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A Path Paved by Dr. Marvin Poston: My Journey from Optician to OD

By Ade Owolewa

I was speechless when I found out I had received the 2022 Dr. Marvin R. Poston Leadership Award from VSP Vision and the National Optometric Association. Dr. Poston was a trailblazer in our field and one of the few early voices who paved the way for folks like me. To be recognized with an award in his name was an incredible honor, and I gratefully accepted the baton to continue his great work.

A Student and an Optician

So, fun fact: I’m already an ABO-certified optician! My optometry journey began in private practice optical, where I had the privilege of working with an OD who encouraged me to follow in her footsteps. I took her advice and enrolled in the New England College of Optometry (NECO), where I’m currently working toward a career that impacts people’s lives the way she and other ODs do.

A Legacy of Leadership and Service

Even before winning the leadership award, I was inspired by Dr. Poston’s legacy of leadership and service, as these are two core values of mine. During my time at NECO, I have served in several leadership roles that exemplify Dr. Poston’s vision of equality and giving back. These positions have helped me promote the profession, give minorities and other students a voice, and establish connections that will support me throughout my optometric journey.

VSP Vision: Co-founded by Dr. Poston

My relationship with VSP Vision began when I started working as an optician and experienced VSP as a phenomenal insurance provider for everyday people. In the spirit of its co-founder, Dr. Poston, VSP has really shaken the industry to provide greater accessibility to good, quality glasses and ultimately better vision and a better quality of life.

As an optometry student, I have experienced VSP Vision as a consistent and supportive presence on campus. I consider the members of the VSP Schools of Optometry team to be friends—I can call or text any of them any day of the week with any question, and they’re always happy to help. VSP supports us financially with scholarship and grant opportunities, encourages and uplifts us, and facilitates a sense of community that will sustain us throughout our careers.

Part of the Greater Mission

I am so proud to have won this award and to be a part of the greater mission of improving accessibility to eye care. “As Eye See It,” Dr. Poston’s trailblazing work made it possible for many of us to further that mission, and I’m honored to continue on his path.


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