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.
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The American Academy of Optometry annual meeting previously scheduled to be held in Nashville this year instead has gone virtual. Attendees are viewing lectures and poster presentations that began last week and continue through October 22. Several SCO faculty and residents are participating.
Faculty member Catherine Hogan, OD '17, represented the Tennessee Chapter of AAO at the National Chapter's Committee meeting. She was also nominated and recognized as Vice Chair of the AAO Chapter's Committee, and will begin her term as Vice Chair officially in January 2021. Congratulations, Dr. Hogan!
Congratulations are also in order for a number of alumni who became new Fellows of the American Academy of Optometry, including SCO faculty member Mike Gerstner, OD '97!
Southern College of Optometry hosted a virtual Convocation ceremony in September 2020. The event included a welcome from SCO President Lewis Reich, OD, PhD, and award presentations announced by Awards Committee Chair, Taylor Keys, OD ’12.
A video recording of the event may be watched below, or on our YouTube channel.
Additionally, you may view the program for the ceremony by clicking here or here (for a version for mobile devices.)
Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients, including:
Basic Science and Clinical Science
1ST YEAR CLINICAL SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
1ST YEAR BASIC SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
Christopher Frampton ’23
2ND YEAR CLINICAL SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
2ND YEAR BASIC SCIENCE AWARDS (Plaque)
3RD YEAR CLINICAL SKILLS AWARDS (Plaque and $1,000)
Military Services Scholarships
The following Endowed Class Scholarships recognize outstanding leadership and professionalism by members of the Classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023.
CLASSES OF ’54, ’56, ’59 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Tessa Lau ’22
CLASSES OF ’60, ’61, ’63 SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Anna Britt ’23
CLASSES OF ’64, ’65, ’66 SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Gabby Magee ’22
CLASSES OF ’68, ’69 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Marie Huegel ’21
Lauren Watson ’21
CLASSES OF ’70, ’71, ’74 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,500)
Caitlyn Stakeley ’21
Autumn Killop ’21
CLASS OF 1977 SCHOLARSHIP ($4,000)
Casey Krug ’21
CLASS OF 1978 SCHOLARSHIP ($3,000)
Samantha Harris ’21
CLASS OF 1983 SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Lindsay Thornton ’22
CLASS OF 1984 SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Jackie Malish ’23
CLASS OF 1997
JIMMY SHERIDAN MEMORIAL AWARD ($1,000)
Nathan Jackson ’21
CLASS OF 2001
SCOTT WHITAKER MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Morgan Mathis ’23
Alumni and Friends
SCO alumni and friends generously support and recognize academic accomplishments and leadership within the student body. As such, the following endowed scholarships and awards have been established in support of SCO students.
ALUMNI COUNCIL ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Kelsey Whitcomb ’21
CHUCK AND CAROLE ALDRIDGE ENDOWED AWARD
DR. ALLAN AND MRS. SUSAN BARKER ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Riley Laster ’21
Monica Bhula ’21
Anita Nguyen ’21
DRS. BERGER & MOSCOW FAMILY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Nathan Keyes ’22
CHARLES A. CALLAWAY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Ye Ji Kim ’21
Neda Norouzi ’21
Stephania Carreno ’22
DR. FREDDY WILFRED CHANG ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Brittany Darnley ’21
JERRY L. CLAY ENDOWED AWARD ($1,000)
Sophia Johnson ’21
DR. STAN DICKERSON LEADERSHIP AWARD ($1,000)
DR. FRED FARIAS ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Pooja Alloju ’21
DR. JOHN A. GAZAWAY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Jake Haberman ’21
DR. CHARLES L. HAINE HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY ENDOWED AWARD ($1,000)
Laurel Heskett ’23
Student Awards and Recognition
DR. RICHARD L. HOPPING ENDOWED ETHICS AWARD ($2,000)
Chisom Chukwumerije ’21
DR. LES MANNING ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Seth Jones ’23
WILLIAM D. MCAFEE, OD ’51 ENDOWED AWARD ($1,000)
Aaliyah Cole ’22
MAULDIN FAMILY MEMORIAL ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Jacquelyn Brown ’21
WAYNE W. PYEATT ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Braden Sorensen ’22
PEGGY REMKE MEMORIAL ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Brooke Spivey ’21
ROSEMORE FAMILY ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($2,000)
Samantha Lee ’21
Alexandria Cloud ’22
W. DAVID SULLINS ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FOR LEADERSHIP ($1,000)
Trevor Smith ’21
Matthew Eidom ’23
KANSAS ALUMNI ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP ($1,000)
Ann McLean ’22
State and Professional Associations
AUXILIARY TO THE ARKANSAS OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION ($1,000)
Walker Jarrett ’21
KENTUCKY OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIPS ($1,000)
Lindsey McCallon ’21
Daniel Bloemer ’21
MISSISSIPPI OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION, HONORING DR. WILLIAM E. COCHRAN ($1,000)
Anna Katherine Lansdell ’21
DR. MILTON WEBB OPTOMETRIC LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE SCHOLARSHIP ($1,500)
Andrew Murphy ’23
Corporate Partners and Ophthalmic Industry
COOPER VISION/ASCO STUDENT RELIEF PROGRAM ($1,500)
Nathaniel Jensen ’21
Jacqueline Dang ’23
OCULAR INSTRUMENTS AWARD (Product Certificate)
Adam Reichert ’23
Holly Pederson ’22
REVIEW OF OPTOMETRY AND THE RICK BAY FOUNDATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN EYECARE EDUCATION AWARD ($500)
Hannah Fann ’21
For the 24th consecutive year, Southern College of Optometry has a 0% cohort default rate among its graduates. According to fiscal year 2017 figures released by the Federal Department of Education, the average national cohort default rate is 9.7%, down from 10.1% the year before. The cohort rate is the percentage of a school’s borrowers who default on their student loans.
