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Scholarships Awarded to the Class of 2018

Thirty-six students from SCO’s Class of 2018 recently were recognized for their academic achievements with first-year scholarships collectively totaling $189,000. Thanks to alumni and friends of the college for making this year’s scholarships possible to these deserving students. A full list of scholarships and recipients follows the group photos below.

First-year students receiving scholarships included:

  • Whitney Fransen, Kendra Harbison, AJ McCleary, Corey Ommen, Alex Soliz, Rachel Sossaman, Laura Aelvoet and Elizabeth Fahy each received the $10,000 Presidential Endowed Scholarship.
  • Katie Danko, Nate Dederman, Cindy Heng and Jason Foote each received the $7,000 Dean's Endowed Scholarship
  • Mason Williams, Victoria Stewart, Linh Van, Laura Schwartz, Bryce Johnson and Julia Ham each received the $5,000 Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship.
  • Alyssa Drosselmeyer received the $5,000 Dr. William E. Cochran Endowed Scholarship.
  • Luke Robin received the $5,000 Dr. Spurgeon B. Eure Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
  • Ryan Piche received the $4,000 VISTAKON Endowed Scholarship.
  • Paul Nguyen, Slater Smith, Madeline Coughlin, Leon Nguyen, Emily Johnson, Nicole Lamb, Haley Kincannon and Joe Johnson each received the $3,000 SCO Alumni Scholarship.
  • Tyler Wadzinski received the $3,000 Southern Council of Optometrists Endowed Scholarship.
  • Kristen Davis received the $3,000 Dr. Earl Lusk Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
  • Jamie Jacobs received the $2,000 Dr. M.E. Broome Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
  • Brehana Hawkins received the $2,000 Minority Endowed Scholarship.
  • Kristian Mostert received the $1,000 John T. Leddy, Colonel Army (Ret.) Endowed Scholarship.
  • Laura Wooten received the $1,000 Dr. George A. Pena Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
  • Stephanie Reynolds received the $1,000 Dr. Thomas Gallaher & Mrs. Elizabeth Gallaher Endowed Scholarship. 

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Friday, September 5, 2014 | 0 comments

AOA President Visits Campus

Dr. David Cockrell, American Optometric Association President, visited SCO on Wednesday, September 4 to address a campus-wide assembly of students, faculty and staff. A 1981 SCO graduate, Dr. Cockrell spoke on the importance of advocacy for the profession.

In his remarks, he outlined scope of practice advances in recent years, including Tennessee and Louisiana. Dr. Cockrell urged students to become involved sooner in their careers and noted the changing landscape of health care delivery as a key reason to become engaged in the advocacy process.

Dr. Cockrell observed that by his count, SCO has produced more state association leaders than any other optometry school. Dr. Cockrell is the 13th SCO alumnus to lead the AOA.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Thursday, September 4, 2014 | 0 comments

Ellis, Elkins to Receive Alumni Awards

Former American Optometric Association President Joe Ellis, OD ’86, has been named Southern College of Optometry’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and SCO faculty member Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, has been named the college’s Young Alumni Award recipient. SCO will present the awards at this year’s Convocation ceremony on Friday, October 10.

In receiving SCO’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Dr. Joe Ellis is being recognized for his significant contributions to the profession of optometry. In June 2010, Dr. Ellis was inaugurated as president of the American Optometric Association. In addition to his successful practice in Kentucky, Dr. Ellis has served as president and legislative chair of the Kentucky Optometric Association’s Board of Trustees.

He led Kentucky’s fight in 1996 for optometrists to obtain oral therapeutic privileges. He’s also been involved in other legislative victories, including a 2000 law requiring children’s school entrance exams and the Access to Quality Eye Care Bill in 2010.He served on the board of the Kentucky Optometric Association from 1990-1996 and as president in 1994-95. He was named Kentucky’s Young Optometrist of the Year in 1992, and in 1995, Kentucky’s Optometrist of the Year. He also has received three President’s Awards from the KOA.

