SUNY Student Organizations


American Optometric Association Political Action Committee (AOA-PAC)

Student Liaison:Angela Nguyen ‘15
Assistant Student Liaison:TBD
# of Current Members:86

Mission Statement: The AOA-PAC supports legislation that advances the quality, availability and accessibility of eye and vision care to the public. AOA-PAC encourages and supports involvement in the political process and supports candidates for federal office.
Description of Activities: Each year, we attend the Congressional Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C. and lobby for support from State Representatives and Senators for several pieces of pro-optometry legislation. At the 2012 CAC, we lobbied for two bills regarding optometric participation in the National Health Service Corps, allowing for federal loan forgiveness in exchange for working in an underserved area of the US, and for full Medicaid reimbursement for optometrists. The 2013 CAC will be in September; more information to come!
When/where are meetings held? Look out for meeting announcements in January.
How do I join or become a member? Becoming a member of AOA-PAC is a great way to learn what laws affect optometry and to increase the control you have over your future. You are a part of the profession, and optometric organizations like AOA-PAC are our investment in our future as well as the future of optometry and patient care. Come to our first meeting in January to learn about how to join and get involved. Contact Matt Vaughn ( if you would like to join.

American Optometric Student Association (AOSA)

Trustee:Stefan Levay Young ‘15
Trustee-Elect:Christine Morra ‘16
Faculty Advisor:Dr. Philpott
# of current members:All SUNY students are automatic members of AOSA.

Mission Statement:The purpose of the American Optometric Student Association is to improve the visual welfare and health of the public, to promote the profession of optometry, and to enhance the education and welfare of optometry students. AOSA represents nearly 6,000 students from all 22 schools and colleges of optometry.  AOSA is the national student affiliate of the American Optometric Association; when you become a member of AOSA, you automatically become a member of the AOA as well. AOSA is also the liaison between students of optometry and other affiliated national optometric organizations including: NBEO, ARBO, AFOS, AOA-PAC, COVD, APHA, FRC, OEPF, AAO, and ASCO.  AOSA and AOA work hard as the voice of optometry as a whole to protect and expand the scope of practice and ensure you can utilize all of the tools you learned in school to the fullest extent possible when you graduate and start practicing.

When/ where are meetings held?Students are encouraged to attend all organized optometry meetings at SUNY as well as the annual AOA/AOSA Optometry's Meeting.

How/does a student join/ get involved? All SUNY students are automatic members of AOSA. Check your email for information on meeting times and contact the Trustee or Trustee-Elect for more information about getting involved!

Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK)

President:Barbara Mendoza '16
Vice President:Charlene Sun ‘16
Secretary:Lisa Nguyen ‘16
Treasurer:Anna Yun ‘16
Faculty Advisor:Jeffrey Philpott
# of Current Members: 64

Mission Statement:To stimulate scientific attainment, academic excellence and the ethical practice of optometry; and to promote and provide financial support for worthy research projects relating to vision care and the eyes.
Description of Activities:Clinical tutoring for students who ask for help learning clinical techniques
Volunteer to help out in Optional lab.
When/Where meetings are held?Fall and Spring meetings are held at school in the classrooms.
How does a student join/get involved?Invitation to membership is extended to second, third, and fourth year students possessing the following record of achievement:

To be eligible for BSK membership, a student must attain a grade point average of 3.5 in their first professional year, a cumulative GPA of 3.4 in the first two years, a 3.3 cumulative GPA for the first three years and a 3.2 cumulative GPA for up until the first half of fourth year.


Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS)

President: Simran Sethi ‘15
Vice President:Kaushal Chinnusamy 16’
Faculty Advisor:Dr. Philpott
# of Current Member:20

Mission StatementTo increase student awareness about current issues and challenges facing the profession of optometry in Canada and to encourage communication and involvement between students and their future co-workers in Canada.
Description of activities: CAOS strives to keep  Canadian students updated on topics such as: current scope of practice for Optometrists in Canada and Canadian board examinations.  
When/Where meetings are held?One to two times per semester at SUNY
How does a student join/get involved?All Canadian students are members. Contact President, Simran Sethi ( to fill out CAOS student application.


