Student Achievement

 This year at the 2019 National Optometric Association (NOA) National Convention, five UAB School of Optometry students and alumni were awarded scholarships, honored and elected to leadership positions for the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA).

UAB School of Optometry Vision Science Graduate program student Jessica V. Jasien, MEn has been named an Ezell Fellow by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF).

When Taylor Phillips graduates from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry on May 10, she will be the school’s first dual-degree Doctor of Optometry/Master of Business Administration graduate, in a partnership with UAB’s Collat School of Business.

On April 15, 2019, fourth-year optometry student Shannon Kirchmer accomplished her goal of running in the world’s oldest annual marathon, the Boston Marathon.

Sydney Madrigal a 3rd year student here at UABSO was invited to the Transitions Academy as a Transitions Lens Ambassador. The Transitions Academy is one of the most recognized and unique educational events in the optical industry where attendees participate in professional development and product technology workshops, hear from experts on marketing and industry trends, and learn from their peers at panel discussions.

Following her time at the Academy we caught up with her for a Q&A concerning her time there.

Savannah Coker, a third year UAB School of Optometry Student, has been elected national secretary of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) and was also named Trustee of the Year. The award is given to one member of the board who has gone above and beyond. This is the second year in a row that a UAB Trustee has won this distinction, and the third straight year that UABSO has been represented on the AOSA Executive Council.

Dr. Kwaku Osei has been accepted into the 2019 CCTS Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) Training Program. The CTS Training Program, as part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), places UAB in an elite group of academic institutions that conduct broad-based clinical and translational research and provide educational programs for individuals starting careers in this type of research.

At UAB, more than 7,100 graduate students are exploring the frontiers of human knowledge, following lines of inquiry that will lead to their dissertations or master’s theses. Each has a story to tell.

Jessica Jasien, doctoral candidate in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Vision Science Graduate Program, has been invited by the American Academy of Optometry to present what is being called one of the 10 most newsworthy abstracts of 2018. Jasien, a native of Rumson, NJ, will present her findings Nov. 7 in San Antonio, Texas, at the AAO’s annual meeting.

UAB School of Optometry Vision Science Graduate program students Jessica V. Jasien, MEn and Priya M. Pitale, MS, have been named Ezell Fellows by the American Academy  of Optometry Foundation (AAOF). Out of 42 outstanding applicants, only 13 exceptional individuals were selected for this prestigious award.

Eleven UABSO students have been awarded travel grants to attend November’s American Academy of Optometry (AAO) meeting in San Antonio, November 7-10, 2018.

“Having so many students receive these honors is a testament to our students’ commitments to being active in optometry’s professional organizations and their academic performance,” said Dr. Candice Turner, assistant professor. “Ultimately, our goal as educators is to communicate the importance of community involvement so it continues once they enter the workforce.”

Hannah Greenfield, left, and School of Optometry Dean Nichols at graduation.

Hannah Greenfield, a 2018 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, has been named the first recipient of the American Optometric Student Association’s student of the year award. The inaugural award is given to a student who has shown leadership skills when serving their profession, patients and community.

2018 School of Optometry Graduates with Dean.

UABSO celebrated the class of 2018 on Mother’s Day weekend. The young men and women who received the doctor of optometry degree brought the number of optometrists UABSO has graduated to 1,600.

Jonathan Davis and Haley Hixon

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation named Jonathan Davis and Haley Hixon, both fourth-year students at the UAB School of Optometry, 2017 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients.

The Foundation annually selects students from each North American college or school of optometry based on submission by each institution. Davis and Hixon are among 44 top-performing optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada who will receive awards totaling nearly $200,000.

Paul Brown

The American Academy of Optometry Foundation has named Paul Brown, a third-year student at the UAB School of Optometry, a recipient of the 2017 Johnson & Johnson Vision J. Pat Cummings Scholarship.

The Foundation awards the scholarship annually to a second- or third-year optometry student at each North American school or college of optometry who best demonstrates the ideal eye care standards of practice, achievement in both academic performance and extra-curricular activities, and participation with other professional pursuits such as involvement with patients through internships, community service and volunteer activities.

Brown received a $1,000 scholarship and a personalized plaque as part of the award, which is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and named after a leader in optometry who died in a 2009 plane crash.

Shannon Kirchmer

After third-year optometry student Shannon Kirchmer achieved her longime goal of running her first marathon — the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama this past February — she realized she was just two minutes shy of qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon.

“I knew I could do it,” she says.

With her new goal of competing in the world’s oldest annual marathon, she sought the help of a coach through a Birmingham running group to help her with a training plan.

On Nov. 4, she ran a personal record of 3:20:25 (a 7:39 mile pace) in the CNO Indianapolis Monumental Marathon — qualifying her for the Boston Marathon.

Ten students at the UAB School of Optometry have earned the title of Student Fellow with the American Academy of Optometry.

