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Optometry Graduates Help Current Students Graduate Strong

Four optometry school graduates share their thoughts on debt, licensure, insurance, and AOA resources

On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, over 100 current students at New England College of Optometry gathered to listen, ask, and learn from recent graduates at the 2nd annual Graduate Strong program, sponsored by the Alumni Association. The program, planned and managed by the Student Council, was open to all current NECO students and sought to connect current students with recent graduates to discuss some non-optometric but related topics such as debt management and licensing. The goal was to help prepare students for graduating with a strong footing in regards to their future practice or career. Primary participants were OD2 and OD 3 students.

This year’s speakers included Daniel Bastian, OD ‘12, Beth Harper, OD, Angelique Sawyer, OD, and Joe Silva, OD ’13. As recent graduates, each speaker shared personal and timely advice on handling post graduate issues such as debt management, practice insurance and credentialing, licensing, employment search and AOA resources. Alumni Association President, William Gleason, OD ’74, served as MC for the event and student council members played lead roles in managing all aspects the evening. The audience’s overwhelming concern was the reality of graduate school debt. The presenters encouraged the students to take advantage of their all resources available to them and gave specific examples of websites and associations. They also urged students to be proactive in managing their debit and never to doubt the value of their optometric education.

Students were able to spend additional time with the speakers during a dinner reception which followed the presentation.

Recognizing NECO’s strong student enrollment from Canada, on April 30th, the Alumni Association will sponsor a related event called Graduate Strong: Canadian. Alberta native and current faculty member, Nicole Ross, OD ’11 championed its launch and has worked diligently to bring together Canadian alumni practicing on both sides of the border. The panel will address optometric topics specific to Canadian graduates. Members of NECO’S Canadian Club are enthusiastically assisting Dr. Ross with event logistics.