Assistant Clinical Professor, Dr. Erin Brooks leads the UMSL “Grease” cast in the filming of the Spirit Award video. 

The awarding of the very coveted “Spirit Award” to the UMSL College of Optometry at Optometry’s Meeting in Washington, D.C., last year brought much positive recognition to the College. It also provided the opportunity to film the rules video, which serves as the official introduction to the Essilor Optometry Student Bowl, held Thursday, June 21stat Optometry’s Meeting in Denver.  The Spirit award was given to UMSL as a result of the positive team spirit exhibited by our students, who were very supportive of not only their fellow UMSL students but also encouraged students from the other institutions.


One individual who spearheaded both this cooperative spirit of encouragement in Washington, D.C., and the recent filming of the Spirit Award video was AOSA trustee and 2019 Class Representative Kate Hamm.  Kate said, “Planning the video started in October 2017 by a committee coming together to brainstorm ideas for the video. We found students who were excited about the video, attended OM and were well respected by their class. Once we had our idea nailed down, we started creating the script for the video. The script, planning dates, costumes, the after party, locations and timing were settled, then we began recruiting students. A survey was sent out, so anyone who wanted to participate could tell us all about their skills and where they would fit best. The committee brainstormed who would be good leads and contacted them to get started! We recorded music, learned routines, memorized lines and got costumes together after that. Crew members were recruited, as well as further talent and dancers. Then the weekend came of filming. It was two days of intense work, but we had a blast! Definitely once in a lifetime experience!”

The video included a large number of College of Optometry students and faculty with exceptional dance routines as well as singing.  And it was great experience for all of the students involved, as Kate comments: “Students were excited, energized, respectful, and kind. It was a big bonding experience. We had to work together and be vulnerable in ways we hadn’t been before. It made people have a different respect for each other. Students worked hard to make sure UMSL was represented well, and they also had a blast! Every shoot was like a new day (or so it felt), and no one ever complained about it. I could not have been more proud of my classmates!”

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