Leff Chosen as Student Spotlight:  February 2018

Valerie Leff (Class of 2019)

Valerie Leff was chosen as the February Student Spotlight because of her dedication to helping students who are struggling in courses.  Leff is a current third year optometry student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry.

Valerie is a dedicated student who has exemplified paying it forward while a student at the College of Optometry.  She has served as a teaching assistant for several courses and tutored several students in various courses throughout her time at UMSL.

She is dedicated to helping others learn and grow within the field of optometry.  Director of Student and Alumni Services Nick Palisch said, “Anytime we needed someone to tutor students she was willing to take on one more in her group. She is always positive and energetic to  help out!”

Valerie has also been involved in leadership roles as well.  Her dedication and service to the college and to her fellow classmates is a prime example of what makes UMSL Optometry students stand out!  We are lucky to have Valerie’s dedication here at UMSL!

Congratulations Valerie!

Three Students Featured as September Student Spotlight Recipients

The summer months at the College of Optometry are generally quieter than the fall and spring semesters when all classes are in session, but that doesn’t mean work stops.  Over the summer, three students,  Justin Kendall (’20),  Krystal Matson (’20) and Aric Waltz (’20) worked in the Office of Student Services helping to answer phones, mail packets, prepare for the incoming class, and to assist in whatever activities needed to be done.

“These three students worked hard—in many cases giving up a summer they could have slept in, watched TV, and traveled the world. But they stayed around and helped prepare the college for the upcoming school year,” commented Nick Palisch, Director of Student and Alumni Services. These three students worked hard and helped to ensure we were ready for fall 2017.

These students worked as a team to compile the new student orientation binder that was distributed to the incoming students. “This binder was a huge project! They compiled all the materials we felt were important to a new student and then organized them into a well-crafted binder,” Palisch said.  These three students also participated in many special events on campus during the summer to promote the College of Optometry.

These members of the Class of 2020 are unique in many ways, but what is most admirable is the dedication they brought to working in the Office of Student Services. “Aric, Krystal, and Justin are three very bright, organized, hardworking individuals who exemplify the type of student we strive to have at UMSL,” Palisch said.  Each of them represented the college in a positive manner and always presented themselves as top-notch professionals.

Krystal, who is from northwest Missouri, is married and has two dogs and one cat.  Her defining characteristics are empathy, attention to detail, and precision.  “Krystal is a person who pays attention to detail and works effectively to take the task to the next level.  Her level of professionalism, leadership, and attitude will carry her far in her future career as an optometrist.  I knew when I asked her to do something, it would be done on time and with precision. She is also one who will get the job done, no matter the circumstance,” Palisch said.

Justin grew up in St. Charles and attended Mizzou before coming to UMSL Optometry. His skills include the ability to communicate clearly and with great energy. In addition, he understands—to an elevated level—Microsoft Word and Excel.  “Justin is one of those people who doesn’t meet a stranger. He will talk to anyone and do so with energy and clarity.  Justin has a good personality that will make him a great optometrist when he graduates,” commented Palisch.

Aric, who comes to UMSL from Iowa, is married and has one dog. .  Aric is the gentleman of gentlemen, and he has a spirit of compassion and calmness.  “Aric is a unique find in society and one who helps make the future brighter for everyone.  He is always in a good mood, finds the best in every situation, and is one of those silent leaders that people naturally gravitate to. He will definitely make a great optometrist when he graduates.  He is the calm in the storm,” Palisch said.

Each of these students deserve this month’s student spotlight because of the uniqueness they bring to the Office of Student Services and the college.  Each of them are true representatives of the program and are always ready and willing to do what needs to be done to make the place better.  “Without a doubt, we (Student Services) would not function without our student workers.  These three students help make the College of Optometry what it is today, and without them we would cease to exist. These three make me proud to be a part of a great organization,” Palisch said.    Congratulations and Thank YOU, Aric, Krystal, and Justin for all your help this summer in Student Services!!!