Class Year: 2022
List the award(s) / scholarship(s) you have receivedDr. Max Cohen Memorial Award for Volunteer Commitment to Community Service
What does receiving this award or scholarship mean to you?I am very thankful to be recognized with this award. I have a solid interest in providing eyecare to underserved communities and I hope to continue to motivate the next generation of eyecare providers that are representatives of their communities.
What drew you to the field of optometry?During my undergraduate studies, I participated in a in a 2-week enrichment program at SUNY Optometry. Interning at the CSTEP Winter Program provided an invaluable experience that included workshops, seminars as well as clinical observations throughout the clinic floors. These interactions increased my knowledge of the profession as a whole and solidified my decision to pursue such a wonderful career.
What are your plans following graduation?Following graduation, I will be pursuing a residency in Ocular Disease with Emphasis in Cornea and Contact Lenses/Refractive and Ocular Surgery at Fromer Eye Centers. As an intern, I have received extensive clinical training throughout my clinical assignments. I have grown tremendously from the moment I stepped into optometry, and I am eager to continue this learning journey and become an outstanding clinician by creating lasting relationships with patients and providing excellent care.
What was your most transformative experience during optometry school?Oftentimes, a language barrier may lead to miscommunication and a reduction in satisfaction of both medical providers and patients; Therefore, it could pose an impact on the quality of healthcare delivery and patient safety. For a lot of patients, I’m their first Spanish-speaking provider ever. Patients are very appreciative of our interactions; Thus, being able to directly communicate in their native language minimizes some of those challenges. As an immigrant, my upbringing has certainly shaped my values, morals, and has provided me a broader understanding of the immigrant experience. I intend to use my experience as a non-native English speaker to actively listen to not only Spanish-speaking patients but a whole generation of non-English speakers that may feel left out or not listened due to a language barrier.
What advice would you give incoming or prospective optometry students?There will be challenging times during the program; However, I can assure you that the didactic portion and clinical rotations will provide the tools necessary to develop a high level of clinical competency in providing full scope optometric care. Remain motivated, passionate, and curious.