AAO Pinning Ceremony at UIWRSO!

The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) Student chapter at the Rosenberg School of Optometry (RSO) held their Annual Student Fellowship Pinning Ceremony. During this past AAO national meeting in Denver, Colorado, 26 students from the RSO received their Student Fellowship. This is a record amount at RSO and we are excited to have so many students interested in learning. The Academy’s annual meeting provides the highest quality continuing education and the most current vision science research, which includes nearly 300 hours of Lectures & Workshops, symposia, and scientific lecture and poster presentations over 4 days. The students loved the experience and best of all, thought the Academy was so much FUN!

The AAO has a special program for students to go through in order to receive the title of student fellow. After the requirements are fulfilled, the student is awarded an AAO pin at the school’s pinning ceremony. Each student completed a series of continuing education courses, symposiums, poster sessions, and paper presentations throughout the weekend, as well as representing RSO at the AAO national meeting.

The following students were recognized for this year at the pinning ceremony:
Amanda Achilles, Amy Belloli, Samantha Bohl, Timothy Bradshaw, Alicia Chacon, Wiliam Cluff, Amy Cuevas, Caroline Dang, Minati Desai, Sheyda Durig, Amanda Estrada, Kimberly Kim, Kyler Knobbe, Daniel Lam, Paul Lau, Denisse Lopez, Susan Ly, Jason Ngo, Jenny Nguyen, Monali Patel, Lisa Prejean, Ashley Pylant, Jennifer Ramey, Rebecca Sheeder, Anthony Vanrachack, and Beatriz Villegas.

Guest speakers included Dr. Valdes, an RSO professor who recently earned AAO Fellowship or F.A.A.O., and Mr. Terry Peterson of Zeiss. Both gave amazing speeches and the students enjoyed a delicious dessert reception sponsored by Zeiss.

Lastly, the event was put together by the AAO student chapter officers:
Ashley Pylant – President
Susan Ly – Vice President
Linh Nguyen – Secretary
Minati Desai – Treasurer
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Rick Trevino

Location, Location, Location!

In addition to the tremendous academic and clinical opportunities, one of the biggest reasons I came to UIWRSO was that it was located in San Antonio, Texas. I grew up in the Alamo City before moving to El Paso, Texas, so it has always been in my heart. If you have never been to Texas or have no idea what’s around, you might be a little skeptical about coming here. When people hear “San Antonio”, they often associate it with the River Walk. I’m here to tell you that we have much, much more than that!

Texas is the second largest state in the US and San Antonio is the second largest city in the state (and 7th largest in the country). The weather here is considered “humid subtropical climate,” which really means that it is hot in the summer, a little cool in the winter (not too cold), and humid all year round. It’s a great type of weather for trees, grass, and taking a nice dip in the pool when it’s hot in summer.

Here is just a small list of some of the attractions found at my home here in San Antonio:

The River Walk is a huge tourist attraction, but also a local favorite, admittedly, I still love going to the River Walk every now and then; it hasn’t lost its luster for me! There are tons of restaurants, shops, and it’s nice to get on the riverboats. The source of the famed Riverwalk river is actually at the UIW main campus!


Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Sea World, and Splash Town are also huge attractions here in San Antonio. They all have events almost all year round, and don’t forget that UIWRSO always holds a “Welcome Back Weekend” for new and returning students at Six Flags every year.

Welcome Back

The 5-time NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs plays in the AT&T Center, but that’s not all that goes on there. The San Antonio Rampage (hockey team) also plays here, and many concerts are held there throughout the year. For the sports enthusiast, San Antonio also has a soccer team (Scorpions), and a baseball team (Missions). There’s a little something for everyone!

Spurs game 1

If you’re big into shopping, San Antonio has many shopping centers such as La Cantera, various shopping malls including North Star Mall, and for local heritage El Mercado. I also appreciate the variety of stores around the area, many of which I would not find in El Paso. Feeding into my love of the outdoors, I love Bass Pro Shops and REI, and they definitely have both here. Finally, if you’re a foodie, then you’ve definitely come to the right place! There are so many restaurants. I haven’t been to the same restaurant in the two years I’ve been here, and I haven’t run out of great restaurants yet.

If you want to explore the surrounding area, there are also amazing cities near San Antonio, all with their own attractions:

Austin, Texas is only about an hour and fifteen minutes away and I find myself visiting regularly, as do many of my classmates. The food is amazing there and Austin has many activities for outdoorsy people. I go very often for kayaking, water biking, and disc golf. If you haven’t heard of these activities, check them out soon!

kayaking austin

Boerne, Texas is only about 20 minutes away from our school location. Boerne is a beautiful, smaller city, but offers great parks and activities such as fishing and boating. My dogs enjoy joining me on my visits to the dog parks when I am looking for a smaller city experience.


New Braunfels, Texas is located between Austin and San Antonio and features one of the largest water parks in the world, Schlitterbahn! I absolutely love Schlitterbahn. Not only is the water park amazing, New Braunfels has deep German roots and the restaurants there reflect that.


For all you shopping aficionados out there, San Marcos is the place for you! Similar to New Braufels, it is also located between Austin and San Antonio about 45 minutes away. San Marcos has two outlet malls that feature more than 350 stores. It’s nice to take some time from studying and go shopping every once in a while! After a day of shopping, it is great to relax at the area rivers and lakes where I can go tubing or swimming.

san marcos

If you are feeling adventurous, you can head southeast towards the beach! Corpus Christi and South Padre Island are only a few hours (two to three) away from San Antonio, and offer the warm water of the Gulf any time of the year.


I could go on and on about the activities in and around beautiful San Antonio. UIWRSO is in the middle of all this entertainment. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I chose this school, not only for its academic benefits, but also for the location of this school. Come visit UIWRSO, and see what all the hype is about in San Antonio, Texas!