Meet our ambassadors.  Our ambassadors are what make UMSL Optometry what we are.  They are the faces of UMSL.

AlicWEBSalmedina Alic

Major:  Biology
Hometown: Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because when I met the ambassadors during UMSL day they were so happy to represent the school and showed great interest and knowledge in optometry. I knew that UMSL was the best choice for me.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Not to focus on one particular thing. It’s important to be well rounded. Procrastination will only hurt them in the end, so it’s best to start studying for the OAT on time as well as the application.

AndersonWEBMeagan Anderson

Major:  Biology
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the atmosphere. It’s a great environment because all of the students and teachers are all rooting for each other to succeed.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Choose a school that makes you feel comfortable right when you walk through the door.

 

 

ArnoldyJessica Arnoldy

Major: Biology and Biochemistry
Hometown: Downs, Kansas
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the welcoming family atmosphere.

What advice would you share with potential students?
I would advise them to really try and get a feel for the school during their visit. The best way for them to be successful is to feel safe and comfortable at the school they choose.

 

AvilezWEBAnnie Avilez

Major:  Biology
Hometown: Mountain Home, AR
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because I believe that every person I met while on campus wanted me to achieve my goal of becoming at optometrist and because it was a place in which I could envision myself thriving. I aspire to be challenged and I know that the intense curriculum will quench that aspiration. I look forward to attending a university that will equip me with the skills I will use for the rest of my professional life.

What advice would you share with potential students?
While the process of taking the OAT, filling out the application, and interviews can be daunting (it definitely was for me) it is a challenge that should be readily welcomed. Life will always have challenges, so embrace it! Let these challenges mold you to become a stronger person. The feeling of accomplishment afterwords far outweighs the feeling of dread beforehand. Best of luck!

 

BergieWEBJen Bergie

Major: Biomedical Science
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
The small class size and the family aspect was appealed to me as a student who will be living a long ways away from home to attend school.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Keep pursuing your goals no matter what obstacles you face.

 

BuddeWEBLizzie Budde

Major:  Biology and Physics
Hometown:  St. Louis, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the small class size and dedication to quality eye care!

What advice would you share with potential students?
Go somewhere that you feel will challenge you and has what you are looking for in a school!

CarnahanWEBKyle Carnahan

Major:  Biology
Hometown: Marshalltown, Iowa
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the size and family atmosphere that I felt as soon as I got on campus.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Visit at least a few different schools so that you can compare the differences/similarities and help figure out which school is going to be the best fit for you personally.

 

CaryWEBBrad Cary

Major: Nursing
Hometown:  Omaha, NE
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because the family like atmosphere created by the faculty, staff and the student ambassadors. During my interview day I really enjoyed meeting and speaking with the student ambassadors. It was through these interactions that I knew I was at the right school.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Be yourself and relax! Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the process. Chances are, you are not the only one with that question!

 

ChangNatasha Chang

Major: Human Physiology
Hometown:  Fairfield, IA
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because the faculty, staff, and student ambassadors made my interview day a genuinely enjoyable experience.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Each optometry school will deliver quality education and clinical experience, so look out for 1) which school can you see yourself feeling most comfortable and included in the student community, and 2) which schools provide resources that are particularly helpful for YOU–such as strong student collaboration, tutor and TA availability, recorded lectures, etc.

 

DavisSydni Davis

Major:  Biology
Hometown: St. Charles, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
UMSL is close to home, and you can’t ask for better people than you find at UMSL. There is always innovation happening here, endless resources, and we are challenged daily to be our best selves. I knew from being here for undergrad that UMSL would be a great home for me for optometry school.

What advice would you share with potential students?
I would become familiar with the school and area to assess whether it feels like “home” to you. You should be able to assess whether or not you fit at this school. We have great things to offer, and you will get an amazing education here, but it is up to you to decide where you want to spend your 4 years of optometry school. At UMSL you will get a great education, endless opportunities, a fun city to live in, and a forever family. If that sounds like what you want, then I hope you’ll join us! Make sure you are ready for the challenge because it is not easy to become an eye doctor, but if you have the passion for it, you will do well!

