Outgoing Editor-in-Chief Ron Driggers shares his parting thoughts and hopes for the Applied Optics community in the coming year.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

Happy holidays, all y’all! For those of you who don’t speak “southern,” y’all means a few people. All y’all means more than a few people and could even mean a lot of people. Anyway, I wish all y’all a very happy holiday season.

It is my last month as Editor of Applied Optics. It is hard to believe that it has been 6 years. I was thinking today that it is even harder to believe that a pandemic has shut down many of our activities in 2020. Like many others, I am ready to see this year pass and hope that 2021 is a much better year, with vaccines that get the job done and businesses that become healthy again. Along these lines, I have some parting thoughts to share in this final editorial.

My 2021 wish for you and me: I hope to see the smiling faces of graduate students in the classroom, talking in person without masks and without any worry about becoming infected. I hope to see students in the laboratory, working together without having to social distance. I hope to travel to a few conferences where I can listen, in person, to someone excited about the work they performed. I would like to wander the conference halls and bump into people that I know and catch up with what they are doing. I hope to go to an OSA leadership meeting and discuss important issues that affect our community and be able to see the expressions on the other participants’ faces to tell whether they are passionate about an issue. I never really liked going to funding agencies to pitch my ideas; but now I hope to go and sit face-to-face and would happily accept a rejection. I really want to go to a Christmas party this year, which is odd because I was the one that normally ducked out of crowded functions. More than anything, this coming year, I hope that we get to celebrate important accomplishments together, including graduations (like those of Dr. Robert Short and Dr. Steve Butrimas), successful dissertation defenses, promotions, weddings, engagements and new jobs.

I am thankful. I am thankful that the OSA Board of Editors and Publications Council, along with Joseph N. Mait, had confidence in me to be Editor of Applied Optics. I am very thankful for the OSA Publishing staff, a class act, well-oiled machine and caring group of folks who manage and produce all of the OSA journals. I want, in particular, to point out the Applied Optics staff who are my personal heroes. I would name them, but as a matter of modesty, they would just edit it out. They know who they are and I wish all of you knew them, too. I am thankful for all the Applied Optics volunteers (TEs, DEs, and other Editors). It is because of them that Applied Optics continues to improve in impact factor, time-to-publication and cited half-life. More importantly, it is because of these volunteers that the reputation of Applied Optics and its value to the community is anchored. Finally, I am thankful for Applied Optics. It was my journal when I came through graduate school. It provided me with interesting papers to read, citations for related work, a place to showcase my work, and a sense of belonging to the applied optics and imaging community. To this day, I feel the same way about Applied Optics. The journal is in great hands with Gisele Bennett as the incoming Editor-in-Chief and will continue to flourish.

I am not sad or melancholy. Unlike some national leaders, I am happy to be moving on. I have been an Editor-in-Chief for 11 years now, so I am excited about my next path. I want to play guitar in the nursing home and I am currently looking for one with low musical standards in Tucson! For those of you with good singing voices, please look me up when you are in Tucson and help me spread some cheer.

Best wishes,
Ron Driggers
Editor-in-Chief, Applied Optics

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