Amy: Greetings from Memphis, TN! I’m Amy Puerto, and I’m one month away from being a third year at Southern College of Optometry! While I’ve lived in several states before, I call Kentucky home. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and Communication from Bellarmine University (hello, NCAA Division II Basketball Champions!). I was recently elected to a third-term as SCO’s class of 2015 president. After graduation, I plan to go back to Kentucky and practice in the Appalachian region. When I’m not thinking about eyeballs 24/7 I enjoy creating recipes and baking, running road races, travelling, and catching up with friends.
Amy: I have had such a fulfilling experience serving on the BoT, it’s hard to narrow down one thing. One of the great benefits of the board is that it gives the trustees an avenue to learn more about each other’s schools. The trustees truly have each other’s backs as we grow as student advocates. While we all face the stressful demands of optometry school, I’m empowered by how every member of the board recognizes the potential that our students have in the future of our profession.
OS: What do you think is the best advantage that AOSA brings to students?
Amy: AOSA brings a collective voice to represent students at a national level, and boy do we have a lot to say as students! As THE doctors of tomorrow, our current professional colleagues want to hear from us, and how they can help in our transition from student to optometrist. As students, we will all have a unique hand in the future of our profession, and AOSA wants to make sure its student members are ready for when that call to action comes.
OS: What have you learned from being a part of the AOSA Board of Trustees?
Amy: I’ve learned to never underestimate the power change can bring to an organization. Along with transitioning our new Executive Council leadership, the AOSA Board recently hired a new Executive Director. These changes have been a step forward for the organization as we embrace the progress ahead of us. Moreover, by serving as a trustee I’ve learned to recognize the importance of building strong relationships with our allied partners, from the AOA and OS.com to our legislative and industry partners. The AOSA can only become a stronger student advocate when it’s seated at the table alongside these other influential groups within our profession.
OS: What do you think is the best way for optometry students to get involved in optometry outside of school life?
Amy: You can bring optometry into almost anything you do outside of school, from volunteering in underprivileged areas to starting up a conversation with your walled-eyed bartender at your local pub. However, we need more students rallying around organized optometry. I heard it once said that legislators know the story of optometry, but the question is, whose story is being told? It doesn’t matter if it’s with your local state association or by attending a “Day on the Hill” event in the capital of the state your school is located in, I believe we all have the responsibility to don our white coats and represent our profession proudly.
OS: Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
Amy: I’ve been known to occasionally throw down a pretty mean rendition of Nicki Minaj’s ‘Super Bass’ …and I ran my first half-marathon in November! Look for me running in the Optometry Cares 5k at Optometry’s Meeting.
OS: Where do you see yourself practicing after graduation, and in what type of setting?
Amy: I’m looking forward to practicing in rural Eastern Kentucky. Since moving to Kentucky, the state has really become my home. As it would be, the state is full of optometric opportunities for new graduates too! I look forward to furthering the goals of the Kentucky Optometric Association and eventually becoming a legislative leader for the Commonwealth.
OS: What has been your greatest achievement thus far?
Amy: Can I get a new question?! Pinning down one achievement that’s my greatest is a tall order – there are so many life experiences I’m proud to have achieved. Most importantly, none of it would have been possible without several people working alongside me and encouraging me along the way. So let’s just say I feel very fortunate for the many opportunities I’ve had so far, I look forward to reaching many more goals ahead, and to share this experience with the many people that have supported me on this life journey.
OS: If you were stranded on an island and you could only bring three things what would they be?
Amy: Easy, something to get me off the island of course!