Important Advice from Our Graduating Writers

Here at, we are grateful to our recent graduates of the class of 2016 for all of their hard work. We wanted to take a moment to thank them and share their words of wisdom and advice for current optometry students:

Ben Emer (Illinois College Of Optometry) Ben Emer, advice

Ben was the outgoing Editor-in-chief of, starting as a writer on the site before starting optometry school and continuing until his graduation from ICO this May. After graduation, Ben will be working alongside his father, Dr. Peter Emer (ICO ’80) at Emer Eye Care in Kenosha, WI. Check out some of Ben’s articles below:

Ben’s advice for current students is: “Fully immerse yourself in as much as possible in school, from joining clubs to attending conferences. Form meaningful, lasting relationships with not only your peers and classmates, but also with people on your school’s faculty, people in the industry, and practicing optometrists. Also, try to gain a leadership role sometime in your school career, as this experience will benefit you one day when you find yourself running an office and managing staff.”

Hunter Chapman (Southern College Of Optometry)

Hunter Chapman, advice

Hunter became a content contributor the summer before his first year of optometry school and soon became the Director of Optometry School Relations after starting optometry school. When he became President of the AOSA, Hunter worked closely with to continue to provide important information for students and continued to enjoy spending time with everyone at conferences when traveling for AOSA. Check out some of Hunter’s articles below:

Hunter’s advice for current optometry students is: “I think one of the most important items on the list is to find someone or a small group of people with which you can both study and hang out. This proved to be helpful for me when I wasn’t understanding how to work a particular optics problem or when I needed to practice Part III of Boards with or even when I needed to vent to someone in times of stress. Surround yourself with quality people who can help you in both the short and long terms in every aspect of life.”

Alyssa Keating (Nova Southeastern University) alyssa keating, advice

Alyssa served as an Ocular Disease Journalist for the past two years. She is currently starting a residency in Ocular Disease at Braverman Eye Center in South Florida. Some of our favorite articles by Alyssa are:

Alyssa’s advice to current students is this: “Go to conferences as a student. They will never be as cheap again, and you will be able to make friends from other schools that will expand your network of future ODs to call for help and for patients. Read as many books as you can. Get as many old retina and refracting textbooks as you can. No matter whether your passion is disease, BV, or private practice-there is so much to be learned from these old books that has been forgotten by focusing on modern technology.”

Rebecca Lee (University Of California, Berkeley) rebecca, berkeley, advice

During her time at, Rebecca published articles on clinical optometry and student life, and represented at conferences, including Vision Expo East, Vision Expo West, and Optometry’s Meeting. After graduation, she will be pursuing a Primary Care Residency at a VA in Portland, Oregon. To see why she decided to pursue a residency and postpone working, check out her video interview on Below are some of our favorite articles by Rebecca:

Rebecca offers her words of wisdom for current students: “1) Step out of your comfort zone and network! Make connections with fellow optometry students as well as current ODs. You never know what wonderful friendships and career opportunities arise. 2) Find a hobby or mantra to keep you grounded during stressful times like cramming for Boards or handling a difficult patient. Make time to treat yourself so that you can be the best clinician possible for your patients.”

Janis Jamesjanis james, advice (IAUPR) 

Janis served as our Public Health Journalist for the past year. After graduation, she is pursuing a residency in ocular disease and refractive surgery at Woolfson Eye Institute in Atlanta, GA. Check out some of Janis’ articles below:

Janis’ advice to students is: “GET INVOLVED! My experience in optometry school changed completely when I decided to become a student leader. Optometry is such a small field, the relationships you establish with other students and ODs help you in the future. Work hard and become a great doctor…but it’s important to take your head out of the books and get involved!”

Adrienne Chan (Illinois College Of Optometry)adrienne chan, advice

Adrienne was the Director of Creative Content and published an article series called “The Unconventional Optometrist,” which she started because she wanted to introduce different sides of optometry and feature prominent ODs who set themselves apart in the profession. This year, she will be doing a residency in Vision Therapy/Low Vision Rehabilitation with an emphasis in Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation at Southern College of Optometry. She will continue to remain active with the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA) as she has since transitioned from AOSA National Student Liaison to NORA Student/Resident Grant Chair.

Adrienne’s advice for current students is: Get involved and build relationships. It’s never too late to start going to meetings, joining clubs and associations, or writing for OS. Keep an open mind and talk to as many people as you can when you’re a student. Optometry is a relatively small profession. It’s a very close knit community and the next person you talk to might end up being your future boss, mentor, co-resident, or your new best friend.  You never know!

Nicholai Perez (IAUPR) nicholai perez, advice

Nicholai served as one of the journalists as well as Director of Media. As a journalist, he sought out to interview and write about selected optometry students for our ‘Student in Focus’ series. As Director of Media, he helped to bring life to our team members’ articles by providing photographs for their written works. After graduation, he will be working at a vision therapy practice in La Jolla, CA. He learned Spanish from IAUPR and plans to to offer bilingual services for VT patients in need, especially in the Hispanic community.

Nicholai’s advice to current students: What makes you stand out is not only the grades or scores you receive in school, but the experiences you gain outside the classroom. Don’t be afraid to get involved! My optometry school experience was enhanced 10-fold being part of something that helped to promote our profession and push it forward.

Congrats and good luck to the Class of 2016! We’re proud of your accomplishments and you will be missed! 

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