by Satina Richardson

Samantha Chapman, a rising second year optometry student, reached the final round of the 2022 AOSA Optometry Student Bowl XXXI.

Chapman, class of 2025, was selected to represent the UAB School of Optometry following a competition between fellow classmates. She then competed on stage at Optometry’s Meeting in Chicago with representatives from each of the country’s 23 optometry schools, answering a series of optometry-related questions. The room is loud and exciting, as each representative gets cheered on by schoolmates. Imagine a game of Jeopardy mixed with Price is Right energy.

“I was nervous mainly due to mild stage fright, but not very nervous for the actual competition,” she said. “I am very competitive – even if I hide it well sometimes – so I was all for a fun game between my peers.”

The Missouri City, TX, native felt prepared due to her coursework, listening to upperclassmen discuss their studies and the knowledge that her student mentor Emily Deng shared with her. Chapman didn’t expect to make it through the qualifying round of the competition, much less make it to the finals though. After all, she only entered optometry school last fall.

“I sympathize with Socrates when he said, ‘I only know one thing: that I know nothing,’” she said. “The other students competing against me were all brilliant upperclassmen. Who was I but a shrub in a forest of sequoias? I was extremely surprised when they kept telling me that I had advanced. My goals going into the quiz bowl were to have fun, try my best, and come out with no regrets – all of which I accomplished.”