Student Focus 2023
Christina Gulch chose Ohio State Optometry because of its reputation for academic rigor. She says, “I want to know that when a patient sits in my chair that I have the education that can provide them the best care possible.” As a third-year student, her favorite experiences so far have involved problem-solving while interacting with patients.
Zak Bogosian has always been a hands-on learner, so he is incredibly well suited to Ohio State Optometry’s immersive, experiential program. He says, “Time spent in the pre-clinic is just as valuable as time in the library. What is even better is finally being able to apply our skills and knowledge in the exam room on real live patients!” Outside of the classroom, Zac has connected with his fellow students and networked with optometry alumni as a musician. He has joined the eye-conic “Bad Habits: The Eye Docs of Rock” onstage at a number of events in Columbus, Washington, D.C., and even New York City!
You’re not seeing double! This month’s #OSUopt Student Focus is on twins Nathan Stefan and Joshua Stefan. While these brothers don’t always agree, when it came to selecting an optometry school, Ohio State was their top and only choice. After a tour of the college as prospective students, Nathan remembers being “… blown away by how engaged everyone was with answering my questions and the commitment the college was making to improving facilities for our education. It's the reason I only applied to Ohio State; there was no plan B.” Joshua was equally impressed, and says, “I wanted to be one of the best and every year, Ohio State turns out the most accomplished class of optometrists in the country. The low student-to-instructor ratio, smaller class size and amount of clinic experience prior to graduation all convinced me that Ohio State was the place to go.”
Ruth Regassa knew that she wanted to pursue a career in optometry after volunteering at the Faith Mission clinic with Dr. Joan Nerderman. Participating in the Improving Diversity in Optometric Careers (I-DOC) program made her choose to study optometry at Ohio State. “I-DOC allowed me to meet (virtually) the faculty at the college and the impression I got was how supportive everyone was,” she says. “I knew that optometry school was going to be hard, but I also knew that I would be supported in every way here at Ohio State.” Now in her second year as an #OSUopt student, Ruth has already traveled with the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists on a service trip to provide eye care in Jamaica, and she looks forward to more service opportunities.
Halea Kohl (’25) decided that she wanted to be an optometrist in middle school. She says, “At the time, getting to say ‘I want to be an optometrist’ made me feel unique because no one else in my class dreamed of being an eye doctor. I knew I wanted to work with people in a way that could make a huge impact, and when I remembered how much I benefited from going to the optometrist, I just felt that it was the career for me.”
Anna Mitchell, who came to Ohio State Optometry all the way from Simcoe, Ontario, says, “My favourite part of school is being surrounded by so many people passionate about the field of optometry.” As a member of the Class of 2026, she values the genuine friendships she has formed during her first year. She explains, “Attending the same classes together for several hours each day allowed me opportunity to become close with my classmates. We are all there to support each other with the challenging curriculum and plan many events to meet socially and give our brains a break.”
As she prepares to begin her second year as an #OSUopt student, Insam Alsanai looks forward to applying what she learned in the classroom in a clinical setting. She appreciates Ohio State Optometry’s thoughtful curriculum design and says, “The idea of completing didactic work within the first year and then mastering clinical skills during the second year gives the students the time to truly absorb and grasp the information at a consistent level. I believe this will give the students the ability to focus on each skill set without having to juggle didactic courses with clinical courses. The way the program has been laid out made me believe that Ohio State Optometry is a strong institute that takes pride in graduating the best-skilled doctors every patient deserves to have!”
As a child, Clayton Richardson thought glasses were so cool that he pretended to have blurry vision, but his optometrist saw through his shenanigans. Clayton’s 20/15 vision remains strong, and he now focus his appreciation for glasses and all things eye-related on his studies as an Ohio State Optometry student.
After shadowing several different medical professionals as an undergrad, Juliana Mazzotta realized that nothing felt as right as optometry. “It was the perfect combination of everything I was looking for in a career. Not only are we able to make a huge difference in the lives of our patients, but the work-life balance is incredible, the community across the country is like a family, and the doctor-patient relationships you’re able to build are so unique and special.” Now, as a second-year student, Juliana credits her Ohio State Optometry classmates and professors for creating an environment in which she can thrive and live up to her full potential.
University of Michigan graduate Pearson Miller put all rivalries aside when choosing an optometry school and chose the best option – Ohio State. “I chose Ohio State Optometry for in large part the value of the education. I knew I would be receiving an unrivaled education,” he says. “Between the OD/MS and the Graduate Business Minor, I knew Ohio State Optometry would open many doors outside of the 9-5 professional life.”
Out of every school Shihij Takoo considered, “Ohio State Optometry had the most established and successful combined OD/MS program, which was a huge benefit.” She enjoys Ohio State Optometry’s “unique combination of a small school energy with the backing of a large, research based campus in a growing city” and truly shines as a student leader in the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), National Optometric Student Association (NOSA), and the Inter-Professional Council (IPC).
Katie Exline (Class of 2024) grew up in Southeastern Ohio, where most kids dream of becoming Buckeyes. She says, “Ohio State Optometry was always my number one choice, and as I became more familiar with the college community, I knew it would be a great fit for me. From professors to peers and attendings to alumni, everyone involved with Ohio State Optometry is kind, supportive, and genuinely invested in your growth as a developing optometrist. More importantly to me, they’re invested in your growth as a person and providing opportunities for you to learn inside and outside of the exam room.”