The Essilor Optometry Student Bowl is one of the most anticipated events of the year for students around the nation. A contestant from every school is chosen during mini student bowls at each school and sent to compete for the title at Optometry’s Meeting each summer. Sponsored by Varilux and Essilor, the Student Bowl features music, excitement, school spirit, and more than a few humorous signs. If you’ve never been to one before, you can get a taste for what it’s like by viewing the live video coverage posted to our Facebook page here.
One of the fun things about the competition is that every school gets a chance to show off their personality. The AOSA representatives from each school choose a theme or slogan for the competition. Popular themes include a beach party, a football team, or a popular culture franchise. Then, the spirit committees from each school organize t-shirt designs, signs, and props to ultimately cheer their contestant to victory. A new level of school spirit began in recent years with the student-produced Meme Wars on the Optometry Student Bowl Facebook group. There’s a prize on the line, too–the school that wins the Spirit Award gets to make the next rules video.
This year, the Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry (NSUOCO) representative, David Hurd, took home the trophy. Our Optometry Student Bowl champion talked to us about his experience leading up to optometry school, his time playing football, and his day at the OSB. Let’s get to know David a little!
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born and raised in Monroe, LA. While I was growing up, I was always an athlete. I played football, basketball, and baseball throughout my childhood. Once I started attending West Monroe High School, I only played basketball and football. I was recruited to be a walk-on at the University of Arkansas for football. After 3 years of being on the team, I earned a full athletic scholarship. I also met my wife, Rachel, during that time. I was the starting left tackle for two years. After I graduated in December 2013, I moved to Pensacola, FL for about 2 months to prepare for my Pro-day to enter the NFL. While I was in Pensacola, Rachel came to visit me and I proposed to her at the airport. A few months later, I was signed as an undrafted free agent to the Miami Dolphins. Once I was released, I moved back to Fayetteville, AR and started going back to take classes to finish my pre-requisites for optometry school. I was able to finish the classes, take the OAT, shadow local optometrists and ophthalmologists, and apply for optometry school in the Fall of 2014. I was accepted to NSUOCO and SCO. I chose NSUOCO because of the class sizes, the disease-centered curriculum, and the ability to do laser and surgical procedures. I also got married to my amazing wife, Rachel Hurd, in the spring of 2015. I have now started my fourth year of optometry school and have loved every minute of it.
What do you do in your free time?
I love to spend time with my wife. We love to go on little adventures and trips, go to the movies, and go swimming. I love the Razorbacks and enjoy attending Razorback sporting events!
What are your future professional goals or plans?
I am hoping to join a private practice in Northwest Arkansas.
how did you feel leading up to the event?
I was fine up until we lined up to go on stage and they started announcing our names. At that point, I got really nervous. Once I sat down and the competition started, I was fine and was focused to win!
what was your favorite part of the Optometry Student Bowl?
My favorite part other than winning would be seeing my wife and friends from school going crazy on the front row.
Which new piece of equipment from Volk are you most excited about?
(note: the contestants were gifted equipment from Volk for their participation in the Student Bowl)
I am most excited about the 6 mirror lens. Now that I’m a fourth year, we are in glaucoma clinic so it will be nice just to pop that lens on there and look at everything and never have to rotate it.
Optometry’s Meeting 2018 Wrap-Up
Overall, Optometry’s Meeting this year was a blast! Opening Session kicked the meeting off featuring speaker Aron Ralston, author of Between a Rock and a Hard Place and who’s story inspired the movie 127 Hours, telling his story and getting everyone excited for the convention. The next few days included everything from CE lectures, to AOA+ Pop-Up Sessions, the coveted Luxottica Sunglasses Sale (in support of OneSight), and networking in the exhibit hall. Optometry’s Meeting Denver 2018 ended with a Celebration of Optometry featuring comedy by none other than Howie Mandel to send everyone home with a good laugh. It may be over for the year, but we are all looking forward to coming back together once again next summer for Optometry’s Meeting in St. Louis, MO!