Employee Spotlight: Imaging Software Engineer Grace Annese

Embarking on a career path that aligns with one’s passions can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. In the case of Grace Annese, her journey from astrophysics and film studies to imaging science highlights the power of following one’s interests and making meaningful contributions in the field. Circle Optics welcomes Grace Annese, our most recent hire as Imaging Software Engineer.  

Annese began her academic journey at the University of Pittsburgh, initially pursuing astrophysics and film studies. However, due to personal reasons and a desire to be closer to home, she made the decision to return to Rochester, New York. It was here that she discovered the Motion Picture Science program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, a unique blend of engineering and filmmaking. Interestingly, she found herself more drawn to the engineering and imaging science aspects of the program, ultimately shaping her career trajectory.  

During her academic pursuits, Annese had the opportunity to hear our Chief Research Officer Andy Kurtz, as guest lecturer in one of her courses. This encounter provided her with valuable insights into optics and further fueled her passion for the field. 

After completing her studies, Annese embarked on a professional journey that showcased her versatility and desire to work on technology with a positive impact.  She started her career at Portrait Displays, where she focused on color science and research. However, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted her to explore new avenues, leading her to join a startup called Scanwell Health. This innovative company aimed to develop at-home diagnostic tests using smartphones 

startup Culture & Impact

 Annese discovered that she prefers the company culture of startups. She experiences them as more collaborative, where individuals have the opportunity to contribute beyond their designated roles. This freedom to make a broader impact and the people-centric culture here at Circle Optics appealed to Annese. 

Proud Accomplishments & Future Vision

 Annese’s journey has been filled with accomplishments she holds dear. Firstly, being able to build a successful career in Rochester, pursuing her passions and utilizing her academic background, has been immensely gratifying. Annese acknowledges the privilege of being able to find fulfillment in her work while staying close to family in a town she loves. 

In terms of her professional contributions, Grace played an integral role in the development of innovative at-home diagnostic tests. She took pride in leveraging her skills to make a positive impact during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Looking to the future, Annese envisions great potential in optics and 360-degree imaging. With the growing tech space and demand for immersive experiences, she sees endless possibilities for applications such as virtual production and virtual reality. Annese is excited to be part of the capture side of these technologies, emphasizing the importance of real-world imagery and photography alongside computer-generated images. 

Passion for People & Advice for Success

Beyond her technical tasks, Annese’s true passion lies in improving people’s lives. She finds immense joy in being a helpful team member, creating products that benefit individuals and provide immersive experiences. She resonates with Circle Optics’ B-Corp belief that “technology has the power to enhance and further the human experience” 

When reflecting on the best advice she has received, Grace emphasizes the importance of balancing personal interests and financial stability. While doing what you love is essential, it is equally vital to ensure a sustainable livelihood. This advice resonates with her personal journey and is something she shares with students and aspiring professionals. 

Read more about Circle Optics’ company culture our dynamic team.

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