Congratulations to Abby Jakob for being this month’s “Optometry Student in Focus!” Abby hails from Ontario, Canada and is currently a 3rd year student at the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO). Abby was nominated for her service and involvement in the ICO community.
She is President of the ICO Leo Club President, which is a community service-based club associated with the International Lions. This past January, she put on a competition between each class at ICO to see which class could collect the most glasses to donate. These glasses were sent on mission trips. This was ICO’s first ever glasses donation and Abby plans to keep it an annual tradition. Altogether, ICO students helped donate 1,100 glasses thanks to Abby’s simple but helpful idea!
In addition to the glasses competition, Abby helped organize and run four successful sports vision screenings this past year. Abby also traveled to Morocco on a Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) mission trip in February where she spent 10 days giving eye exams to those in need.
Abby is also her school’s Tomb & Key Honors Fraternity President, which is an academic society for those holding a minimum GPA of 3.75. Abby was nominated as President in her 2nd year at ICO. In addition, Abby is the class representative for ICO’s Class of 2014. She helps organize school events such as the annual Boo Bash, Optometry Night Live, and Eyeball. She is involved in a lot of behind the scenes work, communicating with classmates, faculty and administration, and she also organized her class’s externship selections.
In her free time, Abby plays intramural sports and is a member of her 2-time gold medal-winning floor hockey team named “US-Eh!”
Interview with Abby Jakob ICO 2014 and winner of Optometry Student in Focus March 2013
You were nominated by an ICO colleague for March 2013’s “Optometry Student in Focus” because of your extensive extracurricular involvement and exemplary leadership at ICO. What compelled you to take on so many roles at ICO, and how do you find the time to be so involved and still be able to keep up with academics? Were you always this involved in school?
I have always enjoyed getting involved because it helps me meet new people and also forces me to do something out of my comfort zone and make me a better person. After I successfully complete something it feels so good and motivates me to take on something else! I never want to feel static or like I’m not being useful, because then I wouldn’t be making myself better. I find the time because I enjoy it. There’s always enough time when you really want to do something. I was always involved in sports growing up so I think that has made it natural for me to manage my time and still do well in school.
During your career at ICO, what has been your greatest accomplishment and why?
I am very proud of the success of the glasses donation fundraiser that I launched. It feels amazing to have the support of your whole school and do something altogether that will benefit so many people. The turnout was more than I could have even imagined! Thank you ICO!
Do you intend to remain actively involved in the profession once you graduate? If so, how do you hope to translate your extracurricular achievements into practice?
Yes! I have reaped so many benefits by being involved. I plan on becoming a member of the Lions Club as well as an InfantSEE provider. I will continue to promote what I believe in and help others live life to the fullest. I also want to continue to participate in mission trips and make that an annual event. It not only helps thousands of people less fortunate, but refreshes you and reminds you of why you chose optometry.
If you could relive your last three years at ICO over again, what would you do differently and why?
I wouldn’t change a thing! I’ve been so blessed with a positive experience here at ICO. We have great teachers, amazing friends, and one of the best cities in the country! It’s been an incredible three years!
Any advice to aspiring and current optometry students?
Get involved! Even though it may seem overwhelming, it is worth the satisfaction of feeling like you did something that made a difference. Challenge yourself to become better each day and you’ll be surprised at how many things you can do.