Preparing for Finals

One of the most stressful times of the year for all students is finals week. UIWRSO prepares students very well to succeed on their finals throughout the year with personalized help from teachers, one-on-one tutoring, and fun review days using games like Jeopardy! No matter if you’re in undergrad or already in optometry school, hopefully these tips below will help you to get through finals just a little better. I asked several students from each class what kind of stress reliever/distraction/tips they have for finals week.

First year students:

“I’m being very cautious about finals. I don’t know what to expect yet, but hopefully the preparation the professors and I have put forth will reflect in my grades.”

“As a study break, I like to watch YouTube videos about cats. Don’t get too distracted though, because one leads to another and you end up on YouTube for an hour before you notice.”

“I had a teacher in undergrad who would always say, ‘Study smart, not hard.’ I think that is probably the best advice I’ve ever gotten.”

Second year students:

“Starbucks is my favorite thing right now.”

“I enjoy dancing on my study breaks. Just getting up and moving does wonders for your brain. I seem to retain more information if I am up and about.”

“Try to use some of the study and exam tips they have online, such as eating peppermint gum, using certain scents, etc. while studying. It works for me!”

“Have a strategy before you go into the test! If you know you take a long time, make sure to pace yourself.”

Third year students:

“My advice to first and second years has always been to make sure you start studying for finals a few weeks ahead of schedule. You might think you can wait until the last second, but it’s not a very good idea.”

“Remember that grades aren’t everything. I have seen a lot of students wear themselves out to the point of exhaustion! Make sure you are exercising, taking breaks, and eating properly.”

Fourth year students:

“Studying gets easier and easier each year. You finally understand what each teacher wants and by the time you get to fourth year, you’ll have already taken some parts of boards. Push through!”

“Remember this is the best time of your life. Yes, it’s difficult right now, but it will definitely be worth it. You are working to save lives.”

That being said, I hope some of these tips will relieve your stress, or give you some motivation. I wish you all success on your finals!

Leadership and Entrepreneurial Pearls for Private Practice

P1080269  photo 3

Guest speaker:  Dean of UIWRSO, Dr. Andrew Buzzelli.

The Private Practice Club at UIWRSO was very excited to host a lunch for their members. This was a special lunch about leadership and entrepreneurship in optometry private practice. The reason that the Private Practice Club chose to have Dr. Buzzelli speak is due to his dedication to our school and vast accomplishments in all that he does.

photo 1 (2)

Dr. Buzzelli has held many positions in all aspects of optometry prior to his position as our Dean. He taught at several accredited schools (SUNY, Georgian Court University, and Salus University) and the RSO second years have him for Peds. In 2012, the Texas Optometric Association (TOA) named Dr. Buzzelli “Educator of the year.” Professor Buzzelli is also one of only thirty-six optometrists in the world recognized as a diplomat in Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry” by the American Academy of Optometry. In addition to Dr. Buzzelli’s prolific teaching career, he has published an Ophthalmic Textbook and numerous papers for optometry and the military. Dr. Buzzelli also served in the military as the Assistant to the Air Force Surgeon General and eventually earned the title “Outstanding Liaison Officer of the year.” Today we have the pleasure of hearing about his “Leadership and Entrepreneurial Pearls for Private Practice.” Dr. Buzzelli served as a private practitioner specializing in “Vision Therapy, dysfunctions of Binocular Vision, Visual Information Processing disorders and Traumatic Brain Injury.” It was a great experience and an honor to hear from a man of diverse experience in the field that has proven to be valuable to the Incarnate Word and the field of optometry.

Dr. Buzzelli exposed us to the difficult situations faced in leadership roles, and revealed key characteristics that an Incarnate Word intern should follow. For example, some characteristics of leadership includes

  • photo 1Character is doing right, not being right
  • Loyal to the absent
  • Open to the brutal truth and maintains a spirit of hope
  • Ask yourself, how did I contribute to the problem
  • Cultivates an attitude of gratitude
  • Accepts that leadership is something lonely

What I took away from the meeting was that our optometry program reflects many of Dr. Buzzelli’s highlights in being a leader. During the course of the meeting, I remember previous courses that I have taken and how they have impacted me to think more about others and how to do so ethically (Read about those courses here).  I’m glad to know that this optometry program also prepares me to be a leader of leaders, with the support of our faculty and student organizations.


UIW Annual Research Week & Poster Session

title bar

Seventh Annual Research Week at UIW (February 17 – 21, 2014) and the First Annual UIWRSO Research Poster Session (February 25, 2014)


Marian Hall!

RSO poster session
Our Research team! From left to right: Susan Ly, Denisse Lopez, Dr. Trevino, Dr. Majcher.

Denisse and I walked through rows and rows of 6’ by  4’ feet posters at the Marian Ballroom. There were also rows of chairs facing the stage were the podium stood – ready for speakers to present their research. We came early, so that we can practice presenting our research poster. It may not be a big deal to some students who had undergrad experience in research, but it was Denisse Lopez and my first time doing a research poster presentation. I’m really glad that our school offers research scholarships to students who are interested in optometric research, even if you did not have any prior experience.

