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).

 Keshia Elder, OD, MS, FAAO, associate professor at the UAB School of Optometry, has been appointed as an associate editor for the journal Optometric Education by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO).

Degree Awarded: O.D.

Graduation Year: 2016

Update: I purchased an established private practice in Albertville, Alabama in August 2017 from Dr. Randall Hoerth, who has since retired. We have a diverse patient base that allows me to see all ages, manage a variety of eye disease, co-manage with specialists as well as fit specialty contacts. In the spring of this year I added a partner, Dr. Katie Greer (UABSO '17) and opened a second office in Guntersville on July 2nd.

After 45 years of service to the UAB School of Optometry, Robert Kleinstein, OD, MPH, PhD, retires knowing that he impacted the optometry profession as an educator and clinician-scientist.

Kelly Nichols, OD, MPH, PhD, FAAO, dean of the UAB School of Optometry, was named the 2019 Donald R. Korb Award recipient. This award is given by the American Optometric Association (AOA) Contact Lens and Cornea Section in recognition of an individual who has been a true innovator and leader in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment disease.

Monica Kennedy, OD, started wearing glasses when she was in middle school and the ride home with her first pair of glasses was the beginning of a life-changing experience. She could see the leaves on the trees and blades of grass on the ground that were no longer meshes of green.

After 42 years of service, James Marbourg, O.D., announced his retirement from the UAB School of Optometry.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry’s Pediatric Optometry Service, in partnership with the UAB Department of Ophthalmology, and a pediatric optometrist have been recognized by the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG), a collaborative network supported by the National Eye Institute and dedicated to facilitating multi-institutional clinical research in eye disorders that affect children.

Dr. Tim Kraft is a graduate of MIT, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, and Stanford University with degrees in Biology, Physiology, and Post Doc Neurobiology. He joined the Ophthalmology department in 1993 as an Assistant Professor. Today, he is the Interim Associate Dean for Research and the Chair of the Department of Optometry and Vision Science. His areas of specialty are photoreceptor physiology and retinal degeneration.

Dr. Micah Kinney is the 30th Aerospace optometrist for the U.S. Navy and currently assigned as the Aerospace/Research Optometrist at the Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton, Dayton, OH. In this position, he works with DoD aviation communities to enhance performance, understand visual needs, determine vision standards, and protect warfighter vision.

The American Optometrist Association awarded Benjamin P. Casella, OD, an alumnus of the UAB School of Optometry, the 2019 Optometrist of the Year Award at the Optometry’s Meeting in St. Louis.

With the beginning of summer come hot, bright and sunny days when you will most definitely find yourself in need of adequate eye protection. But how can you find the best sunglasses with so many options to choose from?

Following nearly five years of service to the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry, Michael Twa, O.D., Ph.D., FAAO, received the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award in 2019. This award is given only when an individual rises to the occasion in an exceptional way.

Optometrists and ophthalmologists worked with lead medical personnel from UAB Athletics to develop a special visor to compensate for light sensitivity and worked to modify AHSAA restrictions that prohibited tinted visors or other apparatuses in competition.  

The Heersink Family Foundation has endowed four scholarships at the UAB School of Optometry. The Heersink Family Foundation Scholarship Endowment in Optometry is a gift of $100,000 which will support up to four recipients who plan to serve the Southeastern Alabama region after graduation.

On Tuesday, May 7th, the UABSO Alumni Association hosted a panel discussion for fourth year students entitled, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” The panel consisted of recent graduates, and provided practical advice about the transition from being a student to becoming a practicing optometrist.

Jillian Ziemanski, OD, MS, FAAO, research assistant professor at the UAB School of Optometry, has been awarded a 5-year K23 grant for $717,250 from the National Eye Institute to evaluate mechanisms of autoimmunity in patients who have dry eye disease due to primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS).

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).

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) Platinum Certificate program provides UAB teachers with more advanced professional development opportunities in teaching. To receive the certificate, participants must earn at least 100,000 additional points beyond the 100,000 points required for the CTL’s Gold Certificate. These points must include at least 70,000 “Platinum” points which are earned by attending specially designated Platinum-level workshops, through teacher observations, and by completion of a capstone project and presentation. The remaining 30k points may be either Gold, Green, or Platinum. Only six educators total have earned this special designation at UAB since the start of the program in 2018.

Here is a Q&A with Dr. Pucker regarding the benefits of earning the prestigious certificate and challenges along the way: