Illinois College of Optometry Takes Top Honors at Essilor Optometry Student Bowl


Illinois College of Optometry student Taylor Harris is jubilant after correctly answering the winning question at Essilor’s Optometry Student Bowl.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Taylor Harris, a student from the Illinois College of Optometry, propelled his team to victory at the 26th annual Essilor Optometry Student Bowl (OSB) Thursday by correctly answering the winning question concerning the correct contact lens power to order for an infant with an aphakic eye. In addition to bragging rights, the Illinois College of Optometry took home $1,000 and the coveted crystal trophy, renamed the “Ventura Cup” last year to honor Essilor’s Danne Ventura, FAAO, one of the event’s founders.

Second-place winner, Fernando Elias from the New England College of Optometry, received $750 and third-place winner, Brennen Yaquinto from the Ohio State University received $500. As in previous years, each OSB contestant was presented with a Volk Pan Retinal 2.2 blue ringed lens, generously donated by Volk Optical president Pete Mastores. Additional awards included:

• Spirit Award: University of Missouri at St. Louis (UMSL) which will create next year’s rules video.
• The social media-based Virtual Spirit Award was a tie between Kentucky College of Optometry and Northeastern State University at Oklahoma.
• AOSA T-shirt design competition: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS).

(L to R) At the Essilor Optometry Student Bowl, Essilor’s Stephen Shawler, Howard Purcell, OD, Janelle Routhier, OD, Danne Ventura and Ryan Parker celebrate with the first-, second- and third-place winners.

More than 2,000 attendees gathered to watch the contestants—students from all 24 schools and colleges of optometry—answer optometry-related questions while their fellow classmates energetically cheered them on wearing war paint, school colors and displaying brightly colored banners. This year, the OSB also welcomed the University of Pikeville, Kentucky College of Optometry as a first-time participant.

“Year after year, the Essilor Optometry Student Bowl continues to be a highlight of the conference and this year is no exception,” said Rod Tahran, OD, FAAO, vice president of professional relations and clinical affairs for Essilor of America and event co-creator. “We have had the privilege of challenging optometry students by putting their knowledge into practice in a fun and competitive setting for more than 25 years, and it’s been an honor to watch them excel in furthering their own careers and while making a lasting impact on the industry.”

This year’s panel of judges included:
• Lead judge Linda Casser, OD, professor, Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University; author, educator, clinician, and 1997 American Optometric Association (AOA) Optometrist of the Year.

Students from Illinois College of Optometry Celebrate Winning the 2017 Essilor Optometry Student Bowl.
• Diane Adamczyk, OD, author, lecturer and professor at State University of New York College of Optometry and 2016 PCO Alumna of the Year.
• Joe Shovlin, OD, president of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), 2012 AOA-CLSC Legend Award winner who holds positions with Review of Optometry, Optometric Management and Contact Lens Spectrum.
• Samuel Pierce, OD, VP of the AOA, UAB 2010 Alumnus of the Year, past-president of the Alabama Optometric Association and in private practice in Trussville, Ala.

Karla Zadnik, OD, past president, AAO, dean at the Ohio State University College of Optometry, 2014 National Optometry Hall of Fame Inductee and past president of ASCO.