Alumni Focus on LeVelle R. Bristow Jenkins (OD'88)



Columbus, OH

Were you the first optometrist in your family?


Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?

Ohio State has the best optometry program in the country and as an Ohio resident, in-state tuition allowed for minimum debt.

Which degree(s), related to optometry, did you earn at Ohio State?

I received the Doctor of Optometry degree in 1988 and specialized in Pediatrics.

Name a mentor from the College of Optometry or a person who had a positive effect on your education.

Dr. Jackie Davis was and continues to be my mentor.


Where do you practice, currently?

I retired from Ohio State optometry in 2007.

Briefly explain some of your daily job responsibilities or patient interactions.

While at the college I was the Director of Outreach and Engagement where we opened eye clinics in underserved areas in Columbus; Director of Externships and Assistant Professor of Clinical Optometry.

Tell us a special story that relates to your career now.

A few years ago I ran into a gentleman who received a free eye exam and glasses when our eye clinic at Faith Mission was on the third floor of the men’s shelter. He said that he was gainfully employed, married and owned a house off of Parsons Ave. He knew I didn’t recognize him but he was thankful for the care and kindness he received that day. I’m thankful for being afforded the opportunity to witness such a transformation.

What’s one thing you learned during your education which has affected you most in your career?


Why did you choose a career in optometry?

I became fascinated by the human eye in third grade. I chose a career in optometry because it allowed me the opportunity to provide excellent patient care in an office setting with regular business hours.

What optometric issues concern you the most?

Since optometry is essentially a legislative career, we’re often enthralled in a battle of inclusivity or exclusivity which can be exhausting.

Advice for other aspiring optometrists.

Study hard and choose a school with world-renowned faculty who genuinely care about your success - Ohio State Optometry.


Most memorable moment(s) at Ohio State.

Carpooling to Chicago with Dr. Earley. Mike always took the road of least diversity and most resistance.

What are your current hobbies, volunteer work, interests?

I love to sing, dance, read and take long walks in the park.

If not an optometrist, I would be ...

I’d be a veterinarian because I love animals.

Final thoughts ...

My Favs:

  • Favorite Falls: One day I was getting ready to take the dog for a walk. When I opened the front door, Casey (the dog) spotted a cat across the street and took off. I was yanked out of the house, lost my footing and fell into the bushes and got gum in my hair.
  • Favorite Fails: Having the exam room stool roll away just as I was sitting and hitting the floor as my A-line skirt went over my head. Turns out my male patient had excellent vision on that day.
  • Favorite Movies:
    • Starring an animal: Marmaduke
    • Comedy: This is 40
    • Sci Fi: Aliens
    • Espionage: The Sum of all Fears