Optometry Students

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Jennifer Chen, OD
New England College of Optometry
Boston, Mass.

Chen began interning at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif., went on to volunteer at local private practices and worked as an eyecare advisor at LensCrafters. “Helping people see is a rewarding experience,” she said.

While at New England College of Optometry, Chen was active in student organizations and received the F. Dow Smith Award for leadership and the Dr. Hyman R. Kamens Scholarship for dedication to the optometry community.

After a trip to Taiwan, Chen plans to look for a job in primary care with a focus in pediatrics, vision therapy or low vision.

HER school SAYS...“She was the first woman president of the New England College of Optometry Student Council.”


Michelle DePeau, OD
Indiana University School of Optometry
Bloomington, Ind.

Originally from New Franken, Wis., with a BS in biology from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, DePeau says she always knew she wanted to work in the health care field. While an undergrad, she worked at a private optometric practice. She has served as president and treasurer of the Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH), confirming her dedication by traveling to Guanajuato, Mexico to participate in a week-long mission trip to provide eyecare there.

She served in leadership positions in the American Optometric Student Association, the American Public Health Association and the Gold Key National Honor Society.

HER school SAYS...“Michelle will strengthen her leadership skills and be a trailblazer.”


Lauren Goldsmith, OD
Southern College of Optometry
Memphis, Tenn.

In addition to being secretary for the 2010 SCO class, Goldsmith also served as a Student Ambassador, giving tours and answering questions for prospective students. In recognition of her academic achievements she received the Drs. Fred and Charlene Burnett Student Research Award for her work in patient care.

A graduate of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville with a BA in biology and a minor in Latin, Goldsmith will next complete a Family Practice Residency at West Tennessee Eye, a private group practice in Memphis. The Roanoke, Va. native said, “There are few family practice residencies and this one is a role model for me.”

HER school SAYS...“A wonderful young woman with unlimited potential.”


Lauren Grillot, OD
Ohio State University College of Optometry
Columbus, Ohio

Grillot completed a dual degree program in optometry and vision science at Ohio State while maintaining a 3.78 GPA and being involved in the optometric fraternity Epsilon Psi Epsilon. She was also president of Beta Sigma Kappa, treasurer of Gold Key and an active member of the American Optometric Student Association and the American Academy of Optometry.

With the help of Melissa Bailey, OD, PhD, Grillot’s thesis was a study of the ciliary muscle, accommodation and refractive error. She is working with Carolyn Davis, OD, in Troy, Ohio to help develop a pediatric and vision therapy division.

HER school SAYS...“Lauren is an outstanding clinician and scholar. She will undoubtedly be a future leader of our profession.”


Nicole Henriksen, OD
Illinois College of Optometry
Chicago, Ill.

After attending Black Hills University in Spearfish, S.D., Henriksen began her optical education at ICO and was amazed at all “you could discover about one’s overall health by examining their eyes.” A recipient of the ICO Faculty Scholarship, Henriksen was also an AOSA Trustee and Delegate. Honored with The Carl Zeiss Fellowship and the Cribbs Leadership Award, Henriksen will spend the summer working on her family ranch before heading West to Helena Vision Center in Montana “to start living my dream.”

HER school SAYS...“A distinguished member of the ICO class recognized by three honors societies.”


Brianne Hobbs, OD
University of Missouri - St. Louis College of Optometry
St. Louis, Mo

Hobbs insists that no “deeply inspirational story” led her to become an optometrist, however, she does thank hometown optometrist Anne Ream, OD, in getting her started in optical.

Her list of accomplishments while at UMSL includes Dean’s award for highest GPA and winner of the national AOA CLCS student essay contest. Hobbs also won numerous scholarships and was a member of several professional and honor societies. Currently a resident at the Kansas City VAMC, Hobbs is keeping her options open when her position ends next June.

HER school SAYS...“Brianne possesses an enviable and rare combination of high academic ability and compassion with an uncompromising pursuit of excellence.”


Kyla Hunter, OD
Pacific University College of Optometry
Forest Grove, Oregon

After completing two undergraduate degrees at the University of Calgary, in biology and psychology, Hunter decided to pursue optometry because “it allowed me to interact and build relationships with patients.”

She is currently working toward her Masters in Education and then it’s on to Grand Prarie, Alberta where she’ll join Northern Vision Center, a large group practice. Hunter received the 2010 Dean’s Award from Pacific University.

HER school SAYS...“She was always willing to roll up her shirtsleeves to get the job done.”


Amanda Nanasy, OD
Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry
Davie, Fla.

At Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Nanasy was class president and a member of the Nova Optometry Practice Management Association, College of Optometrists in Vision Development and American Optometric Student Association. Focusing on sports vision, she worked with the Orlando Magic, the Miami Dolphins and the NSU baseball team, as part of a presidential research grant.

Nanasy will continue with The Eye Center of Davis and Morris, the official eyecare provider for the Miami Dolphins.

HER school SAYS...“A well-rounded student. Her personality allows her to relate to any patient.”


Diane Russo, OD
SUNY College of Optometry
New York

For each of her four years at the College, Russo was president of the SUNY Optometry Class of 2010. Originally from Staten Island, N.Y., she received a BS degree in Health Science Studies from Quinnipac College.

She was the Trustee-Elect of the American Optometric Student Association while currently serving on the American Optometric Association Optometry’s Meeting Committee.

At graduation, Russo received the Morton L. Kimmelman Memorial Award for student leadership in organized optometry and the NYSOA Auxiliary Award for outstanding service.

HER school SAYS...“Diane is known for her tireless advocacy, and dedication to the profession.”