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Eye on the Prize

Pre-Optometry Club sees significant growth in eyeglass drive
Students with donated eye glasses

This year the UMKC Pre-optometry Club collected 131 pairs of eyeglasses and 106 cases in their eyeglass drive that they will donate to the Kansas City Free Eye Clinic. This is more than double last year’s donations. 

“Since we are a pre-health club, reaching out to other health related, pre-professional departments made sense, so this year we asked the different schools if we could place boxes in certain locations,” Alexis Showalter, Pre-Optometry Club president, says. “We had boxes in Miller Nichols, Grant Hall, Flarsheim, the Health Sciences Building, Biological Sciences Building and Scofield Hall.”

The Pre-Optometry Society was founded by students in the School of Biological Sciences, though it is comprised of students from several academic units.  

“Being in a student organization such as the Pre-Optometry Society allows students to build their professional network.” –Tammy Welchert

Tammy Welchert, Ph.D., associate teaching professor and director of student affairs and academic advising in biology as well as advisor and advocate of the optometry club, suggested the broader collection and collaboration.

“Although the society was pleasantly surprised by the success of the eyeglass drive last year in SBS, we realized that if one school’s faculty could donate 56 pairs of glasses, expanding the program to the university would allow even more donations,” Welchert says. “We collected nearly three times the number of eyeglasses this year!”

Showalter encourages other students to get involved. 

“I would definitely recommend Pre-Optometry Society to younger students, even if they've never considered optometry or think they wouldn't enjoy optometry,” Showalter says. “Our meetings really educate students about the career and all the wonderful benefits it offers. It's opened a lot of doors and opportunities for me. I've been able to volunteer at Kansas City Free Eye Clinic, I've met optometrists to shadow, and now I work as a technician at Midland Eye which has been a great experience thus far.”

Welchert agrees that student organizations enhance students’ experiences at UMKC.

“Being in a student organization such as the Pre-Optometry Society allows students to build their professional network,” Welchert says. “They have the opportunity to interact with student colleagues who are interested in the same career path, admission and recruiting personnel from schools they may be interested in applying to, and professionals in the community that can provide informational interviews, shadowing, and even employment opportunities.” 

For more information contact Tammy Welchert at welchertt@umkc.edu.

Published: Mar 7, 2019

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