Name: Laura Baldino 2025 Student Visionary Spotlight

Class Year: 2025

List the award(s) / scholarship(s) you have received
Dr. Nathan and Laura Millman Scholarships

What does receiving this award or scholarship mean to you?
It is an honor to be selected for the Dr. Nathan and Laura Millman Scholarship. I am so grateful for the generosity of the donors. This scholarship will lighten the financial burden of student loans and living costs and allow me to focus on my studies and becoming a well-rounded optometrist. I am so thankful for the support and recognition of Dr. Millman and SUNY. I hope that one day I can show the same generosity I was given and return to SUNY to award scholarships to future students.

What drew you to the field of optometry?
I have always loved science and had a strong desire to help others. After graduating from Boston College in 2018, I worked in cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering on the Upper East Side. I loved being a part of projects that would advance healthcare and felt that for my next step in life I wanted to get more involved with direct patient care. I spoke on the phone with a BC alum who I knew had recently graduated from optometry school and was delighted to hear how much she loved the profession. Soon after that I scheduled time to shadow my local optometrist and even sooner after that I started a job scribing at the same practice. It was so inspiring to hear so many optometrists speak about how much they love what they do and how rewarding their profession is. Working at a private practice solidified my thoughts. I appreciated how the doctors had such close relationships with their patients and could see myself forming those bonds with my own future patients. I am more than happy I have entered the field of optometry and cannot wait for what the future holds.

What are your plans following graduation?
As a current second year student I am learning about the different specialties and modes of practice available in optometry. One reason I was particularly drawn to the field of optometry was because I found all of the specialties interesting. I am especially interested in ocular health but am also looking forward to learning more about vision therapy, low vision, and contact lenses in my future courses. I am interested in doing a residency after graduation and look forward to working and learning with other optometrists.

What advice would you give incoming or prospective optometry students?
I would advise incoming optometry students to remember that everything we are learning is for our patients! Instead of thinking of school in terms of exams and deadlines, try to learn the material for the sake of being the most well-rounded, prepared, knowledgeable optometrist you can be.