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November 14, 2013

Doctors Share Advice, Wisdom with Students at Networking Event

It was an evening of collaboration and collegiality when two students clubs, the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA) and the Student Optometric Association for Private Practice (SOAPP), joined forces with SUNY Optometry’s Career Development Center (CDC) to host the inaugural “Networking with the Doctors Social.” Both student clubs and the CDC have been working hard to engage students in meaningful activities designed to help them better understand their career options and lead them to professional fulfillment and success.

Fifteen doctors and more than 50 students took part in a “speed dating” activity intended to showcase doctors from a wide variety of practice modes and specialties, each of whom had followed a unique career path. The goal was to help students gain a broader knowledge of the professional options that will be available to them once they graduate.

During the program, a small group of students spent several minutes engaging directly with each doctor. This enabled each of the students the opportunity to ask each doctor specific questions related to his or her career path. Doctors rotated among each of the small groups in order to speak with and field questions from all of the students.

“The Networking with the Doctors Social was a perfect way for students to ask their burning questions and get perspectives from a diverse group of doctors in a condensed period of time,” explained Lina Cawog, a Class of 2016 OD student.

SUNY Optometry’s CDC has put a particularly strong emphasis on exposing students as early as possible to a variety of optometric career options, and providing them with a better understanding of what will be available to them once they leave the College. The recently launched Family of Mentors program as well as the annual Career Symposium, both produced by the CDC, give students a critical opportunity to connect and learn from their soon-to-be professional peers. The Networking with the Doctors Social hopes to build on this important theme and provide students with even more opportunities to learn from professionals.

“There was a buzz in the air. You could see the engagement from both the students and the doctors as wisdom was being passed from one generation of doctors to the next,” said Francisco Lucio, director of career development and minority enrichment at SUNY.

The program was capped by a reception where doctors and students could continue their conversations and make even deeper networking connections.

“The event brought students into contact with doctors from a variety of practice modalities,” Jenny Soo Hoo, president of SOAPP, said. “Students had the opportunity to strengthen their networking skills while also learning from each doctor's personal experiences.”

The Networking with the Doctors Social, which is expected to be an annual event, was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Allergan.