Jessica DeGroote Nelson
Director of Technology and Strategy
Optimax Systems, Inc.

November 2019

Alumni Focus

Jessica DeGroote Nelson is Director of Technology and Strategy at Optimax Systems, Inc., a Rochester area optical components manufacturer. She joined Optimax in 2007 after graduating from the University of Rochester's Institute of Optics with a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in optics. She earned an MBA degree from the Simon School at the University of Rochester and also teaches as an adjunct professor at the Institute of Optics. Dr. Nelson's graduate research on magnetorheological finishing was carried out at LLE, where she was supported by a Frank J. Horton fellowship from 2003 to 2007. Her thesis supervisor was the late Dr. Stephen D. Jacobs.

At Optimax, Jessica has won several Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards from NASA and the Department of Defense and is leading the research on these initiatives. Jessica is also an active member and presenter with the Optical Society of America (OSA), SPIE, American Ceramic Society (ACerS), and the American Society of Precision Engineers (ASPE). She is also active in the local section of the Optical Society of America–Rochester Section where she has served as president and currently leads outreach activities. She is also currently serving as an associate editor for SPIE's Optical Engineering publication and an editor of their Tutorial Text series. In addition, she was the chair of several recent conferences including SPIE Optifab, OSA's Optical Fabrication, and Testing and OSA's Freeform.