On Wednesday evening, April 20th, thirty students gathered for “Meet the Fellows,” a dinner event hosted by the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) club at NECO. The evening both honored student fellows and provided them with information about how to become AAO Fellows after graduation.
NECO’s Meet the Fellows event began as Chris Kendrick, OD, FAAO, of Korb and Associates, shared her experiences about becoming a Fellow of the AAO. To join the AAO Fellowship, participating ODs must undergo a rigorous process as the work to receive the FAAO designation. Dr. Kendrick reflected on how becoming a Fellow has benefited her career. She also shared stories about her experiences attending Academy. NECO AAO club advisor Professor Aurora Denial, OD, FAAO, Diplomate, reassured students about the fellowship interview process and offered advice about next steps.
In addition to the FAAO status for ODs, the AAO offers a student fellowship program. In order to achieve the Student Fellow status, optometric students must attend a rigorous CE schedule at the AAO conference, attend paper and poster presentations, as well as attending several meetings, sessions, and a Section or SIG Symposium.
Twenty-one NECO students were recognized for achieving the status of Student Fellow at the AAO conference last fall in New Orleans. A mix of first, second and third year NECO students completed the Student Fellow program last year and were recognized for their accomplishments with certificates.
Nineteen students were also recognized for the work they presented at the AAO meeting and presented with certificates.. To present, students must submit their proposals and have their work accepted by the conference organizers. Presentations at AAO conference can include independent student research and public health posters from the first year Vision Health Care class. Each year, the AAO-NECO club sponsors one public health poster group to attend the AAO conference.
Student Fellow Steven Weifenback, Class of 2017 noted, “Becoming a student fellow was a great experience, not only in getting to meet students from other schools, but also learning from the variety of insightful courses offered."
Students who achieved the Student Fellow status include:
- OD 2017: Angeliki Arvanitoglannis, Audrey Chu, Avani Dave, Rebecca Deffler, Tamara Granner, Courtney Stuck, Michael Merritt, Thu Nguyen, Francesca Sefton, Kayla Spangenberg, Katelyn Vilasi, Elizabeth Wassenaar, Steven Weifenbach
- OD 2018: Maria Coward, Jeffrey Ferrucci, Micaela Gobeille, Andrea Magbanua, Julia Mockler, Denis Shlosman, Lenna Walker
- OD 2019: Mary Troyer
Photo: Students received their AAO Student Fellow certificates at “Meet the Fellows” with Dr. Denial and Dr. Kendrick.