KYCO Student Jeremy Penn Headshot in optometric surgery room on campus.

Penn earns top-notch education, gains support system at KYCO

Jeremy Penn, a member of the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) inaugural Class of 2020, hails from a small town in northeast Ohio about the size of Pikeville, Ky. His family is in the auto-body business; Penn will be the first doctor in the family.

Penn, KYCO’s 2018-2019 Student Government Association president, began earning his bachelor’s degree in math education at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. However, after undergoing an eye exam with his hometown optometrist, a new career path opened for him. Penn observed Dr. Lindsey’s passion for optometry and realized he didn’t have to be a teacher to educate people, and that by caring for patients he could help make the world a better place. Penn ended up graduating in 2014 with a major in biology and pre-optometry as well as a double minor in chemistry and sociology.

One of the reasons he chose KYCO was for the extended scope of practice optometrists enjoy in Kentucky. He also selected KYCO because it’s a new school situated in a brand new, modern facility featuring state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Having much of his equipment included in the cost of tuition was also appealing to Penn. Because of KYCO’s provision of equipment, he will have the items he needs to begin his career as a practicing optometrist.  

Aside from a top-notch education and state-of-the-art facilities, Penn ultimately chose to engage in optometric education at UPIKE for another reason.

“Most important of all,” he says, “I chose UPIKE because it felt like home. The faculty, staff and fellow interviewees I met during my interview process helped me realize that it was the right choice to make.”

He believes he couldn’t have made a better choice and enjoys being involved in various clubs, including the student chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity which has allowed him to travel from Tennessee to West Virginia to provide eye care for those in need. Not only does he enjoy traveling, but he also stays fit and healthy by frequenting the Pikeville Area YMCA and loves everything “Marvel comic.”

Penn explains, “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the help of friends I’ve made in Pikeville and the care and sincerity expressed by my professors. I’m going to miss Pikeville in the future, but I’ll be thankful for all it taught me.”