Evan Tirado, Class of 2017, was recently selected to join the national leadership team for AOSA, the student branch of the American Optometric Association (AOA). AOSA represents over 6,700 students from 23 colleges of optometry in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
Mr. Tirado has been an active member of the AOSA chapter at New England College of Optometry, serving as the trustee for the College this year and the trustee-elect for the 2014-2015 academic year. In January, he was elected to serve as treasurer for the national council. Joining him on the leadership team are President Erick Henderson from the Southern College of Optometry, Vice President Lauren Fereday from the MCPHS University School of Optometry, and Secretary Christen DeMoss of Salus University/ Pennsylvania College of Optometry.
Below, Evan Tirado shares some of his thoughts on AOSA and his new role.
How were you selected? Were you nominated or did you choose to run?
Tirado: I was nominated by other members of the AOSA Board of Trustees. Each nominee then had to work to secure the votes of a majority of school representatives through speeches and other means. It is a huge honor to have been elected considering the amazing talent found in the AOSA board of Trustees and the Executive Council.
Can you tell us a little more about AOSA’s Executive Board?
Tirado: I’ve been elected as the next Treasurer of the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA). The Treasurer is one of four Executive Board Members that serve to guide the AOSA Board of Trustees which handles the business of running the AOSA. The Board of Trustees is comprised of two students from each optometry school, who each serve a two year commitment on the board. The first year they serve as a Trustee-Elect, mostly learning the ropes and adding new ideas. The second year they serve as Trustee where they act as the voice of the students in their school on the national level, voicing concerns and working to improve the student experience.
What will you do as Treasurer for the national organization?
Tirado: The AOSA Board and Executive Council meet throughout the year to discuss the business of the AOSA. This primarily occurs at two major meetings, but there are a lot of other conference calls, meetings, and emails throughout the year. We travel quite a bit in order to meet all of the need for AOSA representation at events and national meetings and conferences. For example, just this past week I made a short trip to represent the AOSA at a medical career event, speaking to undergraduates about a future in optometry.
As for the duties you might expect, the Treasurer is responsible for maintaining the financial health of the organization by monitoring the incoming and outgoing funds as well as looking for ways to provide more funds through investments, and sponsorships. Additionally, the Treasurer chairs the benefits committee, overseeing the benefits that each student looks forward to each year in optometry school. These include things like t-shirts, binocular vision kits, water bottles, mugs, and a new surprise this year… graduation cords for each graduating AOSA member.
Why did you become part of the AOSA at NECO?
It’s really important to me to be involved in the way our profession develops and to ensure that we continue to evolve our scope of practice and influence as physicians. Personally, I also really enjoy the opportunity to help other students get the most out of optometry school they can while making every effort to be one of the many excellent students from the New England College of Optometry (NECO).
What would you like others to know about AOSA?
Tirado: I think it’s easy for students to get wrapped up in all that is happening in their classes and they sometimes forget the work that is being done around them. The AOSA board members are an amazing bunch of students who each put in a lot of work that often doesn’t get seen since it occurs behind closed doors on a national level. I’m not sure the average student knows that much of the AOSA business is handled by the Board of Trustees and the Executive board. This means that students of the AOSA are directly responsible for things like discussions with the National Board of Examiners, Student Events at national meetings, Insight Magazine, and much of the work to improve the student position and development opportunities.
What do you hope to accomplish in this role?
Tirado: As I mentioned, the AOSA board is comprised of about 50 students serving the 23 (soon to be 24) schools and colleges of optometry, so I will have plenty of help. However, I think it will be important to continue to work with great industry partners and to secure new ones. This really allows us the opportunity to provide the students with more benefits at a minimum cost of membership. I’m also lucky to have an incredibly supportive new wife who understands the challenges of the position and realizes what it means to me to represent the students and NECO.