Optometry’s Meeting® is for AOSA members too!April 17, 2013
By Ashley Kamann, O.D., Student Program Committee chair
Focus on your future at the 2013 Optometry’s Meeting® in San Diego June 26-30! Optometry’s Meeting® is the premier event in the ophthalmic industry, merging the meetings for the AOA and the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA).
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 2013 Optometry’s Meeting® is to put students in a learning environment different from optometry school.
This year, we return to San Diego, site of the first joint meeting of the AOA and the AOSA. Ryan Parker, O.D., president of the AOSA when the meetings first merged in 2003, recalls that first meeting and how much better it made the student experience. “I remember that it was bigger, better, and had more networking between students, ODs, and industry,” he said. “I think overall the joint meeting has created more excitement because the events are bigger, the venues are bigger, more people attend, and the timing and locations are better.”
Optometry’s Meeting® continues to get bigger and better each year. Last year in Chicago, student attendance broke a record with 1,521 registrants. Students are registering at a faster pace this year, so we hope to have an ever bigger meeting in San Diego. The increase in student registration shows that students see Optometry’s Meeting® as a key element in their professional advancement, giving them a chance to gain practice management knowledge, increase product knowledge, and meet other professionals who may be future contacts.
This year Optometry’s Meeting® is moving to an inclusive fee structure. For many students this won’t appear to be a change. The student registration fee remains the same ($50 early-bird registration) and still includes all education on the student program, social events, and three days’ admittance into the Exhibit Hall. However, we’ve added a new registration category for students who wish to take OD education. For an additional $25 flat fee, students, residents, and recent graduates can now take the COPE-approved education offered on the OD program.
The student education program offers a broad range of courses this year. As always, several practice management courses are on the program, but more clinically challenging courses will also be offered. Two COPE-approved courses will include a laser lab. This course is limited to the first 30 students, so be sure to arrive early. Thanks to The Vision Care Institute™ and TLC Vision for providing an education grant to support the student education program.
There will be more student lecture door prizes than ever. In addition to HOYA’s ongoing sponsorship support, Oculus is also supporting the student lecture prizes.
Optometry’s Meeting® is an excellent place to meet people who may offer significant help in the future. These people could be ODs, vendors, or other students; the possibilities are endless. We encourage each and every student to take full advantage of the vast networking potential this meeting has to offer.
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. Visit the AOSA kiosk while in AOA Central and once you enter the Exhibit Hall be sure to stop by the Optometry students.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 one of several American Express gift cards valued up to $1,000! Sight Quest cards will be distributed in the AOSA General Session, so be sure to attend.
Students are encouraged to explore the Exhibit Hall throughout the meeting; however, on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., we are pleased to bring back the Student Focus Hours. This is a dedicated time for students to explore the Exhibit Hall.
Students are exposed to a wealth of education, industry connections, and networking opportunities at Optometry’s Meeting®. But what would a trip to San Diego be without some fun? Release some stress at some great events just for students:
- Thanks to HOYA, comedian Karyn Ruth White will help students laugh at the stressful aspects of optometry during the AOSA General Session on Thursday afternoon.
- The excitement and tradition of the ever-popular Varilux® Optometry Student Bowl™ continues in San Diego. 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. This must-attend event is sponsored by Essilor.
- Just added this year is a happy hour for students. Friday afternoon, before the evening festivities begin, join Luxottica for complimentary beer, wine, snacks, and entertainment.
- Dance the night away with TLC at Stingaree, one of San Diego’s most popular night clubs located in the Gaslamp Quarter, within walking distance of the Optometry’s Meeting® hotels. 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 Reception, sponsored by AOAExcel™; the Opening General Session, sponsored by Essilor; Exhibit Hall events; and A Celebration of Optometry (Presidential Celebration) aboard the USS Midway, sponsored by HOYA. Events such as these, while fun in nature, are a great opportunity for students to network with 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,™ understand this and have collectively supported more than $100,000 in travel grants to ensure that 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 San Diego!