Eye on Education

Optometry Learning Experience a Valuable Recruiting Tool

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Rachel Antwi-Boasiako, a junior at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., was conflicted about what she wanted to do with her life. While pursuing a degree in biological sciences with a minor in psychology, she was struggling with the intent for her future career path.

And, then she met Shanae Johnson, MBA, an admissions officer at Salus University, at a Rutgers Office for Diversity and Inclusion in Sciences event.

“I had this long conversation with her. I was very conflicted about what I wanted to do and she told me about optometry and how I could still work with pediatrics, which is something I’m very passionate about,” said Antwi-Boasiako, a resident of North Brunswick, N.J. “And, then she told me about the Optometry Learning Experience at Salus, so I registered and got accepted.”

Antwi-Boasiako was one of 35 prospective students who attended the annual Optometry Learning Experience (OLE) the week of Jan. 6, at the University’s Elkins Park, Pa. campus. The OLE program, which has been a part of the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) for approximately four decades, is designed to offer participants an opportunity to step into the shoes of students in the Doctor of Optometry program, as well as offer a general outlook on the profession of optometry as a whole.

“We bring them to our campus and let them engage with different students, take different courses, learn more about the profession, hear from our faculty and tour the facilities,” said Johnson. “I think it’s important because it actually gives them a hands-on learning experience of what optometry is and what it would be like to be an optometry student.”

The OLE program was divided into two sessions of two-and-a-half days each over the course of a full week. When the students weren’t in sessions, they had the opportunity to explore the greater Philadelphia area. Some took the train into the city for a visit to Reading Terminal and there were two evenings where the University sponsored dinners to give the students – all from different undergrad institutions – an opportunity to get to know each other.

Schools represented by the students attending included Binghamton University, Brandeis University, Cabrini University, George Mason University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, James Madison University, Lafayette College, LaSalle University, Moravian College, Mount St. Mary’s University, Penn State University, Rowan University, Rutgers University (New Brunswick and Newark), Shippensburg University, Spelman College, St. John Fisher College, SUNY Geneseo, Syracuse University, Temple University, University of Maryland Global Campus, University of Waterloo (the first time the program has hosted a Canadian student), West Chester University and Wilkes University.


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