By Satina Richardson

Two students from the UAB School of Optometry are now national leaders of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA). Walter Jackson has been elected President, while Dana Shannon will serve as Vice President. Both are fourth year students.

“The opportunity to serve my fellow students across the 21 schools and colleges of optometry that participate in NOSA is an honor that comes with great responsibility,” Jackson said. “As a student, I have appreciated giving back to the community as part of NOSA and am grateful for the scholarships provided to me. There’s no better way to thank NOSA for its support than to serve as president this year.”

In addition to their involvement with NOSA nationally and at UAB, Jackson and Shannon are active with other student organizations at the school. Jackson served as the 2019-2020 Chair of UAB’s American Academy of Optometry chapter, whose mission is the advancement of the optometric profession through research and academia. Shannon held the 2019-2020 Presidency of UAB’s student division of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) chapter which travels to provide free eyecare domestically and in the developing world.  Shannon and Jackson have also held numerous officer positions at UAB’s local NOSA chapter and at the national level during their four-year optometric student career. Outside of their club involvement, the two former college athletes participate in intramural sports at UAB such as flag football, volleyball, kickball, and several others. As they comedically phrase it, “if it has a ball in its name, we play it!”

“Much like NOSA, SVOSH challenges students to provide care to those in need,” Shannon said. “I’m blessed to be able to consistently champion the cause of access to quality eye and vision care for all through my extracurricular activities at UABSO locally, nationally, and globally.”

Founded in 1969, the purpose of NOSA is to stimulate and encourage highly professional, intellectual, and social relationships with members of optometric programs as well as other health care professional student organizations. These members are students of accredited schools and colleges of optometry and serve as an extension of the National Optometric Association to deliver quality care and service to the community.