Meeting Minutes 10/19/2021

Location: Zoom

Meeting Called by: Pre-Optometry Club

Duration: 45 minutes

Guest Speaker: Christina LaChance, New England College of Optometry

Agenda:

  • Christina introduces herself and gives an overview of NECO
  • NECO is a smaller institution with incoming class size of 130, lab sizes of 20 and a wide diversity of students in each class
  • NECO is located in Boston, Christina gives many reasons for why Boston is an ideal place to be a student, including: academic opportunities, housing and public transportation 
  • NECO mission: give back to city of Boston, especially underprivileged areas
  • Curriculum is a combination of class, lab and patient care. Curriculum breakdown builds from lectures to complete patient care over 4 years. Specialized programs, elective options and residency are all options that can be added into the curriculum after the first couple semesters of general classes. 
  • Clinical education program separates NECO from other universities as it begins within the first semester to prepare students for real-world clinical experience. 
  • Research at NECO: areas including myopia, vision science, biomedical sciences, ocular disease, etc. Also offered is an OD/MS and OD/PhD programs that can be selected once admitted into the college. 
  • CAPA: center for academic and professional achievement contains 19+ organizations students can get involved in. 
  • Christina talks about prerequisites for undergrad, the application process on OptomCAS, OAT scores, shadowing and letters of recommendation. 
  • An overview of tuition and scholarship options is given. 90% of students receive some kind of financial aid. Scholarships are awarded at time of acceptance. 
  • Christina shared an inquiry form that can be filled out to receive emails about NECO information sessions: https://admissions.neco.edu/eventinquiryformfill 

BLOG POST #2: Job Shadowing

How-to Guide to In-Person Shadowing

Ah, shadowing. Sounds somewhat Peter Pan-esque, no? And maybe just as terrifying. Well, fear not, my fellow future optometrist! That is what we are here for at Pre-Optometry club. 

  1. Target smaller private practices. They are simply less likely than a hospital setting to care about COVID and other shadowing regulations – unfortunate, but true. Also try more rural offices, in nearby small towns like Delaware, Granville, Johnstown, etc. I feel like they are also less likely to get more students interested compared to, say, Nationwide Children’s downtown here or Wexner here on campus.
  2. Go to the schools themselves. Ask the admissions office of a prospective school to help you connect with doctors. Tell them you are interested in a super specific specialty (for me, I said vision therapy and pediatrics), and then emphasize how you would love to talk to an alum of that specific optometry school about their experience.
  3. Introducing yourself. When you call, say: “Hi, my name is ____, and I’m a pre-optometry student at OSU. I was wondering if I could talk to the doctor about shadowing them for at least a day?” Keep it short and sweet. As someone who has worked as a receptionist in an optometry office and was once on the receiving end of one of these calls, it is all about your tone. We can smell your fear. You must sound strong and confident – that is key. And then the receptionist will say something like, “oh, they’re with a patient right now but let me take your name and number and I’ll have them give you a call back.” And then 90% never will. So after a week, you call back and ask again. Prepare to be rejected. And that is okay. It’s not a big deal. Just go call someone else.
  4. Call, call, call. It’s seriously just a numbers game. That’s it. Call EVERY SINGLE OFFICE, starting with the more interesting looking ones, and then go from there. I kept a spreadsheet of all the places I contacted. It was so satisfying to be able to fill in the boxes as green for yes, gray for no, and yellow for in progress. 
    1. The first few calls you make may be terrifying, but it will undoubtedly get easier with practice. Email may sometimes work too, but calling just seems more professional and personable. It is harder to say no to a real, breathing person on the other end of the line than a few words on a screen. 

Other tips: 

Try to get a variety of different settings and modes of practice. Everyone practices a little differently, and it has been absolutely delightful to witness how doctors’ unique personalities and backgrounds all contribute to how they interact with patients and go about their day. I shadowed at a corporate office, several solo-owned private practices, and a couple of group practices as well. I also hit up a VA, two vision therapy centers, and a cataract and LASIK surgery center with an OD/MD type of arrangement. 

Take notes on everything. If you don’t feel comfortable carrying a little notebook with you, make sure to brain-dump all of your impressions and experiences the moment you get home.

Select the first few places you shadow wisely, since that is where your first impression will be made. Of course, while it’s good to shadow highly-rated, successful practices, it can be just as valuable to see how a not-so-great practice is run. 

When choosing practices, pay attention to the hours they are open. I have noticed an interesting trend: the longer the hours, the less successful the practice. A place with longer, weirder hours tends to have to work harder to get patients, but if a doctor is in higher demand, they can have more regular hours and fit people into their schedule however they want to. Also, make sure to check out the website, see how up to date it is. Although you can’t always judge a book by its cover or a frame by its brand or a physician by their website, it is generally a good indicator of how many resources and interest the doctor has in keeping up with the times. If a doctor won’t even update their website, why would they bother updating their technology or keep up with the latest research? 

Remember: You are smart and deserving of shadowing at every single one of these places. As with anything else, the way you view yourself is how other people learn to see you and treat you, so put yourself out there and present yourself as the capable and confident future doctor that you are. Keep your eyes on the prize (pun definitely intended) and be aggressive about chasing down these opportunities until every doctor in this town knows your name. 

