordinates the main directions of Institute’s scientific activities in the field of optical technologies.
 
In addition, the American and Russian universities have agreed on joint educational programs. As a result, in September 2014, two students from ITMO University attended studies at the University of Rochester to get a master's degree not only in Russia but also abroad. Summer School on Photonics, which is held for the first time, will be a test ground for future cooperation between universities. The program of a two-week stay of American students has been developed together with colleagues from the University of Rochester.
 
Visitors from the US will join the research activities which are conducted on the basis of three laboratories at the International Institute of Photonics and Optical Information Technology: Laboratory of Femtosecond Optics and Femtotechnologies, Quantum Center and Laboratory of Terahertz Biomedicine.
"For us a practical component of a two-week school is crucial,” Sergey Kozlov, the head of International Institute of Photonics and Optical Information Technology, said. “There is also a small lecture course, but it has a little humanitarian focus. We want to attract students to our research projects, some of whem we are carrying out together with colleagues from the University of Rochester. Students will be engaged in the experimental section, do some calculations under the supervision of laboratories employees. At the institute, we adhere to philosophy that students are our partners who invest in research projects and bring there something of their own. Therefore, the program had the emphasis on the development of practical skills rather than theoretical knowledge. We hope that we will be able to publish several articles by the results of these studies and attract our guests to scientific research."
As Elizaveta Buyanovskaya, the Photonics and Optical Information Technology Faculty assistant and the summer school’s curator,  noted, students, who came from the United States are bachelors of second and fourth years. Usually American universities do not have a serious motivation for scientific work in the first stage of learning. Career guidance takes place during the master's degree programs, when students already know exactly what they want to do.
"For our guests practice in the ITMO University laboratories will be the first experience of serious research work,” says the program curator. “The idea to hold a summer school appeared in September 2014, so we had enough time to prepare. Our American colleagues and us managed to choose the most interesting projects and prepare students for the work. So, they got the articles to become familiar with research tasks and problems in advance. If the first Summer School on Photonics is successful, we will negotiate with the University of Rochester to increase the length of students’ stay in St. Petersburg."
Despite the intensive work in the laboratories, which will take considerable amount of time, American students will have the opportunity to explore the city. The school's program includes visits to cultural centers and includes an intensive course of the Russian language.
"Visit to St. Petersburg and Russia is a unique experience, especially, because the summer school’s program sounds promising. I am a second year student and fully engaged in learning, but not scientific activity, so I am looking forward to working in the laboratory. I hope that these two weeks at the ITMO University will affect my research interests, and, perhaps, I will carry out my master’s research in Russia,"  Kaya Williams, a second-year student of the Institute of Optics of the University of Rochester, summed up.