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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.

“We’ve spent four years together being shaped didactically and clinically by our faculty. Now that we’re finally here, let’s listen to the sundial mottos,” she said, referring to her newly acquired interest in sundials after listening to the trending podcast S-Town.

Part of the podcast offers a history lesson on sundials, which are often engraved with mottos about the passing of time: “Make haste but slowly,” “An hour passes slowly, but the years go by quickly,” and Ferris-Metzger’s favorite — “Use the hours, don’t count them.”

Thirty-seven optometry students were honored at the ceremony, held at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center. The students, now optometrists, will join practices in 10 different states, and 11 will receive additional training in optometry through residency programs across eight states.

Twelve residents received postdoctoral certificates recognizing completion of programs offered by the School of Optometry. Another student, who will receive her dual OD/MS degree in Vision Science, was also recognized.

Kelly K. Nichols, O.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., dean of the School of Optometry, congratulated all graduates on their accomplishments.

“Your diligence, perseverance and commitment has been rewarded,” she said.

The graduates were also addressed by Lynn Hammonds, O.D., a School of Optometry alumna and president of SECO International. Hammonds is the first woman to be elected president of the globally recognized association for optometrists since 1933.

“Almost 25 years ago I was sitting where you are sitting,” Hammonds said. "Now, I am the past, and you are the future."

She encouraged students to “be the change,” and recalled her role in changing Alabama law for optometrists. When she graduated in 1991, her state license allowed her to diagnose but not to treat. “I was pretty darn frustrated at that,” she said. “I wasn’t able to use my education to the fullest.” She joined other Alabama optometrists in grassroots efforts and in raising money.

“We all came together to do what had to be done to get the law changed,” she said. “Have the courage to step out of your box and be the change.”

Hammonds said she is amazed at the advances made in eye care during her career. For instance, the disposable contact lens industry was only just beginning when she graduated.

“I can say with confidence that we are better optometrists today than we were 25 years ago,” she said. “Who knows what eye care will look like in the future or what advances there will be in your careers?”

View all photos of the ceremony here.

The graduates of the Class of 2017 and where they will practice or attend residency:

Steve Abercrombie, Jr.

Practice in Atlanta, Georgia

Sarah Margaret Berry

Residency in Primary Eye Care/Ocular Disease at the Chillicothe/Columbus VA Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio

Spencer B. Boozer

Practice at Boozer Eye Care Associates in Cullman, Alabama

Brett Aaron Bryant

Practice north of Atlanta, Georgia

Adam D. Burns

Practice at Isthmus Eye Care in Madison, Wisconsin

Elizabeth Bexley Cameron

Optometric Fellowship in Ocular Disease Management and Vision Rehabilitation at the Department of Ophthalmology at the UAB School of Medicine

Caleb T. Cart

Practice near Charleston, West Virginia

Chelsea Nicole Chandler

Practice at Vision Source of Jacksonville in Hokes Bluff, Alabama

Kelly K. Cleary

Practice at Vision Source of Albany, Georgia

Lashaundra R. Dangerfield

Residency in Ocular Disease/Primary Care at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa Alabama

Carey M. Dillard

Practice in Alabama

Christopher D. Easley

Practice in Atlanta, Georgia

Veronica M. Ferris-Metzger

Residency in Pediatric Optometry at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado

Grant P. Fowler

Practice at Hamilton Vision and Eye Care in Hamilton, Alabama

Karen Mireya Gonzalez

Practice Braun Eye Care in Dalton, Georgia

Katherine Rebecca Greer

Practice at Insight Eye Care in Fort Payne, Alabama

Courtney M. Hazelwood

Residency in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation/Pediatric Optometry at Neuro-Vision Associates of North Texas in Plano, Texas

Nettie Rainer Hines

Practice at Image Optical in Madison, Mississippi

James Andrew Ho

Residency in Primary Eye Care/Ocular Disease at Gallup Indian Medical Centero in Gallup, New Mexico

Ilana Ginsburg Hrozencik

Practice in Atlanta, Georgia

Aldina Jakupovic

Practice in Atlanta, Georgia

Grace Catherine Kimrey

Practice at Precision Eye Care in Bowling Green, Kentucky

Christopher Hahn Lee

Residency in Geriatric and Low Vision Rehabilitative Optometry at the Birmingham VA Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama

Whitney Mitchell Lowe

Practice in Birmingham, Alabama

Kathryn Claire Mowrer

Practice at Bessemer Family Eye Care in Bessemer, Alabama

Christina S. Nguyen-Canter

Residency in Primary Eye Care at the Indiana University School of Optometry in Westfield, Indiana

Nathania Capistrano Nhouyvanisvong

Residency in Primary Eye Care/Ocular Disease at Chinle Hospital in Chinle, Arizona

Kate Elise Oliver

Residency in Ocular Disease/Low Vision Rehabilitation at the Kansas City VA Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri

Pritesh S. Patel

Practice at Gulfcoast Eye Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Samara Dudley Perryman

Practice at Family Eye Care Center in Troy, Alabama

Ellen L. Prewitt

Residency in Primary Eye Care/Ocular Disease at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Stephanie Michelle Ross

Practice at Ross Eye Care Group in Atlanta, Georgia

Betsy M. Stevenson

Practice at Eye Care Associates in Clanton, Alabama

Megan Brianna Swaringen

Practice in Western North Carolina

Lindsey Marie Vallejo

Practice in Nashville, Tennessee

Heather L. Vaught

Practice at Vaught Eye Associates in Conway, South Carolina

Trang B. Vo

Practice in Louisiana

Optometrists who completed additional training through residency programs offered by the School:

Feyi Aworunse, OD

Family Practice Optometry

Timothy Lewis Bradshaw, OD

Ocular Disease at Omni Eye Services of Atlanta

Halie Ann Cottrill, OD

Geriatric and Low Vision Rehabilitative Optometry at Birmingham VA Medical Center

Jessica Paige Kenney, OD

Ocular Disease at Omni Eye Services of Atlanta

Becky A. Luu, OD

Pediatric Optometry

Forrest Walker Manning, OD

Primary Eye Care/Ocular Disease at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center

Iris Miao, OD

Cornea and Contact Lens

Tatevik Movsisyan, OD, MS

Geriatric and Low Vision Rehabilitative Optometry at Birmingham VA Medical Center

Lisa Prejean

Primary Eye Care/Ocular Disease at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center

Jessica G. Schiffbauer, OD

Ocular Disease at Omni Eye Services of Atlanta

Alyanna A. Schild, OD

Ocular Disease at Omni Eye Services of Atlanta

Allison Jean Treleaven, OD, MS

Geriatric and Low Vision Rehabilitative Optometry at Birmingham VA Medical Center

Recipient of Master of Science in Vision Science:

Sarah Margaret Berry

Thesis title: "A Comparison of Number and Letter Acuity in Patients with Dementia"