At the upcoming American Optometric Association conference, to be held June 20-24, in Denver, the UABSO family has a lot to be proud of, as Dr. Sam Pierce (’89) will be sworn in as AOA president, Dr. Mark Swanson (’85) will be given the AOA Educator of the Year award, faculty member Dr. Andrew Pucker will receive the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry Rising Star Award and Dr. Hannah Greenfield (’18) will be recognized as the first American Optometric Student Association Student of the Year.  

Sam Pierce

Dr. Pierce becomes AOA president

During his nearly 30-year tenure in the field, Dr. Pierce has established himself as a distinguished leader. He is past president of the Alabama Optometric Association as well as the Birmingham Area Optometric Society, and he served as a member of the SECO board of trustees for three years. In 2012, Dr. Pierce received the Alabama Optometric Association's Optometrist of the Year Award.

He is also extremely active in the AOA. After serving in the volunteer structure for many years, Pierce was elected to the American Optometric Association board of trustees in June 2009. In 2015, he was elected to the AOA executive committee as secretary-treasurer. In 2016, he was elected AOA vice president, and in June 2017 he was named president-elect of the AOA.

This will be the second time a UABSO alumnus will be AOA president.

Pierce’s professional endeavors do not end there and have not kept him away from UABSO. He is a past president of our optometry alumni association. In 2010, he received the UABSO Alumnus of the Year Award.

Mark Swanson

Swanson named Educator of the Year

The award is given annually by the AOA to the educator who “reflects outstanding service on behalf of the profession, optometric education and visual welfare of the public,” AOA states.

A faculty member in the School of Optometry since 1986, Dr. Swanson has written and/or co-written more than 45 papers in his 30-year tenure and most recently was awarded the UAB President’s Teaching Award for Optometry. An accomplished researcher, he has participated in more than a dozen clinical investigations and FDA trials.

Beyond the School of Optometry classrooms, Swanson has presented more than 200 continuing education classes to optometrists. Swanson is an active member of the Alabama Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry and contributes his time and services locally to organizations including Camp Seale Harris’ Vision Service Project for diabetic children, Cahaba Valley Health Care and Project OASIS, a state-wide vision rehabilitation program for the elderly.

Andrew Pucker

Pucker named Rising Star

Dr. Andrew Pucker, assistant professor at the School of Optometry, is the 2018 recipient of the Rising Star Award, given by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry.

The award, which is sponsored by Oculus, is presented each year to an outstanding faculty member or administrator with less than seven years of service who has made noteworthy contributions to fulfilling the mission, strategic objectives or programs of ASCO.

Pucker helped develop and now serves as chief of the Myopia Control Clinic at UAB Eye Care, which is the School of Optometry’s clinical operation, and is the principal investigator of an National Eye Institute-funded project related to myopia development. He also manages other projects related to refractive error, dry eye and contact lenses, and is a contributing editor for Contact Lens Spectrum and Contact Lenses Today.

Pucker is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and has received a number of other honors, including winning two William C. Ezell Fellowships, receiving Ohio State’s Outstanding Professional Student Award and being named an Emerging Vision Scientist by the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research.

Hannah Greenfield

Greenfield becomes first AOSA Student of the Year

Dr. Hannah Greenfield, a 2018 UABSO graduate, has been named the first recipient of the American Optometric Student Association’s Student of the Year Award. The award is given to a student who has shown leadership skills when serving their profession, patients and community.

Greenfield’s commitment to bettering a patient’s health and quality of life stood out and was an integral part of the nomination process by her professors.

Greenfield is pursuing residency in Gallup, N.M., at the Gallup Indian Medical Center, specializing in ocular disease and primary care.