UPIKE Summer Camp finds prospective students from across the world

 For the third consecutive year, the University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) hosted a summer camp aimed at providing pre-health and pre-optometry majors an introduction to the profession of optometry. The camp’s goal is to introduce an optometry school experience, help students understand the application process and map out an individualized pre-optometry preparation plan, all at no cost to the student. 

Participants are typically invited to a three-day experience on campus. However, this year’s camp was held virtually as students from six states, and as far away as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, got a glimpse into KYCO’s facilities and technology. 

Over the past four years, KYCO has instituted several pipeline programs to expose prospective students to the optometry profession. Some of these programs and events include the Optometry Scholars Program, pre-optometry events in the fall and spring for UPIKE undergraduate students, journal club participation, clinic shadowing, research opportunities and the summer optometry camp. 

“Students need to ‘test drive’ experiences as they embark on designing their futures. KYCO is offering these free opportunities and experiences for students to explore optometry as a profession through these pipeline programs,” explained Josephine Owoeye, O.D., MPH, FAAO, assistant dean for student and professional development at KYCO. 

These KYCO pipeline programs have been instrumental in attracting and mentoring qualified future optometry students. Eight participants have enrolled in KYCO, along with 14 optometry scholars. To date, 49 students have participated in the optometry camp since its inception in 2017.  

Summer camp participants reported being pleased with the virtual experience, especially the sessions where they had a chance to interact with current KYCO student ambassadors, discuss interview skills and meet with the admissions team to map their plans. They also had an 

opportunity to participate in the virtual anatomy lab, hear from KYCO faculty and meet the dean, Michael Bacigalupi, O.D., MS, FAAO, FNAP. 

KYCO Associate Professor and Director of Research George Asimellis, Ph.D., conducted the geometric optics session of UPIKE’s optometry virtual camp.
Dr. Jesson Martin seated at his desk for virtual optometry camp
Department Chair of Academic Affairs and KYCO Associate Professor Jesson Martin M.Sc., M.Phil., Ph.D., educated students virtually about physical optics.