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UMSL Hosts Receptions at the Missouri Optometric Association and the American Academy of Optometry


An important part of a successful organization is to maintain engagement with our alumni as well as provide the opportunity for students and alumni to connect at various events across the state.  The College of Optometry has been hosting receptions as Heart of America, Optometry’s Meeting, and most recently at the Annual Meeting of the Missouri Optometric Association (MOA) and the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO).

The recent MOA meeting was in Branson, Missouri. Dean Larry Davis addressed all of the attendees with an update on the newly opened UMSL Patient Care Center. During his address, he discussed the ongoing fundraising. In addition, Director of Student and Alumni Services Nick Palisch, along with a great team of student ambassadors staffed the UMSL booth to meet with attendees.

The College of Optometry also hosted a reception in Anaheim, California in conjunction with the Annual meeting of the AAO.  The AAO reception held on November 11th was well attended with not only one of the largest student turnout in recent history, but also great alumni representation including many recent UMSL graduates who are currently in residency programs.


Dr. Tom Quinn, a frequent and popular lecturer at UMSL recently donated a scholarship to the student chapter of the AAO, was a popular attendee at the reception.  UMSL graduates who received their Fellow in Anaheim included Jennifer Sidun (’13), Steve Branstetter (’13), Salena Pho (‘10), and Hilary Morrow (‘14). A sincere congratulations to each of them on this new honor.



Dean Larry Davis addressing alumni and students at the MOA reception


Dean Davis with MOF President Scott Ream (’87) at the MOA


Dean Davis with Carol Merritt ('89) at the MOA reception


Assistant Dean Ed Bennett with many of the students who attended the MOA reception including (front row): Sydni Davis (’20), Jessie Crabtree (’18), Samantha Holland (’18), Kara Hoff (’19), Brittney Schieber (’19), Abigail Smith (’20), Shelby Baugh Bruner (’17), and Taylor Dahms (’18). Back Row:  Justin Groennert (’20), Logan Page (’18), and Matt Lazarus (’18)


A very positive and active group of ambassadors at the MOA booth(left to right): Dean Larry Davis, Assistant Dean Ed Bennett, Sydni Davis (’20), Luke Armstrong (’20), Jackie Hinderks (’20), Director of Student Services Nick Palisch, Becca Weinberger (’20), Quinn Gallen (’20), and Nick Portell (’19)


At the AAO Reception: Dena Colentino (’19), Kate Hamm (’19) and Dean Larry Davis


In Anaheim at the AAO reception (left to right): Taylor Dahms (’18), Amy Schaag (’17), Jessica Jose (’16), Katie Loock (’17), Assistant Dean Ed Bennett, Tom Quinn, Allison Schafers (’16), and Jamie Weiser (’16). 


Julie DeKinder, Steve Branstetter (’13), Jennifer Sidun (’13), Dean Larry Davis, and Jim Hoekel (‘94)


Carolyn Draude (’18), Kaitlyn Lukefahr (’18), Ramya Natarajan (’18), and Caitlyn Reynolds (’18) at the AAO meeting. 


Garrett Pennell (’17), Elias Toubia (’17), and Eric Ricker (’17) at the AAO reception.


The Class of 2013 was well represented in Anaheim including (left to right): Kevin Hoang, Carrie Hartigan, Jennifer Sidun, Rob Ensley, and Steve Branstetter.


UMSL graduates receiving their Fellow in Anaheim included Jennifer Sidun (’13), Steve Branstetter (’13), Salena Pho (‘10), and Hilary Morrow (14)


At the AAO reception from the Class of 2014 are Hilary Morrow and Jenna Nelson


Elizabeth Phillips (’16), Deli Shirizian (’16), and Carrie Hartigan (’13) at the AAO reception

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