The Student Fellowship program offered by the Academy encourages students to experience the Academy’s annual meeting in the hopes it will stimulate improved integration of all opportunities offered at the meeting, encourage future involvement and persuade students to become future fellows.

Lauren Boudousquie, Jessica Boyd, Samantha Elliott and Natalie West standing in front of Capitol Hill

Four students at the UAB School of Optometry visited Capitol Hill on June 22 to meet with legislators and advocate for optometrists in Alabama.

Students Lauren Boudousquie, Jessica Boyd, Samantha Elliott and Natalie West joined School of Optometry faculty and other Alabama optometrists to meet with Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and staff members from the offices of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) and Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.).

Family Legacy Alumni standing together at UAB's Optometry 2017 Graduate Ceremony

When the moment came for Stephanie Ross, O.D., to walk to the front of the stage and receive her doctoral hood at the UAB School of Optometry’s Convocation and Hooding Ceremony on May 12, the two faculty members performing the ceremonial hoodings stepped aside, and Ross’s parents stepped forward.

Carey Dillard being hooded at her Convocation and Hooding Ceremony

Shortly after Carey Dillard, O.D., joined UAB Eye Care as a clinic coordinator, she knew she had found her calling.

Dillard had known she wanted a career in health care, but she had been struggling to find the right avenue to pursue.

Optometry class of 2017 at their Convocation and Hooding Ceremony

The 2017 graduates of the UAB School of Optometry had made it a ritual to countdown to exams, the ends of semesters and the many other milestones through their years of optometric education, recalled class president Veronica Ferris-Metzger, O.D., in an address to her classmates.

But as she stood beside them on Friday, May 12, at the School of Optometry’s 44th Annual Convocation and Hooding Ceremony, Ferris-Metzger encouraged her fellow graduates to savor the present moment.

Donors and recipients of scholarships seated at UAB's School of Optometry Scholarship Luncheon

Photos by Andrea Mabry

Recipients of 53 scholarships and the donors who established them were honored at the UAB School of Optometry’s inaugural Scholarship Luncheon.

The donors of three new scholarships were also honored at the event, which was held April 28 at the Edge of Chaos in UAB’s Lister Hill Library.

Collage of Jessica Jasien, Shyam Panthi, Christopher Starr and Daniel Turner

Four students with the UAB School of Optometry Vision Science Graduate Program are recipients of travel grants for the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

Ten members of the UAB School of Optometry Class of 2017 have accepted residency positions and will receive advanced clinical education in specialty areas of optometry in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Five students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry were recognized at the 42nd annual UAB Honors Convocation, which was held March 30 at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

The following students were presented awards:

Twelve optometrists will join the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry as residents for the 2017-2018 academic year. The incoming residents filled slots in six programs offered by the School, and they will begin their training in the summer.

Katie Bales smiling

A graduate student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry will be recognized at the 42nd annual UAB Honors Convocation.

Katie Bales, a doctoral student in the Vision Science Graduate Program in the School of Optometry’s Department of Optometry and Vision Science, will receive an Outstanding Student Award at the ceremony, which will be held March 30 at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Optometry class of 2020 pledging at their white coat ceremony.

Fifty first-year optometry students were presented with white coats—a symbol of passage from the classroom into clinical training—at The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry’s annual White Coat Ceremony, held Friday, March 10, at the UAB National Alumni Society House.

Congratulations to the members of the Class of 2016 who were recognized during this year's Graduate Day Awards Presentation.

The UAB School of Optometry held its 43rd Convocation and Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on Friday, May 20, 2016. The School conferred 46 Doctor of Optometry degrees and recognized residents completing the optometry residency program, as well as students who completed the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Vision Science degree programs.

The UAB School of Optometry held its annual White Coat Ceremony for second-year optometry students on Friday, August 19, 2016 at the UAB National Alumni Society House. The 48 members of the Class of 2019 were presented with the white coats as a symbol of their passage from the classroom into clinical training.

Anna Ablamowicz andCameron Postnikoff

UAB School of Optometry faculty and PhD trainees, Anna Ablamowicz, OD, and Cameron Postnikoff, MASc, have been named Ezell Fellows by the American Optometric Foundation (AOF).

The AOF recently announced the nine recipients of the prestigious fellowships, named after the organization’s founding president, Dr. William C. Ezell. The program was established to provide talented post-doctoral students who are pursuing an advanced degree in optometric research and education recognition and support. More than 300 Ezell Fellowships have been awarded since the program’s 1949 inception.

Congratulations to the following UABSO residents who will be presenting papers or posters at the upcoming American Academy of Optometry meeting in New Orleans, LA. Resident’s Day will take place on Saturday, October 10th. Papers will be from 8-12 and Posters will be from 1:30-3:30. Please stop by to congratulate them and take a look at the interesting patient cases our residents are seeing!

The UAB School of Optometry is pleased to announce the incoming residents for 2015-16.