I hold a MS in Radiological Science, from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
Where do you work?
I am a Laser Safety Officer at M.I.T. – Cambridge, MA
• 1984: Began career in the Radiation Protection Program at MIT
• 1995: Became one of the Laser Safety Officers (LSO) on campus
• 1997: Accepted an active role as LSO at MIT- Lincoln Laboratory
• 2009: Certified Laser Safety Officer
Becoming an LSO and CLSO
What are some of the challenges of today’s LSO?
The number of Class 3b and 4 lasers has increased significantly over the last ten years. The challenges surrounding the technology, risk assessments, hazard evaluations, and classifications were all becoming more complex. This is what heightened my interest in becoming a certified Laser Safety Officer, and I attended my first laser safety workshop run by Ken Barat at Sandia National Laboratory. It was very helpful and exciting to learn about the laser safety work in which others were engaged.
The role of the LSO is full of a variety of challenges every day. I am involved in the design of many Class 4 lasers and laser facilities in which lasers are used in cutting-edge research (air and missile defense, communications, space control, tactical and homeland security and biological/neurological).
The greatest challenge of today’s LSO is the development of new technologies pushing the boundaries of PPE, computational methods for hazard analysis, and in particular, high power small portable laser systems.
How has becoming certified helped/benefited you in your career?
Since becoming a certified laser safety officer in 2009, I am now a member of the ANSI standards committee for Z136.8. This has provided numerous opportunities to meet new and experienced LSOs from many other institutions around the country, and to share stories, insight, and new ideas of laser safety implementation. The most rewarding aspect is the honor to meet these pioneers in laser safety, and making some long-lasting friendships along the way.