California Student Optometric Student Association (COSA)

President: Nareh Keshishyan
President-Elect: Azinda Morrow
Class of 2017 Representative: Karen Molina
Class of 2018 Representative: TBD
# of current members:40

Mission Statement: The purpose of this chapter is to increase student awareness and promote membership of the California Optometric Association, promote student involvement in current legislative issues regarding the optometric profession, expose students to state scholarships, and offer students opportunities to interact with optometrists and industry representatives currently working in California. This club is designed to promote organized optometry at the state and national level by working in cooperation with AOSA, NYSOA, and related organizations.

Vision Statement:

Guarantee all Californians use of optometrists as the primary providers of quality eye and vision care.

When/Where are meetings held?Approx. 1-2 per semester
How does a student get involved?

Facebook: (Send a request to join)

College of Optometry in Vision Development (COVD)

President: Ora Esfahani
President Elect: Elyse DeWitt
Faculty Advisor:Dr. Audra Steiner
# of Current Members:N/A

Mission Statement: At SUNY College of Optometry, the COVD club’s purpose is to expose optometry students to the vision therapy specialty early in their optometric career. We aim to raise awareness, passion, and interest within our student body to promote involvement in this integral part of Optometry: training and enhancing vision. After all, COVD believes that vision is more than just seeing 20/20! It is one of the specialties where Optometrists can really differentiate their knowledge and skills from other healthcare practitioners. Only optometrists are trained to conduct vision therapy, and by all means, treating strabismus is an art. To carry out its mission, COVD hosts speaker events throughout the academic year.

Our doctors are all fellows of COVD and practice behavioral optometry and vision therapy in their respective practices. By sharing their knowledge and patient care experiences, our presenters inspire students to explore this specialty, formulate their own standard of care, and join other fellows of COVD after the completion of their education here at SUNY.

When/Where meetings are held? 2 meetings/semester at  SUNY

How does a student join/get involved? Free student membership, email newsletter and student discounts for the Annual meetings. You can join COVD by clicking on the following link:

You can also attend lunch meetings and Annual COVD meetings to stay current or contact Gregory Borukhov at

Connecticut Student Association of Optometrists (CTSAO)

President: Patrick Doty
Vice President: Kristin Simoncelli
Secretary: Harsida Desai
Treasurer: Danielle Feder

Mission Statement: The purpose of this chapter is to increase student awareness and promote membership of the Connecticut Association of Optometrists, promote student involvement in current legislative issues regarding the optometric profession, expose students to state scholarships, and offer students opportunities to interact with optometrists currently working in Connecticut. This club is to be designed to promote organized optometry at the state and national level by working in cooperation with AOSA, NYSOA, and related clubs.

Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO)

President:Tracy Borst ‘16
Vice President:Loren Franke ‘17
Treasurer:Yang Pan ‘17
Bowery Leader: Anna Yun '16
Faculty Advisor:Dr. Joan Portello
# of Current Members:20

Mission Statement:FCO is a fellowship of Christians and non-Christians that aims to maintain community, growth, and outreach both in our personal life (bible studies, prayer) and also in the optometric field (Bowery, missions).

Description of Activities:We have bi-weekly lunch meetings with a time of sharing, Bible study, and prayer. We also have monthly community service at the Bowery where we give eye exams to the homeless. We have a yearly mission trip to Oaxaca, Mexico to serve the indigenous people there. Lastly, we plan events such as game night, dinners, and various casual activities to fellowship and to have a good time.

When/Where meetings are held? Meetings are usually held Wednesdays in room 1118 at noon.

How does a student join/get involved? Contact Tracy Borst or Loren Franke and we will tell you when our next meeting is.


Lions Club (LC)

President: Joanna Chu '16
Vice President: Lisa Nguyen '16
Secretary: Gina Bajaj '17
Treasurer: Pratik Patel '17
Faculty advisor:Dr. Soden
# of Current Members:83

Mission statement: Lions Club International statement: To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.

