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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Arunava Roy received a grant from SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, to host an exhibit titled “Light (Pollution) in the Mountains.” SPIE awards more than $80,000 annually to organizations with optics- and photonics-related educational outreach programs, and YHC was among the 13 winners in the second round of grants for 2019.  

Approximately 300 students from Iotla Valley Elementary School in Franklin, North Carolina, Fairview Elementary School in Demorest, Georgia, Tadmore Elementary School in Gainesville, Georgia, and Ranger School in Murphy, North Carolina, attended the exhibit and participated in hands-on activities. Students mixed color lenses, used reflection with pieces of glass, and simulated a disorientating glare as they learned how light affects human life. They also learned how sea turtle hatchlings are affected by light pollution and discussed ways to solve this problem.

“The activities piqued the students’ natural curiosity in optics by allowing them to interact with light in a way they had probably not experienced before,” said Dr. Roy. “The topic of light appeals to all grade levels, and younger kids are no exception. Our sense of sight is probably what we rely on the most to understand the world around us. Students left this exhibit with their young minds already seeing in a different light. Many thanks to SPIE and Young Harris College for helping to make this event successful.”

With further help from the SPIE grant, YHC students in the newly formed Astronomy Club are conducting an energy audit and creating a light pollution map of the YHC campus.

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit