Ben Zwickl was an invited speaker at the 46th Annual APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics (DAMOP) conference was held June 8-12, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. His talk “Preparing students for research excellence in optics and photonics” was part of a special session on “Turning Physics Students into Physicists.”[ http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DAMOP15/Session/N2] The education-focused session also brought in leading physics education researchers: Carl Wieman (Stanford), Heather Lewandowski (CU-Boulder/JILA), and David Jones (University of British Columbia). The session was co-sponsored by the APS Forum on Education with the hope of bringing more attention to education issues at a conference traditionally focused on scientific research. Judging by the 200+ attendees and the numerous questions, the session was a success. Thank you, DAMOP organizers, for the opportunity to present our Photonics Careers Project research!