 

 

DermodyWEBLauren Dermody

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Swansea, IL
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the location and friendly atmosphere.

What advice would you share with potential students?
I would apply early!! The more prepared you are, the earlier you can apply, and the more options you have for school!

FehlhaferWEBMarisa Fehlhafer

Major: Human Physiology
Hometown:  Cedar Rapids, IA
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because they made me feel like family and I felt at home. 🙂

What advice would you share with potential students?
Apply to schools as soon as possible and take your time making your decision on which school to attend! I would also suggest getting a job as a technician or optician or at least shadow multiple doctors so you get a better idea as to what optometrists do day in and day out.

FloodWEBKatelyn Flood

Major:  Biology
Hometown: Pittsburg, KS
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because it felt like a place I could call home! I met such passionate and caring people at my interview day that I knew UMSL was the place for me.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Whatever you are passionate about–whether that be mission work, a particular situation that drew you to optometry, or something extracurricular that you have been actively involved in–make it stand out in your application! It makes the interview go so much more smoothly when they ask you about the things that you are most interested in!

 

HaugenWEBConnor Haugen

Major:  Biology
Hometown: Fort Collins, CO
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the tightly knit classes and caring faculty.

What advice would you share with potential students?
I would suggest that prospective students and applicants be timely–getting all of the prerequisites done, the OAT taken, and the application in early can be a huge difference maker in being accepted.

 

HaysWEBCarli Hays

Major: Exercise and movement science
Hometown: Kirksville, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the family vibe I got from the ambassadors when I visited the school and when I interviewed. I felt very welcome and that I would fit in well at the school.

What advice would you share with potential students?
I would tell the prospective student or applicant to not be nervous and just be yourself!

HoltzmanWEBNick Holtzman

Major:  Exercise Science
Hometown: Danvers, IL
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I immediately felt welcomed to the campus as if I was meant to be there. There was sense of camaraderie between the students and faculty and, a culture that I didn’t notice at other schools a culture of, students first. Whereas other universities it felt like, school first, students second.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Shadow an optometrist as much as possible. Get a job at an optometrist’s office if you can. Get an idea of how you want to practice optometry. Although, practicing optometry may seem a long ways off, knowing where you’re going to land up will make the process of getting there easier.

 

HuckWEBMolly Huck

Major:  Biology
Hometown: Ste. Genevieve, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because I loved its small class size and close-knit atmosphere. The sense of community and helpfulness that I saw at UMSL really stood out to me compared to other schools.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Don’t be too nervous for your interview day. Everyone is trying to make you feel welcome and they want you to choose UMSL just as much as you may want to come here. You should definitely prepare for the interview, but it is also very important to not overthink it. The interview is very conversational and the admission committee is trying to get to know you, not just a robot response to a question. It is most important to just be yourself!

 

HuieWEBErin Huie

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  St. Louis, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I loved the people I met, the class sizes and the family-like dynamic.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Have fun on your interview day and enjoy the experience!

 

ShortStevi James

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Farmington, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
On my first visit there for my interview I had the feeling that UMSL was where I belonged. I felt as if I had known the ambassadors and the staff for longer than a few hours and I knew that if I came to UMSL, it would feel like home.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Don’t be intimidated by your classmates. They will know things that you don’t, and they will score higher than you in certain areas, but the roles will be reversed in certain subjects. Just work your hardest for yourself, help out your classmates when they need it, and accept help in return.

 

 

 

LakayilJane Lakayil

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Chicago, IL
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL Optometry because it is a close knit community.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Visit a school and interact with its current students before committing to it.

 

MagreWEBHolly Magre

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Festus, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the small class sizes and family environment.

What advice would you share with potential students?
My advice would be to get your applications in as early as possible, and be proactive when it comes to choosing your new school.

