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CLC’s laser/photonics/optics program is one-of-a-kind in Illinois

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jan 30, 2018

The College of Lake County is the only college in Illinois to offer an associate degree and certificates in the laser/photonics/optics field. This fast-growing career harnesses the power of light for hundreds of applications, from medicine to airport security to laser light shows.

And after moving into the new Science and Engineering Building that opened last month at the Grayslake Campus, CLC now has the newest laboratory among 33 peer, two-year programs in the country, said Bill Kellerhals, program chair .

Photo of Heather SeidelThe state-of-the-art lab contains classroom space and includes two new lasers: a fiber laser cutting and welding system and a high-wattage laser donated by Wauconda-based Alliance Specialties and Laser Sales, Inc.

“The new equipment allows us to conduct more advanced experiments in several courses, and the new facility gives us more flexibility in class scheduling and lab access,” Kellerhals said.

The program previously was based in the Lake County High Schools Technology Campus in Grayslake. In 2011, the college began offering three certificates: laser/photonics/optics (16-credits); applied lasers (13 credits) and biophotonics (15 credits). After receiving a $900,000 federal grant from the National Science Foundation in 2012, CLC launched the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in 2013. Graduates are qualified for positions such as lab technician, system installer, troubleshooting/repair technician and marketing/sales representatives.

“CLC’s program and the new lab are both excellent,” said Heather Seidel (above), who earned a certificate and works as a lab technician for Domino Amjet, Inc., a Gurnee-based inkjet and laser printing company. “I developed skills that I am currently using on the job. The career is a good choice for women because it is growing fast, with endless opportunities that range from cosmetics, such as skin-care treatments, to engineering and medicine.” Seidel plans to earn an associate degree in the field and eventually find a biomedical-related laser career.

To learn about CLC’s laser, photonics and optics program, visit or contact Kellerhals at (847) 543-2616 or To discover more extraordinary things you might not know about CLC, visit throughout the year.