Keylee Brown was born in Florida and raised in the small north Georgia mountain town of Dahlonega, “Home of the First Gold Rush.” She attended The University of North Georgia, one of our nations seven senior military institutions, as a non-military student. It was there that she met her husband Dan, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, and an Officer in the US Army. Growing up in a community with a strong affinity for service, going to a military university, and living with the rigors of being the spouse of a soldier instilled in her a great love for our servicemen and women, and a passion for our country. Before optometry school, Keylee was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel the world with her husband in the Army.
Keylee applied to optometry school and got accepted to IAUPR in 2011. This school was the perfect fit for her because she wanted to learn Spanish fluently, and have the unique experience of living on a tropical island. Living on an island seems like the perfect place, right? She has had a great time so far in school while learning and exploring the geographical and cultural treasures of the island!
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and her beautiful fur baby, Roxie. She enjoys hiking and exercising outside along the waterfront, as well as on the mountains of the island and back home in the Appalachians. Additionally, she enjoys traveling the world and learning about different countries. Cooking cultural foods is something that Keylee and her husband love to do together. Keylee has been extremely involved during her optometry school career. She is a member of VOSH, the orientation committee, and is the the IAUPR trustee for AOSA. She is also a member of the Core Leadership Team for OptometryStudents.com, and serves as secretary as a member of the Executive Council of the AOSA. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about optometry, and she stays on top of the latest happenings in the field.
Keylee: I have a very extensive to-do list and a great calendar. I am very structured and schedule out my time almost every day. I plan out how much time I want to spend studying, eating, going to the gym etc. It helps me stay on track!
OS: What are your hopes and dreams?
K: I hope to one day be an influential female in the field of optometry, and an entrepreneur owning my own practice. My dream is to have a family and a house on some land with a view with a white picket fence and maybe a couple cute farm animals.
OS: Do you have any advice for the pre-optometry students?
K: Dream big and never give up! The sky’s the limit!
OS: What kind of practice setting do you want to be in one day?
K: I would like to be in a private practice setting one day, be it as the sole doctor or with an associate, either a fellow OD or an MD that works part time. I want to be able to adapt with the future of optometry and provide patients with the best care possible.
OS: What do you foresee being one of the things that optometrists will have to adapt to?
K: I think the online sales of glasses and contacts is one of the biggest things that optometrists have to deal with. The patient is so enticed with these websites and they want to cut out the middle man, when in fact they are creating a middle man. I think one easy way to stop this is better patient education. The old saying tends to hold true here: “you get what you pay for.”
OS: How did you become IAUPR’s AOSA Trustee? What path brought you here?
K: I learned about AOSA when I took a tour of IAUPR prior to becoming a student. I thought it sounded really appealing to become involved with an organization like AOSA. I have always been involved in different service organizations and representative groups from a young age. I have been on student councils throughout my educational career and it just seemed like the next step for me. I loved being engaged in making a difference.
OS: What type of problems are you good at solving? What do the students you lead say about you?
K: I feel like I am good at recognizing things that could be improved upon and figuring out solutions to make them run more efficiently. I am a problem solver as well. I am known for being calm under pressure, and I think this helps a lot in a group dynamic. With a husband in the military and a deployment under our belts, it really helps you put stress into perspective. I hope the students I lead say good things! I really try to encourage people to dream big while being realistic, and to take ideas and run with them. If you haven’t failed lately then you are probably not pushing yourself to your full potential.
OS: What are you most passionate about professionally? What excites you the most about your work and the contribution you make?
- K: I am passionate about keeping the small private practice model alive in the growing field of optometry, especially in rural areas where that type of care is essential. I am excited about practicing full scope optometry in a rural area one day, and providing specialty care to these deserving people. I really have a love for ocular disease and enjoy helping those that suffer from dry eye.
OS: What are you passionate about personally? What can’t you stop talking about?
- K: God, my family, exercising, being outside, traveling, fashion, and fun jewelry! 🙂
OS: Where can we find you when you’re not busy at school or working? What do you enjoy to do on the weekends?
K: I love to be outside, whether I am just enjoying the beautiful scenery or exploring and finding new places. I also enjoy cooking and hosting little get-togethers at my house.
OS: Where did you grow up and why aren’t you there now?
K: I grew up in a wonderful little town in the mountains of North Georgia. I am not there now because I am pursuing my dream to be an optometrist, but hopefully one day I will be living there again!
OS: How do you want to be remembered?
K: I would want people to remember me as a woman of faith that is a helpful and hard-working individual who makes light of any situation!
OS: Will you continue to apply and excel at leadership positions within optometry?
K: Yes, I can see myself always being involved. I would like to be active within my state optometry association and the AOA in the future.
OS: Who have you worked with in the past that has inspired you?
K: The person that first inspired me to become an optometrist is Dr. Suzanne Kimmons. She is a successful business woman and a visionary. She has a unique office setting with zebra print carpet, beautiful mosaic sinks, 1000s of flowers on the ceiling in the bathroom and lime green walls. She is a fabulous doctor and has a passion for her patients.
OS: Are you as amazing as your dog thinks you are?
K: This is a funny question…but I hope so!