Judy Donnelly

Professor Emeritus

judy donnelly profile pictureEducation:
B.S., Tufts University

M.S., University of Connecticut

Dates of Service at the College:

Positions Held:
Professor of Laser and Fiber Optic Technology

Program Coordinator, Laser and Fiber Optic Technology


Originally hired by what was then the Thames Valley Technical College, Donelly is known internationally for her pioneering work in optics education and problem-based learning. She developed TRCC’s Laser and Fiber Optic Technology (LFOT) Associate Degree program in 1997 and served as Program Coordinator and instructor until her retirement in 2014. With NSF and state funding, she developed the College’s laboratories for optics, lasers, and light-wave communications. She has facilitated the integration of physics, specifically optics, into K-12 school curricula. She is the principle author of the Dumpster Optics lessons, low cost hands-on optics activities, developed with SPIE, and author of more than 30 papers on optics/photonics education.

As co-principle investigator on the three NSF-funded PHOTON projects granted to the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), she created a wealth of field-tested instructional materials for teaching optics/photonics K – 16. As co-PI, she worked with industries and research universities to create twenty online multimedia “Challenges” (case studies).

Donnelly received the Educator Award from SPIE (2003) and the Esther Hoffman Beller Medal for outstanding contributions to optical science and engineering education from OSA (2012). She is a Senior Member and Fellow Member of both societies and has served on the education committees as well as the Thirty Meter Telescope Workforce, Education and Public Advisory Group. She has also served on program committees of international optics education conference including SPIE’s Education Conference and Education and Training in Optics and Photonics (ETOP).