Rutendo Jakachira, a second-year Ph.D. student in Brown University’s Department of Physics, has received an inaugural Optica Foundation Amplify Scholarship. Jakachira was one of only fifteen students selected from around the world for the award, intended to “support Black students and their passion for light science.”

Jakachira will use the funds to continue working on a project with considerable implications for people of color around the world. For years it has been known that patients with darker skin receive less accurate blood oxygen measurements using pulse oximeters than those with lighter skin. Jakachira, in conjunction with Brown University Professor of Engineering Kimani C. Toussaint, is working to create a non-invasive method of obtaining accurate blood oxygen readings from people with darker skin.