UMSL Faculty Receive Honors at the Annual Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators Workshop

The UMSL contact lens faculty played a prominent role and were awarded multiple honors at the 37thannual 2019 Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators (AOCLE) Workshop, held May 30 – June 1 at the Pacific University College of Optometry.  Whereas typically only two faculty are eligible to attend, UMSL had an unprecedented four members, due to the fact that Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Jessica Tu was awarded the competitive George Mertz New Educator Travel Award. This is the first time that an UMSL faculty member has been honored with this award.  In addition, as Dr. Julie DeKinder is an officer (Vice-Chair), that allowed another faculty member to attend. Drs. Vinita Henry and Ed Bennett rounded out the UMSL contingent.  Dr. Bennett became the fourth individual in AOCLE history to be honored with the AOCLE Lifetime Achievement Award, given to an optometric educator who has demonstrated exemplary commitment and dedication to the organization. Dr. Tu was thrilled to attend the workshop: “It was a phenomenal meeting and there were so many innovative ideas that are valuable for education. It’s hard to keep up with all of the new technology, and this workshop summarizes everything so I can come back and look at things more in depth.”When Dr. DeKinder ascends to Chair next year, UMSL will join the Michigan College of Optometry as the only institutions to have had three faculty members as Chair of the AOCLE.