Description of activities: Vision Screenings, Blood Drives, Community Service/Volunteer events, Tutoring
Meetings held: 1-2 meetings per semester

How do I join/ Get involved: Email Joanna Chu ( or Lisa Nguyen ( for more information; $20 fee for Lions International


National Optometric Student Association (NOSA)

President: Mandip Kaur '16
Vice President: Marylynn Athis '17
Corresponding Secretary: Brieann Adair '17
Recording Secretary:  Vanessa Meyerowitz '17
Treasurer: Yang Pan '17
Faculty Advisor: Andre Stanberry
# of current members: 27

Mission Statement: To recruit minority students to schools and colleges of optometry; and to enhance the delivery, effectiveness and efficiency of eye and vision care services in communities with little or no eyecare presence.

Description of Activities:Vision screenings, volunteering, social events, high school
and college outreach programs, national conferences

When/where are meetings held? 1-2 times a semester at SUNY

How Do I Join/get involved? Attend the first meeting for more information. $20 application fee.


New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians (NJSOP)

President:Lauren Thompson, ‘16
NJSOP President: Dr. Rodolfo Rodriguez
 # of Current Members:105

Mission Statement: We are dedicated to advancing the profession of optometry and serving optometrists in meeting the eye care needs of the public. NJSOP is focused on improving the quality and availability of vision care and we fulfill this objective by providing reliable and current information regarding eye care and health care policies. One of our most important responsibilities is to educate the public to enhance and ensure competent, quality patient care along with promoting the importance of routine comprehensive eye exams. Additionally, NJSOP assists members in conducting their practices successfully in accordance with the highest ethical standards of patient care.
Description of Activities:NJSOP is the state association for optometrists practicing in New Jersey. We strive to be a resource and guide for optometry students throughout their education. NJSOP makes frequent visits to SUNY and PCO/Salus University...and more often than not, we bring Pizza!
Yearly events for students to get  involved in:

  • The Special Olympics at The College of New Jersey

  • Therapy By The Sea in Atlantic City, NJ

  • There is also a scholarship opportunity, the Dr. Leslie Mintz scholarship, awarded to one student annually.

  • NJSOP is a great way to network with doctors in New Jersey, and gain valuable information about your optometric career.

When/Where meetings are held? Meetings are usually bi-annual and held in either room 101 or 103. Lunch is always served. Flyers will be posted around the building upcoming meetings. How does a student join/get involved? To join, visit the student section of our webpage:

For more information, e-mail, come to a meeting, and "like" our facebook page:


New York State Optometric Association(NYSOA)

Trustee:Chelsea Ashlaw ‘15
Trustee Elect:Matthew Roe ‘16
# of Current Members:300

Mission Statement: NYSOA is dedicated to enhancing the vision care and health of the public and promoting the art and science of optometry. For eleven decades, it has continued to benefit individual doctors of optometry, the profession and the quality of life of New Yorkers. NYSOA plays a significant role in how optometry is perceived by other professions, government agencies and the public at large.

Description of Activities: NYSOA is a non-profit individual membership organization, which works with local affiliated optometric associations throughout New York State and is affiliated with the American Optometric Association. Members practice in a variety of settings including their own private offices, in association with other optometrists and ophthalmologists, and in hospital clinics and health maintenance organizations. Membership is open in special categories to full-time faculty members and optometry students. NYSOA members benefit from the associations community relations and public service efforts.

When and where meetings are held? Located throughout New York State, monthly meetings and special seminars provide for professional exchanges including policy on local, state and national issues. In their respective communities, local societies conduct a variety of activities including public relations projects and community screening programs at health fairs, senior citizen centers and schools.

