Like any endeavor worth pursuing in life, it takes careful preparation to become an optometrist.
Students are at the heart of our mission.
Get involved in our thriving alumni community.
SCO is one of the nation's leading optometry schools.
Take time to recognize these significant achievements.
Enter a search request and press enter. Press Esc or the X to close.
Marie I. Bodack, OD, FAAO, is an Associate Professor at the Southern College of Optometry (SCO), having joined the college in November of 2013. Dr. Bodack received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the State University of New York State College of Optometry in 1998. She completed a residency in Pediatrics and Binocular Vision at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1999. Dr. Bodack is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and a Diplomate in its Binocular Vision, Perception and Pediatric Optometry section. She is also a Fellow in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD). She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the European Academy of Optometry and Optics, the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians and the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group (PEDIG). In addition to her research and teaching assignments, Dr. Bodack currently serves as Chief of the Pediatric Primary Care Service and instructor of record of the Pediatric Optometry course.
Dr. Bodack’ s research is focused on pediatric and binocular vision disorders. As part of PEDIG, she has served as the principal investigator for the College on the Study of Adult Strabismus (SAS) which looked at the characteristic of 3 different types of strabismus in adult patients. She is currently the principal investigator at the College for the following PEDIG Studies: Overminus for Intermittent Exotropia (IXT-5), comparing over-minus lenses to non-overminus lenses for intermittent exotropia; and Binocular Game for Amblyopia (ATS-20), looking at binocular game play for improving visual acuity in children with amblyopia. Additionally she is the principal investigator for the CHAMP Study (Children Using Atropine for Myopia Reduction), looking at whether different formulations of atropine are more effective than a placebo in slowing myopia progression.
Chris Borgman, OD, FAAO, is an Assistant Professor and a relatively new addition to SCO’s research program. Upon receiving his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Illinois College of Optometry in 2010, Dr. Borgman completed a residency in Primary Care & Ocular Disease at the Illinois Eye Institute in Chicago, IL. After residency he accepted a position at a private ophthalmology practice in downtown Des Moines, IA. After 3 years in private practice, he joined the SCO faculty in 2014, where his clinical responsibilities are in the Adult Primary Care Service as well as the Advanced Care Ocular Disease Service. During his career, Dr. Borgman has mentored many pre-doctoral students and residents. He currently teaches students in the Ocular Pharmacology, Systemic Pathology, and Integrative Analysis courses at SCO. Dr. Borgman holds active memberships in the American Optometric Association, Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. He was honored with the Illinois College of Optometry’s “Young Optometrist of the Year” award in September 2015, and Southern College of Optometry’s “Drs. Charlene & Fred Burnett Outstanding Faculty Award” in October 2015 and 2017.
Dr. Borgman has participated as an investigator in a few collaborative studies at SCO. His work has helped to generate several publications. Additionally, Dr. Borgman and Dr. Mike Christensen have worked with several students in SCO’s summer research program on various clinical research topics that have resulted in poster presentations at national meetings. He is excited to continue co-mentoring research projects with the high quality students at SCO.
Michael Christensen, OD, Ph.D. FAAO, is an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Research at Southern College of Optometry (SCO) having joined the college in 2013. Dr. Christensen received his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1989 from the Northeastern State University College of Optometry (NSUCO). Before that, he held a Ph.D. (Mississippi State University) in Zoology and was a tenured professor at Phillips University in Enid Oklahoma. After completion of his OD, Dr. Christensen worked 22 years for Alcon, rising to Associate Director in the organization having received the Technical Excellence Award for outstanding research and contributions to Alcon. Dr. Christensen is a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, the American Academy of Optometry, the American Optometric Association, and the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians. In addition to his teaching assignments, Dr. Christensen serves as a member of SCO’s Research Committee.
