OS: Stefan Levay-Young is a member of the American Optometric Student Association Board of Trustees. He is the outgoing Trustee for SUNY State College of Optometry and the newly elected Treasurer for the AOSA. Stefan, tell us a little about yourself!
SL: I was bred in Berkeley, California and buttered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. I completed undergrad at The University of Wisconsin (go Badgers!) and now I’m here in New York, which has given me the rare opportunity to live on both coasts and in the Midwest. I enjoy watching and playing almost all sports except baseball. I was a band geek in high school, but you would never know it based on how cool I am now. I prefer sans serif fonts, and truly believe that BBQ sauce goes on everything. I also love, but am horrible at, bar trivia.
OS: What has been the best part about being a member of the AOSA Board of Trustees?
SL: The best part has been the opportunity to meet new people. Whether it’s students at my own school, or students, faculty and optometrists from all around the country, being an AOSA Trustee always gives you an introduction and an opportunity to get to know people you otherwise never would have met.
OS: What do you think is the best advantage that AOSA brings to students?
SL: The opportunity to get involved. There are so many optometry students that sometimes it can be difficult to set yourself apart. Getting involved with the AOSA not only provides the opportunity to differentiate yourself from other students/optometrists, but to do so by getting involved on a national level with programs, initiatives, and ideas that benefit the profession of optometry as a whole!
OS: What have you learned from being a part of the AOSA Board of Trustees?
SL: The greatest skill I’ve learned is time management. Optometry school can be overwhelming at times (read: all the time), so adding AOSA responsibilities on top of that really makes you prioritize. I wouldn’t trade it for anything though, because it also gives you a lot of perspective on what is really important to you.
OS: What do you think is the best way for optometry students to get involved in optometry outside of school life?
SL: Obviously I’m biased, but the AOSA is truly one of the best ways to get involved. There are so many opportunities for students to give back to their own schools and to the profession of optometry at large.
OS: Do you plan on doing a residency? If so, in what area?
SL: I’ve gone back and forth on this a lot. I think it’s easy for 1st years to come in, hear about a residency, and say, “Well, what’s one more year?” I also think its easy for 4th years to get jaded after so many hours of clinic and say, “Get me out of here right now and so help me God if you try to make me stay for one more year.” I’m currently leaning towards yes just because I want to do academia later. I would probably study contact lens because you always need that younger patient base to keep you up to date on what’s cool in the world.
OS: Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
SL: I can touch my tongue to my nose, which I’ve broken 2 times.
OS: Where do you see yourself practicing after graduation and in what type of setting?
SL: I will probably return to Madison (WI) or Chicago because the Midwest is the best. I know a lot of people reading this in CA and NY don’t know where, or even what, Wisconsin is, but that’s fine because then there’s more for me. I’m going to try to start in a corporate setting to repay loans, and then move to a private practice and academia combination.
OS: What has been your greatest achievement so far?
SL: I’m very tempted to say completing 2nd year of optometry school, but winning the Spirit Award at this year’s Varilux Student Bowl XXII trumps even that. I’m so proud of SUNY for going all out this year, and I’d like to take this chance to give a shout out to our Spirit Leader Stephanie Gendal who, along with my fellow SUNYites, deserves all the credit.
OS: If you had a time machine to go back in time what would you change in history and why?
SL: Whenever Isaac Newton decided he would invent calculus. I would go to that moment in time and stop that whole nonsense from happening to save myself a lot of unnecessary anguish in high school.
OS: If you were stranded on an island and you could only bring three things what would they be?
OS: Who is your celebrity crush?
SL: Hands down Emma Stone and I don’t even know why.
OS: If you could go to dinner with someone famous who would it be and what would you say to them?
SL: My idol is Donald Glover. If you don’t know him, look him up (http://goo.gl/pFyz). I mean, the dude was a writer for SNL while still an RA attending NYU. He’s made movies, internet skit videos, and acted in a very successful TV show pretty much all at the same time. Oh, and he also raps. And not like “1,000 view-Youtube” rap. Like “selling out shows all over the country” rap. I would love the opportunity to talk about how one person can maximize their potential to extent that he has.