Good luck, my fellow future optometrist! Shadowing is one of the easiest ways to boost your application, and setting it up is often the hardest part. Do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of our other wonderful exec board members if you have any questions! 

 

Elizabeth Svinkin

Meeting Minutes 10/13/2021

Location: Fry 235

Meeting Called by: Pre- Optometry Club

Guest Speaker: Dr. Delgado- Nixon 

Minutes taken by: Haley Schroeder

Agenda

  • Attendance was taken via QR code

Dr. Delgado- Nixon (delgado-nixon.1@osu.edu)

  • Discussed OSU’s I- DOC program (Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers)
  • She gave a wonderful presentation about how “Racism Affects All of of Us”, with a specific emphasis on how it affects the healthcare profession
  • She gave a great introduction about her identities and how it has affected her journey to a career teaching at The Ohio State University College of Optometry 
  • For example, we have to ask ourselves
    • How are we doing?
    • How do we hold space?
    • Consider your identities 
  • Dr. Delgado- Nixon proudly shared her identities, culture, and upbringing as a Hispanic and Native American, cis- gender woman
  • There was an emphasis that we are all equally valuable
  • She often starts meetings and gatherings reflecting on those who came before us

Franklin County Board of Health Declared Racism a Public Health Crisis in May of 2020

  • Racism causes higher rates of homelessness, health disparities, incarceration, poor education, and economic hardship 
  • Areas declared racism across Franklin County, Ohio
    • Westerville, The City of Columbus, Columbus Public Health, City of Whitewall, Franklin County Board of Commissioners, City of Upper Arlington
  • The club was educated on the fact that race was invented by scientists such as Linnaeus (1707- 1778) and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1795)
  • Older theories were debunked by the human genome project that further elaborated that there is no genetic variation between races 

Social Determinants of Health 

  • Social determinants of health can play a factor in citizen’s: 
    • safe affordable housing
    • living wages
    • quality education
    • transportation
    • availability of food
    • social connection and safety
    • job security 
  • We had a brief history lesson as well refreshing our understanding of The New Deal excluding Black Americans due to Jim Crow, including the physical environment and housing 
  • There are still patterns of disparity in today’s neighborhoods 

Cost to Education

  • The cost of education for tuition and fees for a four- year college has risen by 8 times from 1979- 2019
  • Loss of Pell Grants 
  • In 2016 states spent more on jails and prisons than colleges and universities 

QUESTIONS for Dr. Delgado- Nixon: 

How are these factors playing a role within Optometry? 

  • When asked this question, Dr. Delgado- Nixon elaborated on those who were under- corrected and uncorrected in which the primary factor was race/ ethnicity
  • Secondary factors included age, gender, annuals household income, education, insurance, type of refractive error (2008 National Health and Nutrition Survey)

How to apply to I-DOC? 

  • Club members shared their previous experience with the program and positive feedback! 
  • Consider applying for I-DOC for 2022!
  • Continue to check their website for updates on next year’s event dates and application! 

https://u.osu.edu/idoc/

What do you look for in an a competitive applicant?

  • Dr. Delgado- Nixon elaborated on how GPA and OAT scores are a factor
  • What she looks for is a well written essay and memorable story behind WHY Optometry besides the basics of the profession

How is The College of Optometry at Ohio State upholding inclusivity?

  • Buckeye Launch
    • Create a community to learn before classes start for teams 
  • Social Eyes
    • She takes about 8-9 students to do fun things to socialize and get to know each other and to have inclusivity for everyone! 
  • Faculty Training on Bias in the Workplace/ Classroom
    • There are more female optometrists and there can be more bias or micro-aggressions against women and the faculty undergo training on how to respond in these situations
  • Celebrating each other’s cultures!
    • For example, OSU College of Optometry Hispanic Day is coming up and they are planning a fiesta! 
  • Only College of Optometry that requires all of their students to rotate through a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC)
    • Involves free clinics for homeless people to provide care, compassion, and inclusivity for everyone

Eyes on Health- Realeyes Training!

Location: Starling-Loving M100

Meeting Called by: Members of Pre- Optometry, Eyes on Health, and current students in the college of optometry for Realeyes training!

Guest Speakers/ Teachers: Jeff Walline, Keo Kim

Agenda:

  • Attendance was taken via QR code
  • Instructional packets, videos, and demonstrations were conducted to complete training!

More Information

  • This is a great volunteer opportunity that over 1,000,000 students in 39,000+ classrooms have participated in since it first began in 2000!
  • Realeyes is a free classroom education program that presents age-appropriate curricula to students across the state, lowering barriers and providing access to information about eye and vision care.
  • This program allows interested students to give presentations regarding eye anatomy, eye safety, and eye disorders at various schools in Ohio!
  • This training allows Eyes on Health to do more community outreach, so it is not required but is highly recommended. 

If anyone would like to join, contact hansted.1@buckeyemail.osu.edu!

