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For the 23rd consecutive year, Southern College of Optometry’s student loan cohort default rates remains at zero percent. This is according to the U.S. Department of Education’s newly released numbers for FY2016.
The FY2016 student loan cohort default rates reveal that SCO graduates are successfully transitioning to the optometric practice.
“This is great news,” said Cindy Garner, Director of Financial Aid. “Our graduates continue to have much success practicing optometry and doing what they least want to do, which is to repay their student loans.”
A cohort default rate represents the percentage of a college or university’s borrowers who have defaulted on their student loans. The FY2016 national average was 10.1 %, down from last year’s rate of 10.8%, yet SCO’s default rate remained at zero percent.
“The cohort default rate is an important measure of a school’s overall quality. It reflects our success in preparing our students to practice optometry,” said Garner. “This is a great accomplishment and it reflects admirably on each member of the SCO family.
SCO’s Financial Aid Office actively works with students to provide them with strategies to manage their student indebtedness levels. From budgeting workshops to one-on-one sessions with a financial aid counselor, the college is committed to partnering with students to ensure their success in optometry. Student scholarships provided by SCO’s alumni and friends also play an important part in managing student debt levels.
Southern College of Optometry's 2019 Convocation ceremony recognized the achievements of students, alumni, faculty, and staff with several awards and recognition presented. Of special note, the Class of 2023 gathered for its official white coat group portrait.
Receiving SCO's Lifetime Achievement Award - the highest honor bestowed by the college - was Allan Barker, OD '75. Dr. Barker is known for his practice success in North Carolina and his leadership of Optometry Cares - the AOA's Foundation.
Receiving SCO's Young Alumni Award was Matt Jones, OD '09. He has served as president of the Arkansas Optometric Association. Dr. Jones recently helped lead the successful legislative effort to expand the scope of practice and allow ODs to user lasers in Arkansas.
Members of SCO's Class of 1969 were also recognized as they returned for their 50-year reunion during Fall Homecoming and Continuing Education Weekend. Each attendee was presented with a 50-year commemorative diploma.
Scholarships and other awards were presented to attendees from throughout the SCO campus community. Many of SCO's student awards and scholarships were made possible by the generosity of the college's alumni and friends who support the Annual Campaign and Endowed Scholarship funds.
Among those recognized:
Military Service Scholarships
U.S. AIR FORCE
Francis Parr ’20
Samantha Macchio ’20
Trey Ketchum ’21
Basic Science and Clinical Awards
1ST YEAR BASIC SCIENCE AWARDS: Matthew Bills ’22, Alexandria Cloud ’22, Andrew Dahl ’22, Nathan DeClue ’22, Kalina Harrell ’22, Abigail Klick ’22, Joseph Luiso ’22, Annie McLean ’22, Holly Pederson ’22, Rachel Steele ’22
1ST YEAR CLINICAL SCIENCE AWARDS: Stephania Carreno ’22, Caleb Chesnut ’22, Riley Juenemann ’22, Gabrielle Magee ’22, Brittany Parker ’22, Holly Pederson ’22, Regan Stone ’22, Alexandra Turner ’22, Rachel Williams ’22, Cassity Youssef ’22
2ND YEAR BASIC SCIENCE AWARDS: Savannah Caro ’21, Brittany Darnley ’21, Samantha Ellingson ’21, Anna Lansdell ’21, Samantha Lee ’21, Chelsea Lula ’21, Stephanie Martich ’21, Dee-Dee Robinson ’21, Breeley Sellier ’21, Alec Waters ’21
2ND YEAR CLINICAL SCIENCE AWARDS: Samantha Ellingson ’21, Lindsey George ’21, Anna Girsky ’21, Jonathan Ismond ’21, Autumn Killop ’21, Casey Krug ’21, Anna Lansdell ’21, Katelyn Marks ’21, Stephanie Martich ’21, Pheba Shibu ’21
3RD YEAR CLINICAL SKILLS AWARDS (Given in memory of former faculty member, Dr. Robert L. Henry.): Kyle Klug ’20, Heaven Lilliman ’20, Samantha Macchio ’20, Callie Mashburn ’20, Alexandria Perry ’20, Julia Reimold ’20, Stephanie Ross ’20, Jana Socey ’20, Aaron Tollett ’20, Annie Wester ’20
The following Endowed Class Scholarships recognized outstanding leadership and professionalism by members of the Classes of 2010, 2021 and 2022.
