By Aprille Gozdecki, Feb. 2, 2021
The Pre-Optometry Club, entirely student-run, launched this semester with a vision to help prepare students to get into optometry school.
The club provides valuable resources for its members who are interested in pursuing a career in optometry. Free resources include Optometry Admission Test preparatory materials, shadowing opportunities, optometry school tours, online university information sessions and relevant volunteering opportunities.
Club President Len Morales, a third-year biology student, felt that it was important to have this medical field represented at Cal Poly Pomona because she wanted to build a community surrounding the optometry specialty.
“As a freshman, I wasn’t sure about starting a club right away because I didn’t know what went into starting a club,” said Morales. “So, I joined a different club and became a board member so I could learn all that I needed to do to start a club.”
Morales has been interested in pursuing optometry since high school when she received the opportunity to be a part of a shadow program. She was even set to join a different pre-optometry club as a first-year student but discovered that it disbanded.
It wasn’t until Morales saw a post from Jenny Nong, a first-year chemistry student and now-secretary of the Pre-Optometry Club, on Reddit asking if anyone wanted to start a pre-optometry club that gave her the opportunity. After contacting Nong, the two began promoting the club through various social media platforms to gain more members.
“I have always wanted to be in the medical field or be in the setting of a hospital or a patient care room,” said Nong. “I have had glasses all my life, so I figured that I would start there.”
Starting a club during remote learning had its difficulties. The board members have never met in person, so they all learned how to utilize online platforms like Zoom and Discord to communicate with each other and the rest of the club members. Virtually coordinating meetings and planning for the launch of the club posed difficulties as well, especially due to the possibility of emails getting buried in inboxes.
Their plans for the semester include admission presentations for different optometry schools — the first one scheduled for Feb. 25 — and Q&A sessions with different optometry students, alumni and local optometrists.
“We also want to create a community for more optometry students so we can help prepare them for optometry school and give them the resources, such as mock interviews or study materials, that they need,” said Morales.
Club member Ben Guzman, a third-year general biology student, shared that he found a sense of belonging on campus after discovering the club.
“I never knew anybody who was interested in doing optometry,” said Guzman. “I just thought that it would be nice to get to know people who were also interested in doing optometry.”
The club hopes to recruit more members at the virtual Spring Club Fair on Feb. 2 that will be held from noon to 1 p.m. There will be an informational night on Feb. 9 and two social nights planned on Feb. 11 and Feb. 23. The club will also be collaborating with other premedical students and clubs for a health conference on April 10.
“The Pre-Medical Students Association is one of the biggest clubs on campus right now,” said Morales. “So, we would love to be able to build a community and have that same presence on campus.”
The Pre-Optometry Club welcomes all CPP students who are interested in optometry. To join, contact the club at email@example.com or through its myBar page. Meetings are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. via Zoom.
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