Dr. Christensen’s research interests include cornea, contact lenses and dry eye. He completed several clinical dry eye studies while employed at Alcon and helped to develop artificial tear products. More recently, he has served as a Principal Investigator on the multicenter NIH supported DREAM study (Dry Eye Assessment and Management). Dr. Christensen has also served as PI or sub-PI on numerous industry-supported studies by a range of companies including, Alcon, Allergan and ThermiEye. He has published peer-reviewed manuscripts and presented his work through peer-reviewed abstracts at national meetings of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Optometry and the American Optometric Association meeting. Dr. Christensen has also coordinated the SCO Summer Research program for five years, and has mentored several summer research students whose projects have been presented at national meetings.
Patricia Cisarik, OD, PhD, FAAO, is a Professor at the Southern College of Optometry (SCO), having joined the college in 2008. Dr. Cisarik received her Doctor of Optometry degree in 1987 from Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University). After completing her optometric degree, Dr. Cisarik practiced with an ophthalmologist in southwest Virginia for nine years. She then completed her PhD in Vision Science at the University of Houston College of Optometry. Dr. Cisarik is a member of the American Academy of Optometry, the American Optometric Association, the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, the West Tennessee Optometric Physicians Society, and the Tennessee Public Health Association. In addition to her teaching assignments, Dr. Cisarik serves as the SCO IRB chair and is a member of the SCO Research Committee.
Dr. Cisarik is instructor of record for Visual Sensation and Perception, Introduction to Binocular Vision, and Neuro Eye Disease courses. Her areas of research incorporate topics or techniques discussed in these classes. With respect to visual perception, she has used psychophysical methods to study the effect of iris color on macular pigment optical density in young, healthy adults, to study the effects of an energy beverage on critical flicker fusion rate, and to evaluate the effect of pupil size on perception of the “Rotating Snakes” illusion in the elderly. Her lab has explored aspects of binocular vision through several studies that investigated the relationship between the ability to fuse “autostereograms” and clinical indicators of vergence and accommodative function. She also conducted a study that compared both sensory and motor ocular dominance to the diameter of the optic nerve heads as measured by OCT. Her interest in neuro eye disease prompted the following investigations: 1) calculation of the incidence of pseudotumor cerebri in the SCO clinic population over a 5-year period; 2) exploration of the differences in mean age, IOP, and C/D ratios between Alzheimer’s patients at our clinic with glaucoma or suspicion thereof, and those without glaucoma. Currently, she is interested in working with new technology, such a quantitative pupil evaluation and color contrast sensitivity, with the eventual goal of determining whether visual function changes can be identified before clinically observable changes occur in the retinas of diabetic patients. As a primary care provider, she considers early detection and intervention as the keys to preventable vision loss.
William Edmondson MAT, OD, FAAO, a Professor at Southern College of Optometry since 2009, received his Doctor of Optometry degree from Pennsylvania College of Optometry and his Masters from Indiana University. Besides leading seminars at SCO, Dr. Edmondson currently is an attending faculty for the Cornea and Contact Lens and Teen Clinics.
Active in research, Dr. Edmondson has presented sixty-five research papers or posters on aspects of cornea- contact lenses and ocular pharmacology. Some of his research focuses on the use of multifocal contact lenses in non-presbyopes. Other areas include aspects of ocular microbiology; the side effects and comfort issues of current ophthalmic medications and alternate methods of teaching large classes at a professional school. He serves as a referee for journal publications in ocular pharmacology & contact lenses and holds licenses in TN, and Oklahoma, where he is Anterior Segment Laser Certified.
Dr. Edmondson was one of the founding faculty members at Northeastern State University, Oklahoma College of Optometry. The Association of Contact Lens Educators presented him with the 2016 Lester Janoff Award for Excellence in Contact Lens Education and Research. In 2013, he received Achievement Award from the Contact Lens and Cornea Section of the American Optometric Association for his contributions to the profession in that Specialty area.
