Skip to main content

Ambassadors: Making the Difference.

Ambassadors: Making the Difference

The student ambassador program at the College of Optometry is a crucial element of the recruitment and admission process.  These ambassadors are volunteering many hours a semester to promote and represent the college of optometry.  Each year over 150 students are interviewed for admission into the College of Optometry and the ambassadors play an instrumental role in talking with the applicants and their families.  Director of Student and Alumni Services Nick Palisch feels, “these students are the face of the college and they are here to promote and give our guest a snapshot of what makes us different than other colleges of optometry.”

The ambassadors not only participate in the interview process, but they also assist with special events, including recruitment trips, orientation, conferences, optometry showcase events, and other university-wide events.  The number of students who desire to be an ambassador continues to grow, “We have 43 ambassadors this year—and I believe this speaks volumes for the impression that prior ambassadors have played in creating an excitement to be involved in the ambassador program,” said Palisch. First year ambassador Fei Fu (’20) agrees, “I really appreciate the help and welcoming energy I received from the student ambassadors; and I would love to pay it forward. I hope to make new friends and let new coming students feel welcomed and appreciated just as I had.” Paying it forward is what makes UMSL Optometry stand out to prospective students and families. 

The ambassador program went through a change in 2013 when, among other things, each ambassador was provided with a polo shirt and name tag to help create a unified atmosphere.  “The students are often what makes the difference and having them wear a polo with our branding helps to establish a mark on the campus,” commented Palisch.  In many cases, the ambassadors play a contributing role in applicant’s decision to attend UMSL Optometry, as student ambassador Genare Woofter (’20) comments, “The ambassadors at UMSL seem like a very close group and I believe I could add to the sense of family that the College of Optometry portrays to prospective students and is one of the main reasons I chose UMSL.”  As the number of optometry schools continues to increase, it is important to look at ways to enhance the student experience and the ambassador program is one of many ways that the College of Optometry shines. 

Another student, Luke Armstrong (’20) who also serves a student ambassador and an UMSL 3+4 student, comments, “I witnessed the positive impacts that student ambassadors can have on prospective students. By engaging with me in a friendly manner throughout these events, the student ambassadors answered many of my questions and portrayed the family-style educational environment that the UMSL College of Optometry prides itself on. I know personally that my interactions with the student ambassadors at these events induced a sense of comfortability and support that was important in making my decision to attend UMSL.”  The impression that applicants, prospective students, and guests have while they are at UMSL Optometry creates interest and supports the family feel atmosphere. 


Popular posts from this blog

UMSL Hosts the 2017 Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators 34th Annual Educational Workshop

The UMSL College of Optometry was host to 56 contact lens educators from all of the Colleges in North America as well as 23 representatives from contact lens industry sponsors as host of the 34th Annual Association of Optometric Contact Lens Educators(AOCLE) Annual Educational Workshop, held June 1 – 3.  The theme of the meeting was ““Scleral Lenses: The Good, The Bad, The Technology.” Guest lecturers included renown scleral lens innovators Drs. Christine Sindt and Jason Jedlicka.  Attendees had the opportunity to participate in workshops pertaining to scleral lens evaluation and fitting.  A highlight of the workshop was a tour of the new UMSL Patient Care Center.  The organizing committee consisted of Drs. Julie DeKinder, Vinita Henry, Ed Bennett, and Beth Henderson with Dr. DeKinder doing a wonderful job as Chair of the committee.  And she was very pleased to have this opportunity as she relates: “It was an honor to host the AOCLE at UMSL.  Having the opportunity to showcase our new…

White Coat Ceremony: A Wonderful Tribute to the Class of Harmony

Class of 2021 Mixer

The College of Optometry at UMSL has many distinct features, including small class size, a wide array of externships, successful board pass rates, and high retention, but one of the most defining characteristics is the family feel atmosphere.  Each year the college begins the cycle of recruiting and admitting a new group of individuals from all over the country, and even the world.  This year the College of Optometry is welcoming 49 new students to the Class of 2021.  These students come together as strangers and will leave as close friends and even extended members of one another’s families by the time they graduate.
The journey toward becoming this family begins in April at the Class Mixer, where the students meet for the first time and get to know one another.  Spouses, significant others, and even parents are invited to the event; it provides the opportunity to know not only the other students but also those who make up their support system.   The class of 2021, along with their fa…