Name: Stephanie Schwartz 2022 Student Visionary Spotlight

Class Year: 2022

What is your specialty or area of focus (if applicable)?
Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation

List the award(s) / scholarship(s) you have received
Esther J. Werner Memorial Award for Academic Excellence Suny Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence (special recognition)

What does receiving this award or scholarship mean to you?
It feels good to be recognized for the hard work I put into this program and makes earning my Doctorate that much sweeter.

What drew you to the field of optometry?
When I was taking the PSAT’s as a sophomore in high school, I started to experience intermittent near vision blur, which lead me to my first eye exam. Less than halfway through the exam, I knew I wanted to become an Optometrist. The idea of what kind of Optometrist I wanted to be and why I wanted to be one greatly took shape and solidified during my time as a scribe for Dr. Don Blackburn at his VT specialty private practice in Wilmington, DE. I was introduced to the world of VT and what Optometrists can do utilizing lenses and prisms. I truly fell in love with it!

What are your plans following graduation?
I am joining a primary care practice in Westchester County where I will be incorporating my passion for VT.

What advice would you give incoming or prospective optometry students?
Optometry school is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s okay not to finish everything on your to-do list or to give yourself a night off from studying to decompress. Be sure to be kind to yourself during a process that will challenge you in unexpected ways. And although you will be alongside 90+ classmates who are studying for the same practicals/exams, there are multiple ways to cross a finish line- do what works for you!