Focusing on KYCO 2020: Sha’Mia Stinson

Sha’Mia Stinson is part of the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) Class of 2020. She’s pursuing a career in optometry to help people have a better quality of life. Stinson chose KYCO because she is very family-oriented, and KYCO is the closest optometry school to her family in South Carolina. She also loves that KYCO is in Kentucky, a state where optometrists enjoy an expanded scope of practice that includes performing specific surgical procedures.

Stinson loves traveling and performing community service with her sorority. “One experience that will stick with me,” she says, “is while attending KYCO I had the opportunity to present a poster at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Honolulu, Hawaii. During this conference, I was able to make connections that will assist me throughout my career as an optometrist.”

Stinson is excited to become an optometrist so she can offer vision services, diagnose and treat eye-related diseases, perform specific surgical procedures and provide pre- and post-operative care for eye surgery patients. She initially chose a career in optometry because it allows for the flexibility and freedom she desires for a healthy work-life balance, including a flexible schedule with a variety of ways to practice.

Deciding how or where she will practice is difficult, so she’s looking forward to the extensive externship rotation KYCO offers as part of the fourth-year experience. This will allow her to practice different optometry concentrations in varying regions of the country so she can make an informed decision after graduation.

Stinson thinks her biggest challenge was the culture shock of living in a small, Appalachian community; yet, because of this and other experiences KYCO offers, she explains, “I feel prepared to work in any optometry setting as I have been exposed to a number of different ways to practice and how to be effective in each setting. Additionally, I have learned additional skill sets, as it pertains to laser procedures and injections through the expanded scope of practice, that will allow me to be of better service to my patients.”