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Our Students

Find out why some of our students decided to pursue their degree in optometry at the SUNY College of Optometry through their personal testimonials.


Jassimine Davis, Class of 2016

Home State: New York
Alma Mater: SUNY Albany
CSTEP Student


“Optometry is a career that provides both the patient and the doctor the opportunity to improve their “vision”. I look forward to growing both professionally and personally with patients especially within the minority community.”




Amy Steinway, Class of 2015

Home State: Arizona
Alma Mater: University of Michigan


“Growing up with a grandfather who gradually became blind due to retinitis pigmentosa, I quickly learned that simply having vision is a privilege. The experience with my grandfather’s struggle increased my interest in the field of optometry. After shadowing optometrists, I learned that this profession has constant challenges and opportunities to grow with the changes in medicine, technology, and science to deliver optimal patient care. I hope that by studying optometry, I can make a difference and improve the quality of life for many individuals by enabling them to see the world around them.”




Stefan Levay-Young, Class of  2015

Home State:  California
Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin


“I have required vision correction since the 7th grade; and over the nine years subsequent to that optometrist appointment I have discovered an abundance of reasons to consider the profession optometry as my career, but I will only list a few important ones. To start, the profession of optometry has expected job growth through the next 20 years amongst the highest (See: consistently ranked in the top 10) of any profession. Optometrists also consistently earn spots on both the highest salary and highest job satisfaction lists. This is largely due to the variety of specialties within optometry and enormous flexibility with regards to how you want to practice optometry. Most importantly however, optometry is an amazing profession because you are improving the quality of people’s lives every single day (except weekends and most holidays).”



Anna Lange, Class of 2015

Home State: New York
Alma Mater: SUNY New Paltz


“As someone who took the time to fully explore all options, I was very fortunate to be exposed to the field of optometry. Due to my endless devotion to working with people, this profession greatly appealed to me for its commitment to provide the highest standards of care to give back to patients.”


“Real Success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.” -David McCullough




Oscar Leis, Class of 2015

Home State: New York
Alma Mater: SUNY Stony Brook
CSTEP Student


“Optometry is a fulfilling and gratifying career that not only allows me to refract but treat a variety of different ocular diseases. I like the option of specializing in many different areas and the ability to create a relationship with and serve a diverse group of people.”




Angela Nguyen, Class of 2015

Home State: California
Alma Mater: UC Davis


“My name is Angela Nguyen and I’m a student at the State University of New York College of Optometry. I decided on this profession because I believe everyone deserves to see well and to their best potential. One shouldn’t have to lose their ability to see before they appreciate the importance of sight. I chose to attend SUNY because although SUNY is challenging, the program is designed to prepare us to be the best optometrists we can be. And last but not least, New York City is more than just a noun. The people to meet, the places to go, and things to do, eat, and see are endless!!”




Wilzen Anne Abubo, Class of 2016

Home State: New York
Alma Mater: CUNY City College
Recipient of Spielman Scholarship


“My love for science, leadership and service has pushed me to pursue optometry. It may be a profession that demands extensive and continuous learning, but optometrists are independent and they positively affect people’s lives on a daily basis.”




Tea Avdic, Class of 2016

Home State: New York
Alma Mater: Utica College


“While job security factored into my decision to enter the field of optometry, I also wanted to pursue a rewarding and challenging career. SUNY’s reputation for high board exam scores and excellent clinical education placed SUNY Optometry at the top of my list. Moving to one of the world’s most vibrant and diverse cities was an added bonus!”




Laura Zavilensky, Class of 2016

Home State: New Jersey
Alma Mater: Rutgers University


“I chose the field of optometry because I want to help improve quality of life and allow society as a whole to enjoy the most of what their visual system has to offer. This is a field that will allow me the opportunity to work in a clinical environment where I can help alleviate problems associated with ocular and physical health.”




Vanessa Fimreite, Class of 2016

Home State: California
Alma Mater: USC


“Optometry is such a rewarding profession! In optometry you have the opportunity to really connect with the people you help and you are able to see the change you have on their life almost instantly! Vision is the most precious sense we have, and I am excited to spend my life helping people maintain a healthy visual system.”




Natalie Lau, Class of 2014

Home State: California
Alma Mater: UC Davis


“The field of optometry combines my passions of working with people and helping others. While shadowing Dr. L, a low vision specialist who drove a few hours out of town each month to see her patients who didn’t have the means to get to the local office, her passion and willingness to help her patients is what recalled my own passions and reinforced my decision to pursue optometry. Furthermore, the field encompasses a wide range of eye diseases and conditions, and offers many career options and opportunities to learn. I went on my first mission’s trip to Nicaragua after my first year at SUNY, and I’m excited to have found a career where I can work with many different people in various communities.”




Daniel Epshtein, Class of  2015

Home State: New York
Alma Mater: CUNY Brooklyn College


“I learned about the profession by shadowing and speaking to optometrists in several clinical settings including small practice, commercial, hospital, and academia. Exploring the profession led me to observing at SUNY Optometry where I was first exposed to clinical research. I am currently exploring clinical correlates between several ophthalmic imaging devices to aid in the differential diagnosis of various retinal and optic nerve diseases.”




Rhonda Carr, Class of  2014

Home State:  New York
Alma Mater: Williams College


“As someone who has depended on vision correction from an early age, I personally knew how important good eye care was in allowing me to attain my personal and professional goals. I chose the field of optometry so that I could give back to my community in a meaningful way, and so that I could give them the eye care they need to also become and remain active members of society.”




Rima Bakhru, Class of  2015
(Class President)

Home State:  New Jersey
Alma Mater:  University of Maryland


“While I’d always wanted to be a health care professional, I first became intrigued with Optometry after my grandmother developed a sight-threatening condition known as age-related macular degeneration. Her experiences helped me to realize how fundamental vision truly is.


Besides being interested in the subject matter, I liked the fact that optometry school would allow me to specialize immediately. However, although the profession is so focused, the career, itself, is extremely dynamic. There are a myriad of options when it comes to specialties: vision therapy, ocular disease, specialty contact lenses, pediatrics.


Beyond this, there is a choice of work setting. With an OD I could potentially work within a hospital or at a privately owned practice. I can choose to be an entrepreneur, a teacher, or a researcher. However, no matter which I decide on, I can rest assured that I will be helping my fellow human beings.


The best part of all about this profession, is how fulfilling it is! I am excited and proud to dedicate my life to preserving the vision and health of others.”




Elaime Hernandez, Class of  2014

Home State:  New York
Alma Mater:  Fordham University


“My decision to pursue optometry was driven by my aspiration to reach out and provide eye care to many, in the goal of giving to others the opportunity to SEE their fullest potential, to dream and live happier and more fulfilled lives.


I chose SUNY for its academic excellence, dedicated faculty, and well-rounded and diverse clinical environment.”