Summer Fellowship Training Program

The summer following the first year at RSO, you can perform research under the instruction of a professor. The Summer Fellowship Training Program (SFTP) is an 8-week long program where students can partake in clinical or molecular research in optometry. Having completed research prior to optometry school, I was excited for this opportunity to continue my interest in benchwork. When the program application was released during the spring semester I promptly filled it out in hopes that I would be offered one of the few spots available.

Once I was accepted into SFTP, I had a list of roughly 10 projects to choose from. After meeting with multiple faculty members, I chose to complete my research project with Dr. Fortepiani, studying retinal endothelial cells at UT Health San Antonio, Department of Ophthalmology with a fellow RSO student, Miriam Almanza. Many of my peers who were accepted into the program chose to work on other topics such as dry eye, low vision, and military ocular trauma.

Pictured below is myself, a lab team member, and Miriam working under the cell culture hood.

Half way through the 8-week program all SFTP participants and faculty members would convene weekly for a journal club meeting. These meetings gave students an opportunity to review a similar paper to their project, present their personal project data and identify future intent.

After completing our summer project at UT Health, Miriam and I put together a poster and presented at the UTHSCSA 6th annual Physiology Graduate Student Symposium.  Even though I had prior experience in research, many of my peers entered the program to gain new research experience. This program helped provide a connection of laboratory research to clinical practice, as many of these projects will benefit our patients in the future. I especially recommend to those who have never completed research before to consider applying for SFTP; you will not regret it.

 

Janelle Sventek

Janelle is a third year student attending UIWRSO, working as a blog writer to share personal experiences about her time in optometry school.

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Show Your Best Dance Moves

Every year during the spring semester RSO hosts an awards banquet for all students. The event is designed to recognize students for their hard work, honor the class superlatives, and provide a great venue to celebrate the end of the academic year. This banquet is coined with the punny name: “Eye Ball Formal”. This past spring, I attended my first Eye Ball, and it was a blast. Many of my classmates called it the prom of graduate school; but it was so much better than any prom I have ever attended. This year’s theme was Monte Carlo, and included music, awards, dancing, raffle prizes, roulette tables, and black jack.

One of my favorite things about this event was interacting and seeing professors and proctors in a fun and endearing venue. It gives everyone a moment to stop thinking about tests and proficiency exams and enjoy a night out and have fun. The Eye Ball is planned and put on by the second-year student government board, with support from first year SGA board. If planning events and decorating is a hobby of yours, consider joining SGA during your first and/or second year.

Janelle Sventek

Janelle is a third year student attending UIWRSO, working as a blog writer to share personal experiences about her time in optometry school.

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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.

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

“How to borrow money for your future optometry practice?” with VisionOne

 

vision one credit union2

The first UIWRSO club event of 2015 was hosted by the Private Practice Club. It was also the evening of the first day of school. We hosted Mr. Schultz, President/CEO of VisionONE Credit Union, to come speak to the students about “How to borrow money for your future practice?” The topic was proposed by a student member who wanted to learn more about this subject. The primary reason that we chose this speaker is because of the company’s mission, “To advance independent optometry through innovative financial solutions.” As one of the few financial institution by optometrists for optometrists, the company dedicates attention towards solutions to industry-wide problems. They strive to reduce the road blocks for new optometrists to enter private practice and allow senior doctors a timely, lucrative exit. Vision One Credit Union seeks to bridge the communication gap between practice buyers and sellers through their Financial Educational programs.

The event drew in students from all classes, and our Practice Management professor, Dr. Garcia, who gave great reviews about the speaker, would like to have him come back on a rotating basis. So what did Mr. Schultz talk about? As a businessman who has been featured on the “Review of Optometric Business” Journal, Mr. Schultz did talk a lot about the finances of buying a practice, but the most important concept that I took away was his take on “cash flow” and how to calculate it. For example, if you wanted to buy a practice, “how do you calculate its true value?” Mr. Schultz wanted buyers to have a fair purchase so he provided very detailed and clear visuals to his explanations, and even students without a business background yet were able to grasp the concept. I thought it was such a valuable topic and I learned a lot about evaluating my future practice. Before this event, I did not have a clear concept about where my income was coming from, nor how to calculate it, but Mr. Schultz answered a lot of my questions. He told us that their company is non-profit and their credit union lends money to young practitioners for their start-up or purchase and offers financial counseling along the process. I’m glad our school was able to benefit from one of their free of charge Financial Educational programs.

cashflow table VisionONE

Stay Warm,

 

Susan Ly
UIWRSO Class of 2016
President, Private Practice Club