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Optometry’s Meeting® a chance for students to be entertained, get career-building help

April 18, 2012

By Ashley Scantling, O.D., chair of the Student Program Committee

Optometry’s Meeting®, June 27 – July 1, 2012, in Chicago, Ill., is the premier event in the ophthalmic industry, merging the meetings for the AOA and the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA). This meeting is not only fun for students every year, but it is of great importance for students professionally. It won’t be long before students will be venturing out into practice. Optometry’s Meeting® is a great place for students to get a jumpstart on their careers.

Optometry’s Meeting® is an excellent place to meet people who may provide significant help in the future. These people could be ODs, vendors or other students; the possibilities are endless. I have met many people at this meeting over the years who have enhanced my career. I encourage each and every student to take full advantage of the vast networking potential this meeting has to offer.

A key reason the student program at Optometry’s Meeting® is so successful is that it is designed for students by students. When developing the student education program, we keep in mind that students spend most of the year in the classroom being “lectured at.” The goal of the 2012 Optometry’s Meeting® Student Program Committee was to put students in a learning environment different from what they get all year in optometry school.

The student education program primarily focuses on practice management – an element that is not often offered in the classroom setting, but is very important as students enter their careers.

Thanks to the generous support of unrestricted education grants provided by The Vision Care Institute™, LLC and TLC Vision, there is no charge for students to take courses offered on the student program. 

Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity! As always, students are invited to take most OD and paraoptometric courses at a reduced rate of $5 per credit hour.

Student lecture door prizes are once again generously sponsored by HOYA.

The Exhibit Hall offers a great opportunity for students to start building vendor relationships. Optometry’s Meeting® attendees will enter the Exhibit Hall through AOA Central. AOA Central will be the hub of activity – it will house registration and the various entities of the AOA. Here you can learn about the AOA benefits provided to AOSA members. The Student New and New Graduate kiosk and the AOSA kiosk will be of particular interest to students. As you leave AOA Central and enter the Exhibit Hall, be sure to stop by the OptometryStudents.com booth.

Sight Quest is a fun, interactive approach for students to navigate the Exhibit Hall and learn about some of our industry partners. Students will be given a game card with questions. The object is to visit the designated booths in the Exhibit Hall and ask the corresponding question. Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered to win American Express gift cards valued from $250 to $1,000! Sight Quest cards will be distributed in the AOSA General Session, so be sure to attend.

It’s never too early to start thinking about a residency or a job after graduation.

Optometry’s Meeting® has the resources for students to explore opportunities for both on Friday, June 29.

  • The Optometric Residency Forum will allow students time to visit with residency directors about individual programs and application procedures. Once again, The Vision Care Institute™, LLC is generously sponsoring lunch for the first 250 students to register.
  • Optometry’s Career Center® will offer an “open mic” of job opportunities from employers and candidates, a career wall, and more. Questions about life after optometry school will be answered in Pathways – UNPLUGGED, an interactive class to help students begin planning their transition from optometric student to physician. Optometry’s Career Center® is co-supported by Marchon and Optos.

Students are exposed to a wealth of education, industry connections, and networking opportunities at Optometry’s Meeting®. But what would a trip to the “Windy City” be without some fun? Release some stress at these great events:

  • Students will be entertained and amazed by the mind-reading abilities of Robert Channing at the AOSA General Session. Thanks to HOYA, the student program kicks off on Thursday afternoon, June 28, with this mind-boggling performance. Students are guaranteed to leave in awe asking, “How did he know that?
  • The excitement and tradition of the ever-popular Varilux® Optometry Student Bowl™ and Reception continues in Chicago. The energy at the Student Bowl™ is electrifying and starts before the event as classmates gather in the foyer to cheer on their schools in anticipation of a victory. Be a part of the excitement by rooting on your classmates or alma mater. This must-attend event is sponsored by Essilor.
  • iConnect with TLC comes alive with entertaining games of blackjack, Texas hold ’em, and roulette on Friday night. If you’re not up for trying your luck, then join your peers and dance the night away with one of Chicago’s most renowned DJs. Students who attend the TLC lecture on Friday afternoon, and their registered guests, are invited to this popular event.

Optometry’s Meeting® is a great value for students. The nominal registration fee includes the main Optometry’s Meeting® events such as the Optometry’s Meeting® Welcome Hour, co-supported by the AOA and CooperVision; the Opening General Session, sponsored by Essilor; Exhibit Hall events; and A Celebration of Optometry (Presidential Celebration) at the Field Museum, sponsored by HOYA.

Events such as these, while fun in nature, are a great opportunity for students to network with their peers, ODs, and future business contacts. One of these events could be where you meet your future employer or business partner!
 Optometry’s Meeting® is the meeting you can’t afford to miss! The AOA, Allergan, Essilor, HOYA, and The Vision Care Institute™, LLC, understand this and have collectively supported more than $100,000 in travel grants and scholarships to ensure students who want to attend can attend! Talk to your school trustee to see how you can be one of the lucky recipients.

Visit www.optometrysmeeting.org for more information, to register, and to book hotel reservations for the meeting. See you in Chicago!

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