Each year, a third or fourth year student at each college of optometry has the opportunity to serve as a CooperVision Student Ambassador. The program is designed to give a student with an interest in the contact lens industry an opportunity to partner with CooperVision and to facilitate sponsorship and other opportunities at their school. The Student Ambassador acts as a liaison between the optometry school and CooperVision and receives a $500 educational grant for their time and effort.
Micaela Crowley, O.D. is a former Student Ambassador from Pacific University’s College of Optometry. She spoke with us recently about the value of the program and the impact that experience had as she entered her optometry career.
Why did you choose to become a CooperVision Student Ambassador and how did you learn about the program?
Dr. Crowley: It was an excellent opportunity to learn about contact lenses in a way I would have never learned without this position; it provided insight as to how the industry side of optometry approaches patient care. I was pleasantly surprised!
I learned about the program as a member of the AOSA Board of Trustees and National Liaison for AOA CLCS. I met Mark Andre at a CooperVision sponsored dinner and he immediately recognized the chance to network with more students.
Can you describe the duties you fulfilled as a CooperVision Student Ambassador?
Dr. Crowley: The goal was to increase CooperVision’s presence at each school through local ambassadors and reassure the professors and students that CooperVision was there to invest in their education. We wanted to make sure each school clinic was equipped with fitting sets and diagnostic lens refills. After all, we know that if a contact lens isn’t present, it is less likely to be fit. It is important that diagnostic lens sets are full.
Within the year, I updated and maintained a directory to each of the schools, organized the donations made for Optometry Giving Sight, promoted the CVI program to the AOSA Board of Trustees, attended Academy and a few Key Optometric Leader dinners as the national student ambassador and whatever else the CVI team sent my way.
What did you learn as a CooperVision Student Ambassador?
Dr. Crowley: Honestly, I think a better question is - ‘What didn’t I learn?’
I learned CooperVision’s inventory is enormous and they manufacture the most SCL parameters available in the market. They have a SCL option for all needs, thus stream lining the contact lens fit. That is so important in a busy practice.
At the KOL dinner, I learned that many of the top contact lens clinicians in the country fit CooperVision contact lenses on a regular basis. I feel this is due to obvious reasons.
I also learned they have an incredibly knowledgeable and fun team who care about their profession.
Do you feel that your role as a CooperVision student ambassador has helped you as you enter your career as a practitioner?
Dr. Crowley: Absolutely! I use the Practitioner tools available on their website on a daily basis. It’s bookmarked as a favorite for easy access.
It really helped with my approach to patient care; I do not automatically dismiss a patient with a prescription that is difficult to fit in conventional contact lenses. Many of these patients have been deemed non-contact lens candidates and the mere fact that I do not instantly say ‘no’ is sometimes satisfaction enough. I tell them I will try because I have the resources available to do so. I also use the skills gained as a student ambassador when meeting with my contact lens representatives.
Click here to learn more about the CooperVision Student Ambassador Program.