Meeting Minutes 10/5/2021

Location: Zoom

Meeting Called by: Pre-Optometry Club

Duration: 1 hour

Guest Speaker: Dr. Vakishan Nadarajah, Chicago College of Optometry- Midwestern University

Agenda:

  • Dr. Nadarajah gave a zoom presentation about the CCO- Midwestern University
  • History of COO was given, COO was accredited in 2020, being a newer university. 
  • Current class of 2025 profile was shared, a “Why Optometry” statement and an overview of the Arizona campus and its connection to COO. 
  • One Health initiative breaks down barriers between healthcare specialities, connecting optometrist to dentists, PCP, etc. This initiative is specific to Midwestern university and its offered programs. 
  • COO offers dorms to students- about 6% of all of Midwestern students utilize these as an alternative to apartments. There are also apartments on campus which students can use as well. 
  • Dr. Nadarajah does a virtual tour of the campus and its lay out, key buildings and labs, including the 3 proficiency rooms used for Mock Boards. 
  • Why COO: small class size, open door policy and all new technology are key points.
  • SEE program: summer eye experience program on the campus, spending 3 days of exposure to the school, its staff and current students. 
  • COO curriculum, overview of service opportunities, and the COO dual degree program.
  • The presentation completed with an overview of prerequisite courses, entrance exams and next steps to take towards applications and interviews.
  • Dr. Nadarajah answered questions about: ideal applicant characteristics, diversity in each graduating class, his own experience working at COO, 4th year rotation, and residency after a 4 year program.

BLOG POST #1: An Introduction

EYES ON THE PRIZE

An Introduction

Hello my fellow OSU Pre-optometry students! Welcome to our first ever, absolutely wonderful Pre-Optometry blog. I am so glad you are here. 

As many of you may have noticed, there is a shocking dearth of resources for us pre-optometry students out there. Even our advisors aren’t quite sure what to do with us. Kind of premed, kind of not? Here we are, a motley of STEM majors with a peculiar fascination with eyeballs, each living our journeys in parallel. A dangerous combination, simply teeming with possibilities…

Biweekly we convene in the basement of Fry and glean what we can from our speakers, trying to piece together for ourselves if this faraway, magical little school is the place we’re meant to be. We chit-chat amongst ourselves and munch on some yummy snacks, a nervous excitement permeating the air. How do you study for the OAT? What if I have to retake it? 

We are here for each other and lift each other up. That’s what it’s all about, really. We turn on our inner retinoscopes and spread the light to each other, hoping to provide some inSIGHT (pun intended) into the hazy, seemingly subjective ambiguities of the application process. 

And here’s where this blog comes in: we want to provide a centralized location for frequently asked questions and common concerns, a resource everyone in this club can turn to for reference. After a year of eerie little Zoom boxes and lonely webinars, there is no better time for a forum to connect, reflect, and celebrate one another. 

So here it is: a collection of interesting tidbits, useful advice, and CORNEA eye puns. All students on The Great Pre-Optometry Journey are invited to contribute. Eyeballs don’t discriminate. Everyone has something marvelous to add. 

I (EYE lol) can’t wait to see where this goes.

Meeting Minutes 9/28/2021

Location: Fry 235

Meeting Called by: Pre- Optometry Club

Guest Speaker: Kara Dunkle, Nora Ziebarth, Chloe Foster

Agenda

  • Attendance was taken via QR code
  • Kara, Nora, and Chloe shared their journey on how they got accepted into Optometry School at The Ohio State University 
  • They spoke about where they were from, what year they were, and why they fell in love with Optometry 
  • They answered questions about shadowing, clubs and volunteering, what classes to take, and asking for letters of recommendation
  • They explained how to study for the OAT, applying through OptomCAS and supplementals, the interview process and timeline, and why they chose OSU!

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to them! 

dunkle.128@osu.edu (Kara Dunkle)

ziebarth.8@osu.edu (Nora Ziebarth)

foster.1016@osu.edu (Chloe Foster)

AOSA Realeyes Training- October 6th 6:00- 8:00pm 

Join us on Wednesday October 6th 6:00- 8:00pm for Realeyes Training!

Realeyes is a program that allows interested students to give presentations regarding eye anatomy, eye safety, and eye disorders at various schools in Ohio! Realeyes is a free classroom education program that presents age- appropriate curricula to students across the state. Food/ drink will be provided for this event by Realeyes!

Reach out to Elise Frazee (frazee.77@osu.edu) for any questions, comments, concerns, etc! (Location TBD)

Meeting Minutes 09/21/2021

Location: Fry 33

Meeting Called by: Pre-Optometry Club

Duration: 1 hour

Guest Speaker: Sunnie Ewing, Southern College of Optometry 

 

Agenda:

  • Attendance was taken via QR code
  • Sunnie Ewing was the representative from SCO
  • Sunnie passed out packets containing information on SCO as a school, optometry as a career and the SCO admissions process, including prerequisites, OAT scores and shadowing requirements 
  • Sunnie gave a presentation on admissions, curriculum, interview and living in Memphis as a part of her talk on being a potential student at SCO
  • Sunnie answered member questions on letters of recommendations, characteristics of key applicants, things to avoid in the interview and application process and specifics on staff at SCO

Sunnies email is sewing@sco.edu