Daniel G. Fuller, OD, FAAO, holds the rank of Professor, is the Chief of the Cornea and Contact Lens Service at The Eye Center at SCO and founding supervisor of the Cornea, Contact Lens Refractive Surgery residency. He joined the faculty in 2007 after leaving active duty in the US Navy. Dr. Fuller received his Doctor of Optometry degree from The Ohio State University in 1984 and Bachelor of Science in Biology from Purdue University in 1980.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and Scleral Lens Education Society, sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Optometric Education, is a member of Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, Association of Contact Lens Educators, American Optometric Association and Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians. In addition to his teaching assignments and administrative duties, he serves as a member of SCO’s IRB and Curriculum Committees.
Dr. Fuller’s research interests are in the area of ocular disease, ocular surface and dry eye disease, specialty contact lens care emphasizing the rehabilitative care of post-surgical patients, keratoconus, and other corneal diseases. He has participated in numerous FDA clinical contact lens trials, performed many original studies, presented multiple publications in national and international journals, and lectures nationally on ocular diseases and contact lenses.
Paul Harris, OD, FCOVD, FACBO, FAAO, FNAP, is a Professor at Southern College of Optometry having joined the college in 2010. Dr. Harris received his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1979 from the State University of New York College of Optometry. Following completion of his OD, Dr. Harris worked in private practice in Baltimore, MD until joining SCO’s faculty. Dr. Harris is a member of Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, College of Optometrists in Vision Development, Australasian College of Behavioral Optometry, American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association, and Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians. He served four years on the SCO Research Committee and currently is the SCO Sports Vision Club faculty supervisor.
Dr. Harris’s research interests are varied and include visual acuity assessment, contrast sensitivity testing methods, managing diplopia with prism, visual performance with athletes and vision therapy. Visual acuity projects include, validation of the automated ETDRS by M&S Technologies, measurement of visual acuity of infants using an objective video system using OKN type targets, and investigation of a new visual acuity method called Dyop. His contrast sensitivity projects include comparison of bulls-eye to linear contrast sensitivity and effect of glare on contrast sensitivity on bulls-eye target. Dr. Harris is also involved with a third area of research related to traumatic brain injury with recent projects including objective measurement and quantification of mild TBI using VEP recordings, establishing normative data on the KonanUSA EvokeDx VEP, ongoing custom color tinting of soft contact lenses to mitigate migraine headache symptoms, and advanced color vision testing using the KonanUSA ColorDx.
Whitney Hauser, OD, is an Associate Professor who received her Doctor of Optometry degree in 2001 from Southern College of Optometry (SCO). She then completed a postgraduate residency in Primary Care Optometry at SCO in 2003. During her residency she designed and completed a research project evaluating hypertension and primary eye care. After her residency she worked in a private ophthalmology practice for 10 years before she returned to SCO. Dr. Hauser is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Sports Ophthalmology Society of America, Ocular Nutrition Society, Women of Vison, the World Congress of Optometry, and the American Academy of Optometry. In addition to her teaching assignments, Dr. Hauser serves as a member of the SCO Research Committee.
Prior to joining the SCO faculty, Dr. Hauser served as Clinical Director and Research Coordinator at an ophthalmology referral center in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Hauser has authored many articles focusing on the management and treatment of ocular surface disease, the anterior segment and practice management. Dr. Hauser servers as Clinical Development Consultant at TearWell: Advanced Dry Eye Treatment Center and sees patients in The Eye Center and Focal Point. Her area of special interest is dry eye disease research. She has participated in several research endeavors including the pilot evaluation of radio frequency thermistor for the use in dry eye treatment and the incidence of individual ocular surface disorders encountered in a specialty dry eye practice. Additionally, Dr. Hauser has several on-going studies in which she participates.
Kristina Haworth, OD, PhD, FAAO, is an Associate Professor at the Southern College of Optometry (SCO), having joined the college in August of 2015. Dr. Haworth received her Doctor of Optometry degree from the Southern California College of Optometry in 1993. She was in private practice for about 14 years before enrolling at The Ohio State University, where she received her PhD in 2014. Dr. Haworth is a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, the American Academy of Optometry, the American Optometric Association, and the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians. In addition to her research and teaching assignments, Dr. Haworth currently serves as chair of the SCO Research Committee and is an active member of the SCO Institutional Review Board.