Alumni and Friends Scholarships
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.
State and Professional Associations
Corporate Partners and Ophthalmic Industry
2018-19 Faculty of the Year
CLASS OF 2020
CLASS OF 2021
CLASS OF 2022
BSK TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
SCO employees spent their morning volunteering in a number of hands-on activities to help other nonprofits in our community as part of SCO's Staff Service Day.
SCO continues our work to enhance collaboration with community partners through community engagement and various service opportunities.
Volunteers interacted with patients at LeBonheur Children's Hospital, prepared food and participated in a community cookout at Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, attended a ceremony and dropped off food honoring First Responders, set up a book fair and read to schoolchildren at Bruce Elementary School, and packed meals to be distributed by Meals of Hope.
Visit our Facebook page to view the photos from our SCO Service Day.
SCO recently awarded a record 73 scholarships to the Class of 2023. SCO is working to expand scholarship opportunities to attract the best-qualified applicants; read more this enhanced effort on this here.
Front Row (L-R): Molly McNally, Lane Brown, Joelle Reitz
Middle Row (L-R): Edgar Judd, Landon Jarvis, Kalen Thompson
Back Row (L-R): Nathan Baggett, Kaitlyn Gynnild, Weston Acosta
Front Row (L-R): Kylie Bible, Mary Theresa Taormina, Madyson Locke
Middle Row (L-R): Julia Sewell, Tianyu Wang, Alayna Cox
Back Row (L-R): Adam Trevino, Jacob Allan, Adam Reichert
Front Row (L-R): Chad Walters, Noam Nicholson, Jamie Kao
Middle Row (L-R): Jacqueline Malish, Laurel Heskett, Cam Ngo
Back Row (L-R): Heather Quintanilla, Caroline Sutton, Coralis Millien
Front Row (L-R): Matthew Schroeder, Hannah Fairchild, Ethan Gerstein
Middle Row (L-R): Carolyn Tran, Sara Eveler, Jacquelyn Melton
Back Row (L-R): Carlee Nestrud, Michelle Alaimo, Phaedra Lipsey
Front Row (L-R): McKenna Scott, Lucas Medeiros, Justin Buoch
Middle Row (L-R): Samantha Blanke, Aleece Kanai Dietz, Jessica Jacob
Back Row (L-R): Ashley Shannon, Nathan Sharp, Courtney Whitlock
Front Row (L-R): Emme Gilchrist, Nicole Wohlfort, Angelina Dang
Middle Row (L-R): Tanner LaFont, Meredith Fry, Will Kreuser
Back Row (L-R): Maria Layton, Rachel Ressler, Natalie Terryberry
Front Row (L-R): Jadyn Nelson, Rim Tarzi, Erin Geyer
Middle Row (L-R): Alice Hanson, Ashley Vu, Karrie Sestak
Back Row (L-R): Hun Ki Hong, Amy Cox, Gabrielle Crockett
Front Row (L-R): Terry Lu, William (Russell) Harrison, Diana Tran
Middle Row (L-R): Apryl Fincher, Christopher Frampton, Seth Jones
Back Row (L-R): Tyler Meek, Kylie Scott, Maverik Shumway
Not Pictured: Lindsey Tillery
Congratulations to all of these outstanding students for earning these scholarships through their achievements and accomplishments!
SCO is excited to welcome two faculty members to the SCO family.
Dr. Catherine (Wood) Hogan received her BA from Davidson College in Davidson, NC. After graduating from SCO in 2017, she completed her residency in primary care and ocular disease at the Memphis Area Veteran’s Medical Center. Since then, Dr. Hogan worked at Distafano Eye Center in Chattanooga, TN where her focus was on treatment of ocular disease. Dr. Hogan is a FAAO, and member of AOA and TAOP. She and her husband have settled in the East Memphis area.
A 2018 SCO graduate, Dr. Laurel Roberts is delighted to be back home in Memphis. Dr. Roberts spent the last year in Chicago where she recently finished her cornea and contact lens management residency at Illinois College of Optometry. Dr. Roberts is a member of TAOP and AOA. She and her finance have put down roots in the Central Gardens area.
After recently completing her cornea, contact lens and refractive surgery residency at SCO, Dr. Lily (Yueren) Wang is returning to the College as a faculty member. She earned her O.D. at University of California at Berkeley’s School of Optometry.
Congratulations to our new faculty members!