When visiting UMSL’s South Campus, keep an eye out for another clever optometry pun on a license plate (in addition to Dean Larry Davis’ plate). Dr. Sarah Sweeney Dohrman brings a light-hearted and passionate attitude to her new position as Assistant Clinical Professor at the College of Optometry.
Dr. Sweeney Dohrman reports that her interest in optometry came rather late in her undergraduate career. “I realized my senior year that I did NOT want to go to medical school, but I did want to remain in the healthcare field.” She had worn glasses since 1st grade and loved her optometrist. Optometry felt natural, and she went with it. However, her first year of classes was rocky. “I hated it,” Sweeney Dohrman said. She struggled, until she had a “life-changing” experience: a VOSH trip to Mexico. “That was it. It rerouted my commitment to optometry.”
After graduation, Sweeney Dohrman headed to Massachusetts for a residency in private practice, focusing on pediatrics and vision therapy. “I knew I wanted to do a residency. I wanted the confidence to know I could handle anything that would come through my office.” She and her husband, Kyle (also an optometrist), made their way back to Illinois to be closer to family. They worked together in a multi-location practice until the opportunity at UMSL arose. “I knew I wanted to get back to academia,” Sweeney Dohrman said, expressing her desire to offer students her real-world experiences. “So many times I thought, ‘Oh, I wish we had a course in that,’ be it insurance, training, or personnel.” She also wanted the chance to contribute to the education of future optometrists.
When asked about her reception at UMSL, Sweeney Dohrman said, “I’ve never felt so welcomed and appreciated. It’s a lot of work, but a lot of fun.” She’s also been wowed by the new Patient Care Center. “It looks like a movie! The patients give it a lot of compliments as well.” The students have taken to Sweeney Dohrman too. After giving her first exam, students said, “It was a different kind of test—we really had to think!”
When she’s not at UMSL, Sweeney Dohrman is a proud mom to Juniper (2) and Big Pete (4 months). She also makes time to bake, which we think will make her even more popular with the students. Welcome to UMSL, Dr. Sweeney Dohrman!