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Rolande R. HodelDr. Saima Husaini received her Ph.D. in physics from the Graduate Center CUNY in May 2011. She currently works as an optical material researcher at LGS Innovations, a former subsidiary of Bell Labs, in New Jersey.

A native of Pakistan, Saima immigrated to the United States in 2001. During her first year as an undergraduate at Queens College CUNY, Saima enrolled in a diverse set of classes ranging from mathematics and physics, to music and history. Initially she believed her eventual major would be mathematics, however, it quickly become apparent to Saima that her interest in math could be combined with a newly found passion in physics. In 2004 she joined then assistant professor Vinod Menon’s  Laboratory of Nano and Micro Photonics (LanMP) where she worked first as an undergraduate researcher and then as a graduate student. Her graduate research involved studying various photonic structures embedded with composites consisting of metal nanoparticles and quantum dots. The main focus was to study the existence of Bloch – Plasmon polaritons and enhancing two-photon absorption in one-dimensional metal-nanocomposite photonic crystals. During this time, Saima published 4 papers, attended conferences, taught a variety of undergraduate courses and established the first Optical Society of America chapter in New York City.

In 2011, Saima won the competitive National Research Council (NRC) fellowship and completed her postdoctoral work at the Air Force Research Laboratories at Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) in Dayton Ohio. Her postdoctoral research focused on the development of broadband graphene-based saturable absorbers to modelock vertically-external-cavity-surface-emitting-lasers (VECSELs) in the near-to-mid infrared regime. Other projects during this time involved studying novel bio-compatible graphene-based optical limiters as well as development of MBE grown antimony-based wire grid polarizers.  Following her postdoctoral fellowship, she worked as a research engineer at WPAFB before accepting a position at LGS Innovations in New Jersey as an optical material researcher in 2015. She has and is currently involved in projects ranging from graphene-based sensors; the study of rare-earth doped materials as applicable to development of amplifiers and laser sources as well as laser communications.

The hallmark of Saima’s studies at the City University of New York, from the wonderfully diverse student population she encountered as an undergraduate, to the hands-on and committed ethos of the doctoral faculty is best expressed in her own words: “Over my years at the Graduate School and Queens College Physics departments at CUNY I have found the faculty to be genuine, their research original and inspiring and their dedication unsurpassed. I truly believe that without the academically and socially nurturing environment at CUNY, I would not have gotten this far in my career nor been this happy with my academic and career experiences.”