Eye on Education

ASCO’s Future Faculty Program Prepares Residents and Graduate Students for Careers in Academic Optometry

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Eighteen residents and graduate students from eleven schools and colleges of optometry attended the 5th biennial Future Faculty Program (FFP), a program designed to prepare participants for securing and excelling in faculty positions.

This biennial initiative was held on January 17-19, 2020 in Dallas, Texas and was coordinated by ASCO’s Future Faculty Task Force, which is co-chaired by Dr. Mika Moy, Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UC Berkeley School of Optometry, and Dr. Jeffrey J. Walline, Associate Dean for Research, The Ohio State University College of Optometry.

The FFP is comprised of formal presentations, workshops and shared activities in the areas of teaching and learning, academic culture, and professional development. Each attendee developed career plans through the mentoring program. 94% percent of this year’s program attendees stated that the program met or exceeded their expectations.

“I thought this program was extremely helpful. It made me understand the ins and outs of being a member of a faculty and there were aspects (ex: scholarship, teaching, service) that I didn't know were so important. I feel much more informed now and confident to pursue a career in academic optometry.”

“I felt the weekend exceeded my expectations and the individual breakout groups for graduate students versus residents was very helpful. The target of topics and information provided was informative and helpful for future goals and potential track for career choices.”

Successful FFP graduate student candidates must attend required classes and participate in pre- and post-program activities. Those meeting requirements and obtaining certificates for the 2020 program include:

  • Reynolds Ablordeppey, SUNY (Graduate Student)
  • Amrit Bilkhu, UCBSO (Resident)
  • Brandon Chuang, NECO (Resident)
  • Mickinzee Combs, NOVA (Resident)
  • Harrison Feng, SUNY (Resident)
  • Mariana Ferraz, NOVA (Resident)
  • Mari Fujimoto, PUCO (Resident)
  • Stephanie Gee, IUSO (Resident)
  • Steven Huynh, ICO (Resident)
  • Jessica Jasien, UABSO (Graduate Student)
  • Konstantina Kalas, IUSO (Resident)
  • Laura Pardon, UHCO (Graduate Student)
  • Maureen Plaumann, OSU (Graduate Student)
  • Dana Rhea, NSUOCO (Resident)
  • Keyur Savla, UABSO (Graduate Student)
  • Charlotte Wang, UCBSO (Resident)
  • Natalie West, UABSO (Resident)
  • Jana Widell, SUNY (Resident)

The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry would like to express its appreciation to Walmart and Sam’s Club for being the sole contributor to the program.

ASCO will begin accepting applications for the 2022 Future Faculty Program in August 2021. For more information on the program, contact ASCO’s Director of Meetings and Special Interest Groups, Ms. LaShawn Sidbury, CMP, CAE, at lsidbury@opted.org or (301) 231-5944 ext. 3012.



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