When choosing an optometry school, I had an area of interest that was high on my priority list: research. I knew that whatever school I chose, I wanted them to have a research program that was available to students. After hearing about SCO’s Summer Research Program, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.
During the spring semester of first yYear, information was sent out about how to apply to the program. I immediately sent in my application and was soon contacted by different faculty members that wanted to meet with me. During the selection process, I met with many faculty who are involved in the research program. This was a great opportunity for me to not only meet a lot of doctors that I hadn’t had a chance to meet yet, but to also get insight on their area of research and what really interests them.
Once you are selected to be in the program, you will be matched with the faculty who works in your area of interest. Ultimately, I was paired with Dr. Haworth who works with a lot of UV exposure, contact lenses, and dry eye, as well as other things. I was really excited to work with her to develop my own research project. Depending on your preference, you can be really independent and design and carry out your own research (with the supervision of a faculty member of course.) If you would like more help along the way, the doctor you are paired with is ready and willing to assist wherever you need them.
In addition to your central research project, we also had the opportunity to attend multiple 1-hour lectures over the summer that covered various topics of research such as how to write a research paper or how to present a poster on your research. This was also a great opportunity to meet multiple doctors here at SCO and listen to their talks.
Your work doesn’t entirely end at the end of the summer program. After you have completed your research and gathered your data, you get the chance to present your work at an optometry or research centered conference. I look forward to this opportunity once I’m fully done gathering my data!
Overall, this was an amazing program that gave me more insight into the field of research, more exposure to my area of interest, and gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of different doctors at SCO. I highly recommend applying and getting involved in optometric research!