Optics “Cheerleader” Finds Students a Path to Greatness

By: Graduate Studies on

Peter J. Delfyett, PhDPeter J. Delfyett, PhD, is a University Trustee Chair and Professor of Optics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Physics. He also serves as president of the National Society of Black Physicists, which promotes the professional development of African American physicists within the international science community and in society.

For the large research group he oversees, Dr. Delfyett tries to instill a sense of belonging, build confidence and be supportive, as well as set high expectations of the student. He ensures his students feel they are integral in the success of the research group and that their contributions are significant to the overall knowledge of science and engineering communities. Dr. Delfyett regularly acts as the “group cheerleader,” with the conviction that “if the mentor doesn’t believe in the student’s capability (i.e., cheering the student on) it is difficult for the student to believe in their own potential for greatness.” His research group is well known for its high quality, ground-breaking research as well as its unique strategies for collaboration and networking.

Dr. Delfyett received his BE degree from The City College of New York, his MS degree from The University of Rochester, and his PhD from the City University of New York.  After receiving his doctorate in 1988, Dr. Delfyett joined the technical staff at Bell Communication Research, where he concentrated his efforts on generating ultrafast high-power optical pulses from semiconductor diode lasers.

In 2013, Dr. Delfyett received the Award for Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral Students. In 2001, he won the Pegasus Professor Award, the highest honor the university gives to a faculty member. Dr. Delfyett currently serves as editor in chief of the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics and associate editor of IEEE Photonics Technology Letters. He has published more than 400 articles and been awarded 35 U.S. patents.

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