 

MartinezWEBMatthew Martinez

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Dodge City, KS
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because the welcoming staff and faculty, along with the family-oriented atmosphere and drive for student success, cemented my decision to make UMSL-Optometry the perfect starting point to launch my career as an Optometrist.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Dreams without goals often fuel disappointment. Dreams, on the road to achievement, require discipline and consistency. Know your why, and let this be the fuel that drives you forward towards completing your goals.

 

MatsonWEBKrystal Matson

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Creighton, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
UMSL was the optometry school I felt most at home, likely due to the “family atmosphere” UMSL prides themselves on having.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Embrace your passions and tell us what makes you unique! Don’t think the admissions committee will disregard your interest in music, sports, travel, etc.

 

MayfieldWEBErin Mayfield

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Perryville, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2018

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because I know I will get a great education and will be a qualified optometrist.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Do your research and tour different schools if possible. Don’t freak out during the application process. There’s a lot to it, but just take it a step at a time.

 

MossMadison Moss

Major:  Exercise and Sport Science
Hometown:  Statesville, NC
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because I knew it would be my perfect home away from home.

What advice would you share with potential students? When considering optometry schools, definitely make sure their academics are exemplary, but also ensure that the school is a place where you feel you’ll be supported and encouraged. You can do this if you set your heart and mind to it!!

 

NelsenWEBEmily Nelsen

Major:  Kinesiology
Hometown:  Audubon, Iowa
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
It has a great family feel. Th atmosphere felt right during my interview day.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Really pay attention and ask the right questions on interview days. This helped me a lot when deciding on a school.

 

NguyenMaria Nguyen

Major:  Health Information Management
Hometown:  St. Louis, MO
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?

Nick Palisch / close to home

What advice would you share with potential students?
Get a planner because it will help you manage your time so much better!!!!

 

PaceWEBJeffery Pace

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Brandon, MS
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
It offers a family like environment with small class sizes similar to my high school and strong academic success.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Optometry is a great profession and is well worth the effort it takes to get there. Be sure to shadow doctors and gain experience in the field to be sure it is what you want to do. Once you’ve decided its right for you get a high GPA and high OAT score. Visit multiple optometry schools and when you find the right one you’ll know it. My dad is an optometrist and I thought for years I would go to the same OD school he went to until I visited here at UMSL and changed my mind. So keep an open mind and when it comes to your interview don’t be nervous but be prepared.

SpagnolaLacie Spagnola

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Santa Cruz, CA
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of all the support I get from the faculty and my fellow students.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Try to be yourself and be engaged in the application and interview process. We want to know who you are!

 

VisinWEBJanessa Visin

Major: Human Physiology
Hometown:  Iowa City, IA
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
Meeting with the representatives of the college on the day of my interview made a huge impact on my decision! The relationships between students and faculty members is unlike any other optometry school. Having smaller classes really allows everyone to know each other well.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Have plenty of experience! Know what you are getting into and be aware of the true role optometrists play in health care.

 

Waltz

Aric Waltz

Major:  Biology Health Professions
Hometown:  Spirit Lake, IA
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because of the community that allows you to become close with the faculty, staff and students

What advice would you share with potential students?
Believe in yourself! It can be a little overwhelming applying for and getting ready for optometry school, but just remember that you are doing this for a reason and it is worth it!

 

WeinbergerBecca Weinberger

Major:  Biology
Hometown:  Homer Glen, IL
Graduating Class: Class of 2020

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL because it felt like a home.

What advice would you share with potential students?
My advice would be to enjoy the most of your life and to not stress so much about school that it breaks your motivation.

 

WellsWEBStephen Wells

Major: Exercise Science
Hometown: Kenmore, Washington
Graduating Class: Class of 2021

Why did you choose UMSL?
I chose UMSL first and foremost for the family feel atmosphere. I felt so welcomed by staff and students at my interview and the small class size is very inviting. I also was influenced by the great NEBO pass rates which I believe is very important. Also the cost of living for St. Louis and low tuition was a huge plus.

What advice would you share with potential students?
Make a list of your most important factors in choosing a school and then decide based off of that. It could include NEBO pass rates, location, class size, etc.

 

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