Dr. Haworth’ s research is focused on ocular surface disease. Her dissertation research studied the effect of UV exposure induced oxidative stress on 1) human tears and conjunctival cells, and 2) on conjunctival UV autofluorescence. Currently her research is focused on conjunctival UV autofluorescence and its possible relevance to dry eye disease and UV-absorbing contact lenses using methods she developed during her PhD dissertation work. She has published peer-reviewed manuscripts and presented her work through peer-reviewed abstracts at national meetings of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Haworth has mentored two short term research students at SCO. The first project titled Effect of UV-Absorbing Contact Lenses on Conjunctival Ultraviolet Autofluorescence was presented at the 2017 annual American Academy of Optometry meeting. The second, Serotonin and Contact Lens-Related Dry Eye was presented at the 2018 annual Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting. In addition to her work in the area of ocular surface disease, she collaborates with a faculty member at the University of Memphis to evaluate glaucoma factors in the patient population of SCO and has served as Co-PI on an educational research study with Dr. Patricia Cisarik to develop and evaluate a digital training module for systematic optic disc evaluation.
Christopher Lievens, OD, MS, FAAO, is a Professor and Chief of Internal Clinics at Southern College of Optometry (SCO). Dr. Lievens earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Economics, then his Doctor of Optometry degree from Illinois College of Optometry, followed by his Master of Science, Health Administration. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program through a university in Cambridge, UK. Prior to joining SCO in 2000, Dr. Lievens was employed in an ophthalmology referral private practice and served in the United States Air Force, where he was the Chief of Aerospace Optometry at the Pentagon. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry and Region Chair of the Academy Admittance Committee. Dr. Lievens is a member of many medical associations, including the American Academy of Optometry (AAO; Fellow), National Academies of Practice (Distinguished Fellow), American Optometric Association (AOA), Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, Optometric Glaucoma Society (OGS; Executive Board) and Association for Research and Vision in Ophthalmology (ARVO). Dr. Lievens serves as Editor/Peer Reviewer for several medical journals. He consults for several pharmaceutical companies, including Alcon, Essilor, and Transitions. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Commendation Medals from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army.
Dr. Lievens research has had many foci: uveitis, dry eye, contact lenses, and contact lens solutions; he has served as an investigator on nearly 50 studies. Additionally, he has nearly 50 publications that cover a range of issues such as contact lens technology, contact lens care, dry eye, presbyopia, and glaucoma, and has presented over 40 posters at annual meetings for AAO, ARVO, British Contact Lens Association, and others. His current research involves a comprehensive investigation into lid wiper epitheliopathy. His research interests include auto-refraction, contact lens solutions, non-infectious anterior segment uveitis, and dry eye. Dr. Lievens’ most recent publications in Optometry and Vision Science were titled: 1) Lid Papillae Improvement with Hydrogen Peroxide Lens Care Solution Use and 2) Dual-Polymer Drops, Contact Lens Comfort, and Lid Wiper Epitheliopathy.
Christina Newman, OD, FAAO, is an Assistant Professor at the Southern College of Optometry (SCO). Upon receiving her Doctor of Optometry from the College of Optometry at Nova Southeastern University in 2007, Dr. Newman accepted a position at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, FL, where she worked for 4 years. After completing a residency in Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Surgery at SCO, Dr. Newman joined the SCO faculty in 2011. Her responsibilities include instructor for the Contact Lens Lab courses and clinical instructor in the Cornea and Contact Lens and Adult Primary Care clinics. Dr. Newman currently holds active memberships in the American Optometric Association, the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians, the West Tennessee Optometric Physicians Society, the Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE), and is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry. She was honored with the George Mertz New Educator Award from the AOCLE in 2012.
