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SUNY announces optometry career development center

April 4, 2012

From left, Peter Shaw-McMinn, O.D., keynote speaker, and College President David A. Heath, O.D., at the SUNY symposium.

More than 200 students, residents and young alumni attended the State University of New York (SUNY) State College of Optometry’s first Career Symposium on Feb. 12, 2012.

In his welcoming remarks, college President David A. Heath, O.D., announced the day-long program was the first step in the establishment of the college’s new Career Development Center, which college officials feel will break new ground in programming and services for students.

The center will offer highly personalized and purposeful services to students, residents and alumni by involving them in their own career explorations and deliberations in ways that are uncommon at most American colleges of optometry.

It is a goal of the Career Center’s strategic plan to ensure 90 percent of alumni are in positions of choice five years after graduation.

“The establishment of the SUNY Career Development Center has been an important goal of our five-year strategic plan, A Shared Vision. The center represents a heightened institutional commitment to our students and alumni by proactively synchronizing co-curricular opportunities with key career decision points throughout their educational and professional development. The effectiveness of this innovative effort can only be measured by our students’ professional success,” said Dr. Heath.

Students attending the inaugural symposium were presented with a variety of career options ranging from private practice, Veterans Affairs hospitals and research to positions in industry, academia and community centers.

“Optometry is listed as one of the most popular, dynamic and profitable careers in America today,” said Peter Shaw-McMinn, O.D., keynote speaker, national consultant and assistant professor at the Southern California College of Optometry. He added, “This Career Symposium is unique. To my knowledge, no optometry school or college offers this experience to their students. It gives the SUNY students a competitive advantage over students in other schools. I salute SUNY for hitting a homerun.”

The three-track program included sessions on leadership skills, financial planning and debt management, practice options, work-life balance and developing a personal brand. 

“The process that we went through to develop this symposium proved to be every bit as valuable as the event itself,” said Jeffrey Philpott, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs and the person responsible for the Center’s creation. “What impressed me most was the way the entire college community came together to assess the need for career development and to respond by creating such a high caliber event.”

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