“At a time when student loan debt is at an all-time high and pandemic-related job insecurity is hitting all sectors, seeing our students continually succeed in their careers via their ability to repay their loans is encouraging,” said Dr. Lewis Reich, president of SCO. “It’s a testament to the value of their optometry degrees, but – more specifically – to the value of that degree from SCO. This being the 24th year without default, it’s also indicative of their professional strength regardless of the national economic landscape.”
SCO was the only Memphis college, one of just two colleges in Tennessee, and one of only a handful of standalone optometry colleges nationwide with a 0% default rate. The other Tennessee college with 0% default is the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia in Madison.
by SCO faculty member Wil McGriff, OD, MPH
So you're probably wondering if you should get the flu vaccine. Here's the short answer: Yes! Here's the longer answer: This year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it's especially important to get a flu vaccine. There are 3 main things I want you to know about the flu vaccine.
1. It's safe! You cannot get the flu from the vaccine because the vaccine does not contain any active flu virus. The virus parts used to make the vaccine are enough to activate your immune system to protect you if you do get exposed to the flu, but they are not enough to make you sick. If you have gotten sick after a previous vaccine or have family or friends who have gotten sick after a previous vaccine, it was not because of the vaccine. Either you were previously exposed to the flu and didn't have time for your body to develop a response from the vaccine, you happened to catch another one of the viruses that is common during the fall and winter, or you caught a version of the flu virus that was not included in that year's vaccine. Some people may have a mild fever or feel a little achy after the vaccine due to their immune system revving up to protect your body, but that is not an actual infection. Rarely, people can be allergic to the vaccine, but that is especially uncommon.
2. It's effective! Every year, the flu vaccine ingredients change depending on the major strains of the virus that are active around the world. And there are a lot of different strains. Scientists across the globe work together year-round to track flu infections and use that information to develop the vaccines. It's like a weather forecast. The scientists are looking at what is happening now and estimating what will happen in the next few months, based on the way flu seasons have developed in previous years. Because the ingredients of the vaccines are chosen in advance of the flu season, there is a chance that the vaccine doesn't exactly match the strains that turn out to be the most common during a flu season. But this doesn't mean you should skip the vaccine! Even if the vaccine doesn't match the strain you catch, the science clearly shows that you'll have a shorter infection with less severe symptoms if you've had the vaccine. I have experienced this personally. Two years ago, I got the vaccine and still got the flu, but it only lasted about 4 days. The last time I had the flu, I had not gotten the vaccine and my symptoms lasted for two weeks!
3. It's good for the community! Every year, intensive care units across the country start to fill up during flu season with people who develop severe cases of the flu. This year, our ICUs are already busy taking care of people with COVID-19 infections, and the hospitals could be overwhelmed if there are many extra cases from the flu. Just like wearing masks in public, the flu vaccine reduces the risk that you spread an infection to someone else. So, by protecting yourself from the flu, you're also protecting others. And our hospitals can focus on people who need to be hospitalized for other reasons like COVID-19.
So, keep washing your hands, wearing your masks, and get your flu shot! It truly does a body good.
SCO Professor Paul Harris, OD, writes about SCO and the Baltimore Orioles:
I moved to Baltimore in December of 1981, and have followed the Baltimore Orioles ever since–even after making the move to SCO and Memphis in September of 2010.
While in Baltimore, I had the opportunity to work with individuals on the team over the years, but was never directly involved in the day-to-day medical consulting with the team. However, in the fall of 2018, after the team had compiled the worst record in baseball, it was time for a shake-up throughout the organization–and that included vision testing and vision care for the players.
In early 2019, Dr. Elliott Myrowitz, the long-term team optometrist, invited us to expand the testing into areas that relate more to actually helping improve performance on the field, beyond just visual acuity and eye and vision health.
We added tests of reaction time, the Brock String, contrast sensitivity, continuously variable size visual acuity measures, and infrared eye movement recording. These measures helped us recognize which players might benefit from vision therapy, and during the 2019 season, vision therapy was instituted with a couple of players to help them break out of slumps.
The team saw enough of a benefit that they looked towards expanding the testing done to all players in the organization, as well as looking at installing vision therapy at not only the home park of the Orioles at Camden Yards, but at each of the minor league facilities as well.
For 2020 Spring training, SCO sent four residents, two students, and faculty members Drs. Trish Cisarik, Pamela Schnell, Marc Taub, and myself.
Had the world not gotten hit by COVID-19, SCO’s role would have been much larger this season. Talks are ongoing with Major League Baseball to assist with vision testing the newly established MLB Combine.
The Baltimore Orioles are looking to continue having SCO faculty, students, and residents involved in testing and training players in the organization.