IMG_8058Our entering first year class, the Class of 2022, began their optometry journey with much apprehension but even greater excitement as their dream of becoming an eye doctor which – in some cases was many years in coming – was actually beginning. For these young, future doctors, represent a class that has a wide diversity of backgrounds, interests, and experience.  In fact, with the Class of 2019 representing the Class of Harmony, the Class of 2020 being the Class of Vision, it would be very appropriate to term the Class of 2022 as the “Class of Diversity.”

So who is the Class of 2022?  They have numerous members who were born in a foreign country.  A high percentage of the class have either performed mission work or studied in foreign countries; several made career changes.  One member, Jeff Stewart, served as an intelligence officer for the US Army (see separate profile); John Chau graduated many years before with a degree in screenwriting (for movies and television); Kevin Su came to the Class of 2022 with a degree as a biomedical engineer.  No less than 62% of the class have work experience in optometric practice.  Four members have a parent who graduated from the UMSL College of Optometry.

Class Representative John Chau says it well as to not only what the personality of the class is but also how they work together to help each other succeed.  “Our class is the best! Classmates are welcoming of others. Everyone’s welcome at the table. Not only are we inclusive socially with regular events, but academically with studying too. We’re an active bunch, having a strong representation in all extracurricular’s including intramurals and other activities. We also are diverse, coming from various different backgrounds, ethnicities, educational experiences, age groups, states, and countries! Widely diverse, yet warmly inclusive.  That’s what makes us remarkable. Our friendships bind us. Our diversity strengthens us.”  Assistant Class Representative Jess Misiorowski agrees: “I am unbelievably lucky to be a part of this class. The first years are an incredible group of people. They are astonishingly brilliant, passionate about putting forth their best work, and refuse to let another be left behind. They’re also some of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling my friends, and one day colleagues. Likewise, every personality in our class has such a unique charismatic quality to bring to the table, that I look forward to seeing them all at school every morning.  I can’t wait to see what all the extremely ambitious individuals in our class accomplish. I’m confident in extraordinary things to come.”

So welcome Class of 2022. With your diversity, well-rounded background, and positive personality, you are very worthy of being a significant part of the College of Optometry family.

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