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Félicie Albert

Taking chances on a new experiences has yielded multiple rewards for Félicie Albert, Ph.D., including a new title as 2022 Distinguished Alumna of the Year from CREOL, the College of Optics and Photonics.

The French-born physicist’s first encounter with risk took place at the Ecole Centrale de Marseille of Marseille, France, where she was finishing undergraduate studies. An exchange program offered a chance to study in the U.S. with some of the finest optics professors.

“I struggled with school when I first arrived at UCF (in 2002),” said Albert. “I couldn’t speak English very well and all of my classes were in this brand-new language. Regardless, I was still enamored with the course material. My professors inspired me deeply from the very start.”

Albert’s original intent was to study and research astronomy. Her exposure to laser-specific sciences in CREOL changed her goals entirely.

“Building lasers is hands-on and very rewarding,” said Albert. “Learning about what these lasers could then be applied to after the building process is what really got me hooked in the field.”

In 2004, Albert graduated with her master’s degree in optics and took with her a newfound passion for lasers upon returning home to France.

Albert hasn’t spent an idle moment since graduating with a doctorate degree from Ecole Polytechnique.

Now serving as the deputy director for the Center for High Energy Density Sciences and Jupiter Laser Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, Albert recollects just how fruitful her career has been.

“I’ve been with Livermore for the last fourteen years and have loved every moment of it,” said Albert. “Every day looks different and brings with it unique problems to solve. It’s a challenging and rewarding place to be a part of.”

In addition to 2022 Distinguished Alumna, Albert has received the Katherine E. Weimer Award from the American Physical Society, a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), and was recently named a fellow after a nomination from the APS Division of Plasma Physics. She is also the current chair of LaserNetUS, a network of high intensity laser facilities across America, of which UCF recently became a member.

“It is a true honor to receive this title,” said Albert. “This is the place where everything truly started for me, so it is nice to see it come full circle.”