Dr. Ellis currently serves as Chairman of the Board for AOA Excel and board liaison to the American Academy of Optometry. He was named the 2014 Optometrist of the South at SECO in Atlanta.

At the community level, he serves on the Marshall County Hospital Staff and the Marshall County Health Department Board, is a board member of Kentucky’s Local Health Department, serves on the advisory board for the Kentucky Health Insurance Exchange, and is active in the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

As this year’s recipient of SCO’s Young Alumni Award, Lindsay Elkins, OD ’07, becomes the first SCO faculty member to receive the honor. After her graduation, she also completed a Primary Care Residency at the Memphis VA Center.  One year after joining the college’s faculty in 2008, she began leading SCO’s School Screening Program. Dr. Elkins has played an important role in ensuring the program’s success and stability through a school system merger and increased outreach program growth. More than 12,000 students receive screenings each year in the program that she oversees.

Dr. Elkins has supervised SCO students on multiple Remote Area Medical outreach events to provide eye services to those in need. In addition to her role as a clinical educator, Dr. Elkins has also served as Coordinator of the Part I NBEO Review at SCO and as the current lab director in The Eye Center. She has attained her Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry and presented posters at Academy, AOA, and SECO meetings. She was the primary investigator for a research study partnering with AEL Laboratories involving culturing methods for corneal ulcers.  In addition to lecturing in continuing education programs, she has published articles in Eye Care Review.

Dr. Elkins serves as the faculty advisor for the SCO BSK chapter, has recently been selected as Vice Chancellor of the BSK World Council, and will be inducted at this fall’s Academy meeting. She served as President of the West Tennessee Optometric Physicians Society in 2010-11 and serves as an Advisory Board Member for Southern Eye Associates. She’s served as faculty advisor to the Virginia and North Carolina Optometric Student Associations and is currently the advisor to the South Carolina Optometric Student Association. Dr. Elkins also has received the Outstanding SGA Club Advisor Award from students. 

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Monday, August 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Ensor to Lead New Department

Dr. Scott Ensor has been selected to lead Southern College of Optometry’s efforts in a new department, Interprofessional Education (IPE).  In his role as director, Dr. Ensor will collaborate with individuals within the college to guide and further develop the classroom, laboratory, and clinical infrastructure necessary for students to graduate with understanding and appreciation for the role of the optometric physician in interdisciplinary healthcare.

“The World Health Organization defines IPE as occurring when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes,” said Dr. Lewis Reich, SCO’s Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Dr. Ensor will also initiate and develop opportunities to collaborate with other health care programs in the Memphis area to ensure that SCO students engage in IPE activities.”    

Over the next year, Dr. Ensor will develop the new department by working with a number of students, faculty and staff to incorporate IPE into SCO’s curriculum. An Associate Professor at SCO, Dr. Ensor was first appointed to the college’s faculty in 2008.

Dr. Ensor received his optometry degree from SCO in 2001 and completed a postgraduate residency in primary care optometry at the Memphis Veterans Administration Medical Center. Prior to joining SCO’s faculty, he served as assistant center director at Eye Health Partners of Middle Tennessee, a multi-location optometric referral center in Nashville. 

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Thursday, August 14, 2014 | 0 comments

SCO Students Honored at NOA Meeting

SCO was well represented at the recent National Optometric Association Conference in Washington D.C.

Brittany Tounsel, '15, was inaugurated as national NOSA president, while Kirsten McKnight, '16, presented at the meeting and was elected president for the 2015-16 year. Feyi Awonrunse, '16, received the $1,000 Walmart and Sam's Club Health & Wellness Leadership Scholarship and took second place in the HOYA poster competition (winning a mini iPad!). Gerald Stinson, '16, also received a $500 Dr. David White Jr. Memorial Scholarship from the NOA Mississippi Chapter.

Several SCO students and faculty members also met with members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill to discuss health care issues in underrepresented and diverse minority communities. Also at the conference, Dr. Cynthia Heard delivered two continuing lectures. Dr. Janette Dumas led an NBEO review seminar and participated in a networking panel for students.

Posted by Amy Dunbar at Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | 0 comments