MCO Ambassadors for Admissions

Third Year Students

Allegra BabiarzAllegra Babiarz

Hi! Welcome to the beginning of your incredible academic and clinical journey at the Michigan College of Optometry. Every day that I am in class I realize just how spectacular the human visual system is. There is a communal passion for eyeballs in this school, and I am no exception. I grew up in Elk Rapids, MI and attended Ferris State University ever since then. I was an Early Admit / 3+4 applicant to the Michigan College of Optometry, so even my Bachelor's degree in Vision Science is from MCO at Ferris. Optical illusions and ocular anatomy has been the peak of my interest ever since I was little, and now I am experiencing the great opportunity of turning those interests into a career to help hundreds of thousands of people with their daily lives. The faculty at MCO is excellent, and their personal dedication and work that they put in to each lecture and class is incomparable to anything I have previously experienced. I am very active with my fellow classmates in playing intramural sports. I am also involved at MCO in different groups including: the Michigan Optometric Student Association, the American Optometric Student Association, the American Academy of Optometry with which I am currently applying for student fellowship, and I am part of the Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity where we travel overseas to help deliver eye care to impoverished areas. I am excited to help welcome you to our school, please email me with any questions at babiara@ferris.edu.

Andrew Bringard

Hello my name is Drew Bringard and I am from Lexington Michigan, a small town in the thumb of Michigan located on Lake Huron. I attended Ferris State University for my undergraduate studies where I received two Bachelors Degrees: a B.S. Biology and a B.A. Chemistry. I became interested in Optometry while I was doing my undergraduate studies here at Ferris. I always knew I wanted to go into the Medical field because I was interested in sciences and helping people. Optometry became my final choice when I did some summer job shadowing with an optometrist and instantly I knew this was the career for me. Feel free to contact me at bringaa@ferris.edu.

Ariel PscheidlAriel Pscheidl

I graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s in biomedical sciences and American Sign Language. My passion for optometry was sparked in middle school, and I’m excited to be working towards making it my career. I’m involved heavily with Special Olympics of Michigan – Opening Eyes: a program that provides free vision screenings and glasses to the Special Olympics athletes. MCO is a great school where you’re sure to excel as you learn how to provide personal and professional eye care to your future patients. Don’t hesitate to email me – my inbox is always open! pscheia@ferris.edu

Ben Lawless

I am from Portland, MI and I attended Ferris State University, where I obtained by BS in Biology. I have been interested in the field of optometry since about the fifth grade. My interest in optometry is driven by my lifelong ocular problems; I have worn glasses since I was a baby. Finally, my interest was solidified by my work in an optometrist’s office in undergrad and by visiting MCO. I knew MCO was my school of choice because of the small class sizes, family atmosphere and the state of the art building. After more than a year at MCO, I can say that there is no better place to finish my studies. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to contact me at lawlesb@ferris.edu.

Charlotte LoveCharlotte Love

I graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. My interest in optometry started from working at the Eye Research Institute at Oakland University. My undergraduate research lead to two publications in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. In undergrad, I was president of Global Medical Brigades and went on three medical relief trips to Central America. I decided to come to Ferris because it has beautiful new facilities, small class sizes and close to home. Ferris offers many opportunities to its students; I can continue my passion for research and volunteering. This past May, I traveled to Africa with OneSight to provide vision care to underserved communities. I am on the SVOSH e-board and work at MCO continuing vision research with Dr. Raghunandan. If you have any questions free to contact me at massolc@ferris.edu

Justin UllreyJustin Ullrey

I did my undergraduate studies at Ferris State University, where I majored in biology with a focus on Pre-Optometry studies. I was able to complete my required undergraduate courses in three years and I applied to MCO through the 3+4 program. I am the President- elect for the Optometry Student Government at MCO. My desire to become an optometrist began during my freshman year of high school when I began to research careers. I see optometry as a great way to help people and a hands on profession where we can see our patients from start to finish. I have been working at optometry offices for the last four summers and I have been very fortunate to have been mentored by some great doctors. Being an MCO student is an incredible experience! The desire to help and push the students that the faculty possesses leads to a first rate experience. Feel free to email me with any questions you would have! ullreyj@ferris.edu

