Explore UAB

by Nathan Anderson

Sammy Haskins, class of 2025, placed third in the 32nd annual American Optometric Student Association Optometry Student Bowl powered by EssilorLuxottica at Optometry’s Meeting 2023.  A record crowd of more than 2,000 attended the competition at Echostage in Washington D.C.

“I was honestly in disbelief,” Haskins said. “I was scared for weeks that I wouldn’t even be able to buzz in for a question. Once I did it for the first time and luckily was right, I gained more confidence for the rest of the competition.”

The competition started with two qualifying rounds with contestants representing 24 optometry schools. Each round would choose the top four scores to continue toward the final round. Haskins was placed into the first round; however, he was questioning the odds of success when he discovered that he was competing against fourth-year students.

Haskins reviewed the notes he had taken from his optometry classes over the past two years to prepare for the competition. Although he did not review them for long, Haskins believed that his professors had prepared him well to compete in the student bowl.

“I have had a fantastic education at UAB so far, so I knew that our professors had prepared me well for this moment,” Haskins said. “But I also took off for five weeks prior, so I was worried that I might have forgotten everything I had learned.”

Haskins was selected to move on to the final round where he placed third in the competition. He tied with a student from State University of New York State College of Optometry, and both received $1,000 from the AOSA.

“I had been in fourth place for almost the entirety of the last round. It was not until the last question that I was able to sneak into the third-place spot with SUNY,” Haskins said. “The biggest advantage that helped me get to that spot was my classmates. Knowing that they believed in me and stood with me gave me the confidence I needed to compete.”