First RSO student appointed a National Liaison Position with AOSA

asco

I applied to be a national liaison (NL) because I wanted to be more involved with the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA). A national liaison represents an allied association within the AOSA, much like how the American Optometric Association (AOA) has members for their allied optometric association. An allied association may focus on a specialty like sports vision, InfantSEE program, optometry in public health, etc.

It was an exciting moment when I got the email from the AOSA President 2015-6, Hunter Chapman, saying that I was selected for the student national liaison for the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). In fact, I was the first person from RSO to be selected for a NL position. This year only 15 students were selected from the nationwide optometry student applicant pool to be liaisons of: ASCO, AAO, APHA, NBEO, COVD, OEP, CLS, and etc. Read more about NLs and their respective allied organizations here: http://www.theaosa.org/about/2015-16-allied-associations-and-national-liaisons/

I would also like to talk about the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO). Prior to my position, I had no idea that this organization was in charge of the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) among other things. ASCO  is the academic leadership organization committed to promoting, advancing and achieving excellence in optometric education. ASCO represents all accredited schools and colleges of optometry in the fifty states and Puerto Rico. ASCO’s affiliate members include the Canadian schools of optometry, other foreign schools, allied organizations, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. ASCO’s activities also cover a wide range of programs including applicant development and diversity, faculty and executive development, advocacy, residency promotion, data development and communications. Since joining in on ASCO’s meeting, I have discovered how broad optometry education really is. Please read more about ASCO 0n their website: http://www.opted.org/

RSO gives a 1 week break in the summer so that students can go to Optometry’s Meeting. This year Optometry’s Meeting took place in Seattle, Washington. I knew that our school has always supported RSO students who engaged in extracurricular activities. However, our Dean, Dr. Wingert, also actively partakes in leadership roles. It was no surprise that he was the current chair of the ASCO Student Affairs Committee. The members of ASCO include the optometry school Deans and Presidents, who meet a few times a year via phone conference call, emails, and/or in person at big meetings such as Optometry’s Meeting to discuss the long list of ASCO activities listed above. Deans can also run for leadership positions within the different committees in ASCO. During this meeting each committee leader would present their updates and progress of their group. I had the honor to present to all the Deans about AOSA. I won’t lie, it was nerve racking. However after the presentation I received warm comments from Dr. Wingert (RSO Dean) and Dr. Buzzelli (Past RSO Dean, Current Dean of the University of Pikeville, College of Optometry).

Deans convene in ASCO meeting!
Deans convene in ASCO meeting!

 

I would also like to congratulate Mr. Marty Wall, MPA, CAE and ASCO outgoing-Executive Director for his many years of service. It was a pleasure to meet such a wonderful person and great leader.

A luncheon was held in honor of Mr. Wall's service to ASCO and the field of optometry!
A luncheon was held in honor of Mr. Wall’s service to ASCO and the field of optometry at OM15!

 

UIWRSO at San Antonio Health Expo

2015-health-and-wellness-expo-flyer

RSO’s BIGGEST summer event is the Health & Wellness Expo in San Antonio.  The Health Expo was held on Saturday, June 6, 2015 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.  Our participation in the event is another great example of the UIWRSO commitment to the program’s mission.  While volunteering at this event, my classmates and I had a chance to provide complimentary vision screenings as part of a comprehensive wellness conference event.  This initiative is also a reflection of our extensive patient contact both inside and outside the clinics.

Additionally, this year, I was asked by the clinic directors to help recruit student volunteers for this huge Health Expo. No surprise, there were a lot of students who went and they all received a cool t-shirt for their help! It was also a great chance for interns to meet other health groups in the area and learn about their field. The Rosenberg School of Optometry booth was super busy where students were giving away swag bags for the attendees. Overall, everyone had a blast!

During the afternoon session, special guest Dr. Phil, talked about making the city a healthier place.

Below is a testimony from our very own professor, Dr. Rabin:

I spent a few hours at the 2nd Annual Health and Wellness EXPO today where UIWRSO made a huge presence thanks to the oversight of Dr. Chapman and Mr. Kruse, multiple invaluable staff and MANY Intern Volunteers…

Dr. Rabin also took some pictures and would like to share them.

 

 

Big Sib/Lil Sib Program

Starting a new school can be a scary situation, especially when it’s at the caliber of a program like the one at UIWRSO, but have no fear! The staff in Student Affairs office makes the transition into optometry school much easier by having the “Big Sib/Lil Sib Program.” Before entering UIWRSO, you are asked if you would like to participate in this voluntary program. It allows you to have a closer connection to a student already in the program, such as a second or third year. Students are asked to fill out a form with information such as their hometown, undergrad university, hobbies, optometry interests, etc. Student Affairs takes the time to pair you up with someone who has similar traits as you.

I would like to introduce you to my Big Sib, Michelle Serrano. I was paired up with my Big Sib based on our undergrad university. We both attended the University of Texas at El Paso. It’s an interesting coincidence because I even remember having her for one of my chemistry labs previously, but we never interacted then. After the first time we spoke, I knew right away that we would be great friends and that she would be an invaluable asset to me. She has helped me in so many ways, from helping me develop my skills in lab and tips on test-taking and professors, to just hanging out and talking about things outside of school. It’s great to have the perspective of a student who has already experienced the things you are going through. There are going to be a lot of tough days, but it’s comforting knowing you have your Big Sib there to guide you. Once you become a second year, you have the privilege of becoming a Big Sib, if you wish to participate.

Big Sib Lil Sib

I asked several students about their Big Sib/Lil Sib experiences and this is what they had to say:

“I’m glad that RSO has this program. I knew absolutely no one in San Antonio, and it felt good to know that before I even started school, I had a friend.”

“Second year is particularly difficult, and I can’t begin to tell you how much of an asset my big sibling has been in pushing me and helping me through the year.”

“I love my little sibling! They [Student Affairs] did a great job in pairing us up.”

“A lot of people think the Big Sibs are the only ones that help. It works both ways. We really depend on each other. When she had boards, I was there for her. When I had my final proficiency, she was there for me. We definitely lean on each other for support.”

In addition to giving students an opportunity to find new friends, the Big Sib/Lil Sib program is great in bridging the gap between classes from different years. I really enjoy seeing first, second, third, and even fourth years hanging out at all the school activities and outside of school, also. The program allows us to break the ice even before school starts! I love the program and definitely plan on continuing the tradition of helping new students as they make their journey through UIWRSO.