Student Focus on Mitchell Pulleo


Mitchell PulleoName: Mitchell Pulleo
Pronouns: He/Him/His
Hometown: Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania
High School: Blackhawk High School
Undergraduate Institution: Gannon University
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Health Science
Anticipated #OSUopt Graduation Year: 2024


How old were you when you received your first eye exam? What was the experience like for you?

I received my first eye exam at the age of 10 after failing the annual school screening. Although the array of lights and drops were a little overwhelming, I remember being instantly intrigued by all of the neat instruments my optometrist used throughout the exam.

When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in optometry?

When I put on my first pair of glasses, I was amazed by the sharp and defined world that I had been missing out on while previously living with uncorrected refractive error. Throughout my time shadowing optometrists while in high school, I was pleased to witness other patients have similar experiences. I fell in love with the fact that eye doctors can greatly enhance the quality of a patient’s life and play a key role in their systemic healthcare over the course of a routine, 30-minute exam. It was then that I felt called to optometry and haven’t considered another profession since!

Why did you choose Ohio State Optometry?

Upon my interview day, I felt genuinely cared for by the faculty who were proud of the institution they represented, and I truly felt at home. The history of excellence and active efforts to enhance the profession that Ohio State Optometry holds allowed me to proudly and undoubtedly choose OSU to pursue my dream of becoming an optometrist.

What was your first impression of Ohio State Optometry?

Ohio State Optometry exceeded my expectations! With professors who treated the students like colleagues and peers who were all eager to pursue a similar goal, I felt very supported. Although learning was relatively independent throughout the first year due to COVID restrictions, it felt like a true group effort as we entered into the learning experience.

What surprised you most about Ohio State and/or Columbus?

Coming from a small undergraduate university, I must admit that I was a little intimidated when arriving to such a large institution. But I was happily surprised by the tight-knit family that Ohio State Optometry truly is on this campus. I was also happily surprised by the array and diversity of outstanding restaurants throughout the city!

Which clubs/organizations have you joined at Ohio State?

I am a member of Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, where I have been able to align my faith with my future profession and attended our annual mission trip to Jamaica this past December to conduct eye exams. I am also a member of EYE (Epsilon Psi Epsilon).

Who has most positively affected you during your time as an optometry student so far?

My friends, family, and the generous faculty of Ohio State optometry have been unbelievably helpful throughout my journey thus far. As a second-year student learning a variety of clinical skills, the clinic attendings have displayed patience and very supportive coaching as I begin to sharpen the skills and techniques that I will use on a daily basis in the future.

What has been the best part of your second year so far?

While diving deeper into coursework, learning clinical skills, and beginning patient interactions, it has been enlightening to begin the process of developing my identity as a clinician. Taking a closer look at “who” I want to be in the future and how to provide patients with the best possible care has motivated me to further reflect on what I can do today to benefit the healthcare I will provide in the future.

What advice do you have for students who are going through their optometry school application process now?

The first year of optometry school can certainly feel overwhelming at times, but in those moments, I would encourage reminding yourself of why you decided to enter into the profession as motivation to keep looking forward. I’d also encourage reaching out to peers and the faculty, because Ohio State Optometry truly is a family that is traveling the journey by your side. My last piece of (unsponsored) advice would be to look into the Panera Bread unlimited coffee subscription, it is potentially the best $8.99 a month you could possibly spend!