How do students get involved? The best way to be involved is to attend the local society meetings, Student Society meetings, and to volunteer your time when appropriate. Contact student liason Anthony Zarella (


Student Chapter of American Academy of Optometry (SAAO)

President: Natalie Nguyen
Vice President: Celia Gong
Secretary/Treasurer: Jinyoung Choe
# of Current Members:10

Mission Statement: The purpose of this chapter is to increase student awareness of the American Academy of Optometry, promote student attendance at the annual Academy meeting, encourage and educate students about how to pursue fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry, and to foster interest in vision science research.

Description of Activities:  The goal of the SAAO is to both inform and involve SUNY students in the latest developments within optometry.  Doctors of the Academy have graciously donated their efforts towards helping students take the next step in their careers, thus shaping leaders and innovators for the future of our profession. 

When/Where meetings are held? 1-2 time per semester, locations TBA

How does a student join/get involved?Membership to SUNY's chapter is free and open to all optometry students, to full time students in the vision sciences and related sciences, and to in-house residents. In addition, student membership to the AAO is available for a flat fee of $30, which covers all 4 years of the OD program plus residency for recent graduates.  For more information and a copy of the application, please visit:


Student Chapter of American Public Health Association (SAPHA)

President:Beth Kuhr
Vice President: Jenna Blechman
Secretary: Tanya Ayzikovich
Treasurer: Kaushal Chinnusamy
Social Chair: Riti Chhibba
Social Chair: Kristen Johnson
Social Chair: Kathleen Hoand
Faculty Advisor:Dr. Rochelle Mozlin
# of Current Members:70

Mission Statement: To connect students who have an interest in public health, give opportunities to serve in the public health field, and to serve the general public with knowledge and resources to maintain healthy living and prevent disease. We would also like to connect with public health and students of other health disciplines outside of SUNY for health fairs and public health events in the NYC metro area.

Description of Activities: In addition to the general meeting each semester, SAPHA members provide eye health education at nursing homes throughout the NYC area, support Diabetes and Glaucoma awareness in the months of November and January through various activites within the college, fundraise for The Red Cross, host guest speakers at SUNY lunch meetings, contribute to preparation for the annual VisionWalk which supports the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

When/ Where are meetings held? The goal of the SAPHA is to have at least 3 general meetings or volunteer activities per semester. Meetings are held in one of the classrooms, depending on availability.

How does a student join/get involved? All students are welcome to the organization. We keep a list of interested members on our email list. All meetings are announced via school email.

Student Optometric Association for Private Practice (SOAPP)

President:Lina Cawog ‘16
President-Elect:Alyssa Shema ‘17
Advisor:Mr. Francisco Lucio
# of Current Members:All SUNY student body

Mission Statement: To inspire optometry students to pursue private practice and to provide information that addresses their concerns regarding private practice in order to instill confidence for success in private practice optometry.
Description of Activities: Lunch-time practice management seminars and after-school workshops with ODs and people in the optometric industry
When/Where meetings are held? Lunch meetings and Seminars are held every 1-2 months
How does a student join/get involved? Sign up at orientation or attend the first meeting for more information


Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH)

President: Samantha Rao
President Elect: Linda Shi
Secretary: Irene Frantzis
Treasurer: Alan Tsai
Database Manager: Mary Wu
Screening Coordinator: Jinyoung Choe
Social Media Chair: Apoorva Jinka
Fundraising Chairs: Kathryn Werner and Danielle Feder
Faculty Advisor:Dr. Gregory DiSanto
# of Current Members:100

Mission Statement: The primary mission of SVOSH is to facilitate the provision and the sustainability of vision care worldwide for people who can neither afford nor obtain such care.

Description of Activities: Weekly meetings include cleaning donated glasses and lensometry for future mission trips. On international mission trips, members provide eye exams and Rx glasses to people in developing countries.

When/Where meetings are held? Weekly meetings alternating between Wednesdays at 4:30 and Fridays at 4:00 on the 3rd floor student lounge. There are also Monthly NYSEE 20/20 visions screening for the underserved NYC community.

How does a student join/get involved? All students are welcome to join SVOSH. There is a membership due of $20 which includes a SVOSH shirt and pin. Attend the first meeting for more information.


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