Dr. Newman frequently conducts research as an investigator for private industry projects, multicenter studies and research projects with the SCO summer research program. Her research interests include contact lenses, anterior segment of the eye, and ocular surface disease.
Morgan Ollinger, OD, FAAO, is a Clinical Instructor at Southern College of Optometry. Dr. Ollinger completed his Doctor of Optometry through the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science in 2016. He went on to complete a residency in Pediatric Optometry through the Michigan College of Optometry in 2017, and joined the faculty of Southern College of Optometry the same year. Dr. Ollinger is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, and a member of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Apart from research assignments, Dr. Ollinger oversees students in pediatric primary care and vision therapy clinics.
Dr. Ollinger’s areas of research interest are centered around pediatric vision. He has overseen multiple student research projects, and is currently involved in a study investigating the use of atropine for myopia control. Dr. Ollinger enjoys the challenges of working with students to conduct research, and looks forward to continuing to investigate clinical questions.
Daniel Powell, OD, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Southern College of Optometry (SCO). He received his Doctor of Optometry degree from Pacific University in 1995, followed afterwards by a one-year residency in ocular disease at Eye Care Associates of Nevada (Reno). Dr. Powell then returned to his native Washington State and practiced in a variety of clinical settings. During this time, Dr. Powell developed a curiosity for vision research, which led him to pursue his MS and PhD degrees in Vision Science from the Ohio State University. In addition to his dissertation work at Ohio State, Dr. Powell served as a teaching assistant and clinical attending in the College of Optometry. After completing his PhD, Dr. Powell joined the faculty of the University of Houston College of Optometry where he taught the anatomy and public health courses along with serving as an investigator on various industry-sponsored research projects prior to joining the SCO faculty in 2018. Dr. Powell is a member of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society, the American Optometric Association and the American Public Health Association.
Dr. Powell’s research interests include the ocular surface in dry eye and contact lenses. He has served as a primary investigator or co-investigator on several contact lens studies (Alcon, CooperVision, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Tangible Science) and FDA Phase II & III clinical trials evaluating novel dry eye treatments (Allergan, Shire, Kala). More recently, Dr. Powell has served as an investigator for the Contact Lens Assessment in Symptomatic Subjects (CLASS) study group, a multi-center study whose aim is to learn more about the ocular surface in soft contact lens wearers who discontinue lens wear due to discomfort. Dr. Powell has collaborated with vision scientists here in the USA as well as Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. He has published peer-reviewed manuscripts and presented his work through peer-reviewed abstracts at national meetings of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Optometry and the American Public Health Association. Dr. Powell also serves as a manuscript reviewer for Optometry & Vision Science, Investigative Ophthalmology in Vision Science and Contact Lens and Anterior Eye.
Karen Squier, OD, MS, FAAO, is an Associate Professor at Southern College of Optometry; she joined the faculty in April of 2015. Dr. Squier earned her Doctor of Optometry degree in 2001 from Pennsylvania College of Optometry and completed her residency in Low Vision Rehabilitation at The William Feinbloom Low Vision Rehabilitation Center in Philadelphia in 2002. She was an attending optometrist at The Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired from 2006 until 2015. During that time, she was also a Clinical Assistant Professor at Illinois College of Optometry until 2015. She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Vision Research from Nova Southeastern University in 2017.
Dr. Squier is a Diplomate of the Low Vision Section of the American Academy of Optometry and serves on the executive committee of the Low Vision Section. She is secretary of the Vision Care Section of the Tennessee Public Health Association and a member of the American Public Health Association. She is also a member of the American Optometric Association and the Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians. Dr. Squier is a member of the Research Committee at Southern College of Optometry.
Dr. Squier’s research interests center around low vision clinical care and the impact of visual impairment on public health. She has presented her work through peer-reviewed abstracts at national meetings of the American Public Health Association and the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Squier recently mentored her first Summer Research project evaluating the impact of living in a food desert on health factors of visually impaired individuals.