We got into the Summer Fellowship Training Program (SFTP) last year and it has been such a wonderful experience. Dr. Rabin (our lovable Vision Science Professor) is also the Chair of the Research Committee. He assigned students to help with concurrent research done by staff, and/or create your own with

RSO poster session
Samantha Bohl, Dr. Mickles, and Desirae Brinkley with their Dry Eye Poster!

the help of your Principal Investigator (PI), who happens to be just one of many researching UIWRSO Faculty. Not only do you build rapport with your PI, but you also get to know your fellow student researcher really well. I highly recommended that an RSO first year join the research team, because it’s not just a one summer program, but a whole skill set that optometry school alone does not teach you. Even after the summer program, you can choose to stay involved in your research project, and present your work in national optometric conventions such as AOA, ARVO, AAO, etc.


RSO poster session
work from the School of Media and Design, UIW.
The Event Proceedings Booklet and our abstract
The Event Proceedings Booklet and our abstract

Back to the Poster session, this event was put together by the hard work of Rebecca Ohnemus, MAA, CRA, the Research Officer, of the School of Graduate Studies and Research’s Office of Research Development.  What I enjoyed was the diversity of graduate programs that UIW provides, I learned a lot from just talking to the students from different disciplines. Not only were there UIW researchers and scholars from the UIW Pharmacy, optometry, and Nursing school, but there were posters from the business and administration, Math, education, and the art, media and design graduate programs. Rebecca collected abstracts and artist’s statements describing their current and ongoing projects. The submissions were then collected and bound into a spiral notebook for attendees to take a copy. It was a great reference for attendees to find our abstract in the book!

RSO poster session
Dennis Yu and his team’s poster!

One week later, The First Annual UIWRSO Research Poster Session took place in our satellite campus, UIWRSO, Events Room 301, Tuesday, February 25th from Noon to 1pm.  Many students from RSO joined to celebrate the accomplishments of our Faculty and Intern researchers. Pizza was served, complimentary of our Dean, Dr. Buzzelli.  The posters reflect research accomplished during the Summer Fellowship Training Program as well as additional Faculty and Intern efforts.

It was thanks to the hard work of Dr. Maria Lourdes Alarcon Fortepiani, MD, PhD, our lovely, Professor at the Rosenberg School of Optometry, that this event was possible. It was a great way to let the first years know about our research experience!


RSO poster session
All RSO students were welcome to see what kind of research is being done by RSO faculty and interns!
RSO poster session
Alicia Chacon and Sean Johnson in front of their poster!


San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

The rodeo is in town!

This year is the 65th annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.  It takes place every year around February and lasts for several weeks.  I went this past weekend with a few friends, and it was a lot of fun.

First, we visited the livestock barns to check out the pigs and cattle.  Then we attended a live auction of horses.  A few horses were auctioned off for around $3,000 while one horse was auctioned off for $20,000!  It was amazing to hear the bids go from $1,000 to $20,000 and amusing to watch the reaction of the crowd when the highest bidder won.

Of course, we also ate the rodeo food.  We shared and indulged in barbecue nachos, a pulled pork sandwich, a brisket sandwich, and fried pickles.  Everything was delicious!

The rodeo was very entertaining.  It lasted for two hours and consisted of many different events, including bareback riding, steer wrestling, mutton bustin’, team roping, saddle bronc riding, calf scramble, tie down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.

IMG_8792_Fotor  IMG_8817_Fotor  IMG_8839_Fotor

After the rodeo ended, there was a short intermission, and then the concert began.  The entertainer that night was Josh Turner.  It was a great show, and he performed many of his hits and even a new song from the album he is currently working on.

The rodeo has many more attractions and activities, including rides, marketplaces, live music, etc., and the long list of popular entertainers is a great excuse to go to the rodeo more than once.

Preparing for NBEO Part III – Almost There!

It’s finally here—my last semester of optometry school!

Four years have certainly gone by quickly.  Graduation is in May and just around the corner, but I don’t think it has really hit me yet since I’m still in school mode.  My current focus is Part III of the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) exam, which I have registered to take in the beginning of February.

KMK Review TextbooksThe NBEO administers three comprehensive examination Parts or “National Boards.”  Each optometry college/school has different graduation requirements and each state has different licensing requirements regarding the attempt and passage of each NBEO Part.

Part I is Applied Basic Science, Part II is Patient Assessment and Management, and Part III is Clinical Skills Exam.  For Part I, I mainly used my lecture notes and the KMK Part I lecture courses, review textbooks, and online study resources to prepare.  For Part II, I mainly used the KMK Part II review textbook and online study resources to study.

For Part III, I am utilizing the school’s practice rooms, which are fully equipped to simulate the NBEO testing rooms in Charlotte, NC.  RSO has two practice rooms at the Eye Institute and two practice rooms at the Bowden Eye Care and Health Center.

During the summer of our third year of optometry school, we are required to pass an injection proficiency.  Since it may be a long time between the injection course and taking Part III, Dr. Ramona Parker, one of the nursing professors who teaches the course to optometry students, offers occasional practice sessions on injections at the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions for those who want a refresher on the procedures.

Practice RoomPractice Injection Station

I am taking Part III on the same day with four other classmates so we have been practicing together throughout the week after our regular clinic schedules.  We have found it very helpful to have one person sit as the patient, a second person perform the skills as the doctor, and a third person acting as the examiner/proctor.  Having a third person act as the proctor has been helpful because of the feedback based on observation and completion of the evaluation forms, which are available on the NBEO website.

National Boards for any profession can definitely be intimidating and overwhelming, but the many hours of preparation and studying will be worthwhile when you find out your time and commitment have paid off in the end.