SVA’s Pressure Spike Sand Volleyball Tournament

For the third year in a row, UIWRSO’s Sports Vision Association (SVA) has hosted their annual Pressure Spike Sand Volleyball Tournament. Students from different levels of optometry school, friends, and family (as well as professors) come together to play and raise money for the SVA club. This year, SVA hopes to raise enough money to eventually bring a Sports Vision Training Clinic to RSO. It is a fun event full of friendly competition, sunrays, sand, and barbecue!

Students and professors make teams of at least six and are able to create their own, unique team names. Each team played a guaranteed two games, and after several rounds of volleyball (including a loser’s bracket), the winners of this year’s tournament were the Casual Sets! Winners of the tournament received a cash prize and bragging rights until next year.  It is a great way for us to relax and enjoy time with both our classmates and faculty of RSO!

Here is just a sneak peak into the fun at the tournament!


My Last Year at RSO!


After spending a whole year with my third year clinic group, it was hard to part ways! I would not get to see many of my classmates until graduation in the spring ’16. It was a bittersweet moment indeed. The summer semester went by before I knew it, and we went off on our externships. Some students moved to Florida, some decided to live with family in the East coast, and some stayed in Texas. Dr. Majcher, our externship coordinator, made sure to find the best places for externships. There are many locations and modes of practice to choose from. For example, I picked all private practice externships because that is what I wanted to pursue (you probably figured that out from all my previous private practice club posts). However, some students picked VA sites or eye hospitals to see more ocular disease, while some classmates wanted to specialize in vision therapy so they went off to a pediatric/vision therapy based practice. All in all, I think picking the right externship for yourself is very important part of your education and growth.

Allow me to introduce to you the layout of RSO’s 4th year. There are three semesters (summer, fall, and spring) in the 4th year, however you spend only 1 semester on campus, this semester is called your 4th year in-house rotation. The in-house rotation is broken up into mini-rotations where you are focused on a subspecialty of optometry. The other two semesters will be considered your externship, meaning you will pick two externship sites to spend 3-4 months in.

Here’s a recap of my 4th year experience so far.

I was in-house for the summer. I got to know my classmates, who were in my in-house clinic group, really well. My clinic group was so much fun, we went out to eat, inside jokes lightened up the day, and helping each other out made the day go by so much smoother. I really appreciate working with them because they shared with me their tips on patient care and their experience with challenging cases. I consider them more than just colleagues but life-long friends and I will truly miss them.

The in-house rotation was full of learning. I wish I could write a blog for each, but for briefness’ sake, here is a summary of each mini-rotation. We worked with visually impaired patients at the Low Vision and Rehabilitation Clinic. After seeing cataract and LASIK surgeries. we learned how to manage those patients at the Peri-Op rotation. At the Glaucoma Clinic, we watched glaucoma laser treatments and monitored the patients’ conditions. If you are wondering what the Visual Neurophysiology Service is, there is only a couple in Texas. Challenging patients, most often tertiary referrals from retinal specialists, neurologists, etc, came to see us for special testing. Contact lens services made me more confident in fitting all sorts of contact lenses (scleral, hard, soft, astigmatism, multifocals, etc).  Also we saw infants to high-school students in the pediatrics rotation. Vision therapy rotation gave us week-to-week interaction with the same patient and it was a great feeling to see them improve over the time.

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!


The American Academy of Optometry 2014

UIWRSO Group Picture at AAO 2014!
UIWRSO Group Picture at AAO 2014!


When I stepped off the plane in Denver, Colorado, I turned to my classmate, Alicia Chacon, and asked “why would they have a convention in such a cold place?” Our phones alerted us that it will be -9 degrees Fahrenheit tonight and I felt my toes turn numb. Coming from San Antonio, Texas, we were definitely taken by surprised. However I probably spent only a total of 20 minutes outside in the beautiful flurry of snow and learned a life-long lesson.

The University of the Incarnate Word, Rosenberg School of Optometry had over two dozen students in attendance at the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), 2014. Last year there were over 300 students from across the nation, but this year Academy reported over 1000 students in attendance, the largest in attendance ever! Our school definitely has a huge emphasis in optometric research. This year our local chapter of AAO, led by student intern, Ashley Plyant, did an amazing job educating students about the importance of supporting Optometric Research and rallying a group of students to attend the Academy. As a result, we had more UIWRSO students than ever attend.

A handful of students who participated in optometric research were very excited to see their abstracts accepted into the Academy. I am a student researcher who is just learning the research process: from forming the hypothesis, to data collection, to presenting, and publishing. The concept of research was once so confusing, but now has become so clear thanks to the Academy. The summation of our research teams’ work is now shared with an audience of doctors who are curious, questioning, and learning. Dr. Trevino presented our research results in an interesting, clear and concise manner, that it kept the audience on their toes. When I sat in the rooms of the Academy, I learned so much, the education provided in optometry school is just the basics, there are optometric scientists always striving to to find better and better ways to care for their patients from innovation to new discoveries.

10270464_372776716215512_5067311626676979005_nOn Thursday night, UIWRSO hosted an Academy Networking Reception. Our Dean, Dr. Wingert sat in the front to welcome us to the reception with some food and drinks. I was so glad that I came because I saw faces of my TAs from first year, the rest of class of 2013 and 2014! The class of 2013 and 2014 were the first two classes to graduate from UIWRSO. They were an amazing bunch who pioneered through the program and helped to contribute to the way our school runs today. The interns, now doctors, started most of the school organizations and laid the foundation for how active our school is today. I have much respect for them and I’m really glad that they came out to this networking reception! In fact, a great amount of our graduates went on to pursue a residency; so they came back telling the students about their experiences. My classmates had a great time talking to the recent graduates, the resident, and the our faculty that came out that night.

Most of the students wanted to obtain their student fellowship at the Academy. The requirements are as follows: 4 hours of Continuing Education, 2 hours of attending paper presentations, 2 hours of attending poster presentations, a symposium on a specific topic such as Low Vision or Glaucoma, and various students meetings such as the AAO business meeting, the student networking lunch, and more. You can learn more from: (  It sounds like a lot right? The reason that the Academy has launched this exciting new Student Fellowship program is to encourage students to experience the entire meeting, hoping that it will stimulate improved integration of all of the opportunities offered at the meeting, encourage future involvement, and persuade students to become Fellows upon graduation. I really enjoyed picking the CEs that interested me and because the Academy was able to offer so many courses, some of my classmates were able to complete the requirements in two days. I truly enjoyed my experience at the Academy and I would love to come back again and again!