Kathleen Bott

Hello! My name is Kathleen Bott and I am from Traverse City, Michigan. Prior to attending Michigan College of Optometry I received my Bachelors in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from The University of Michigan where I was a member of the pre-optometry club. I first got interested in Optometry at a young age due to being a patient and experiencing first-hand how much of an impact vision has on daily life. Working at a corporate optometry office and lab I have further expanded my knowledge in the field and fell in love with my future profession even more. Here at MCO I am a trustee-elect for the Michigan Optometric Student Association and treasurer for Optometry Student Government. I knew MCO was the right choice for me because of all the amazing clubs for students to get in involved in, the outstanding academics and state of the art equipment, and the awesome faculty that make you feel right at home. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at bottk3@ferris.edu

Kevin Leahy

My home town of Traverse City, MI is where my interest for optometry started. I learned about the eye in a middle school biology class, shadowed local optometrists in high school, and eventually was able to tour MCO. Going on the tour, meeting such welcoming doctors, and seeing all the exciting aspects that go into creating such an awesome profession solidified my decision to pursue optometry. I then committed to attending Ferris State University where I initially majored in Biology/Pre-Optometry. After I was accepted into the 3+4 Early Admissions Program, I was then able to receive a bachelors degree in Vision Science upon completing my first year in the graduate program. MCO is not only a great place to pursue your career as an optometrist, but a great place to get involved, meet future colleagues, and make lifelong friends! If you have any questions, feel free to contact any time at leahyk1@ferris.edu

Kristina Aikens

I am originally from Fargo, North Dakota and attended Concordia College in Minnesota where I majored in biology. I have known optometry was the career for me since the beginning of my undergraduate studies, but was able to confirm this passion through working at an optometry clinic and shadowing various optometrists. Once I came to MCO and saw the facility and state-of-the-art environment, I knew this was where I wanted to learn! The faculty, administrators, and students at MCO are friendly and welcoming, which was a great transition from my small undergrad campus. I am involved as Secretary of Optometry Student Government, Secretary of Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, student research, and member of various other student organizations – including intramurals! Our second year team is hoping to take the volleyball title this year! My husband and I have enjoyed our first year in Big Rapids and becoming Michiganders. Feel free to contact me with any questions at rindyk@ferris.edu

LeAnne Barstow

Hi! My name is LeAnne Barstow, and I am from Gladstone, a small town in Michigan's beautiful upper peninsula. I attended Ferris State University for my undergraduate education in Biology. I was accepted into Michigan College of Optometry's 3+4 Admissions program and completed my Bachelor's of Vision Science degree after my first year of graduate studies. The 3+4 Admissions program is one of the many reasons MCO was the perfect choice for me. I also love the ideal location, small class sizes, awesome faculty, and beautiful building. MCO is a wonderful place to learn about optometry both in and outside the classroom. In addition to being a student ambassador, I am President-Elect of Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, Community Service Chair of Optometry Student Government, and a member of various other organizations that help you learn more about the profession and build friendships among future colleagues. If you have any questions about life at MCO or Ferris State, please feel free to contact me at barstol@ferris.edu.

Luke Lirones

I attended Central Michigan University for my undergraduate studies, where I worked diligently on my General Biology major and Business Administration minor. At CMU, I was not only involved in the Science and Technology Residential College, but was also deeply associated with the marching and jazz bands, along with a volunteer program called Global Brigades. My summers were spent playing in a garage band, working at a marina and kitchen spice store, as well as restoring my 1977 Datsun 280Z. Since my passion for Optometry began in 7th grade, I strived for acceptance into the Michigan College of Optometry’s 3+4 program, and fortunately, I was accepted a year early. Once admitted into MCO, I’ve been honored with the role of President-Elect of SVOSH. MCO has been nothing but a dream come true! I’m hard-pressed to believe that there are better facilities, faculty, or peers around! Please feel free to contact me at lironel@ferris.edu!

Mindy Harrington

I was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula and earned my BS in Biological Sciences from Michigan Technological University. I was always interested in math and science growing up and after getting my first pair of glasses in middle school I had made up my mind that I was going to be an optometrist one day. I shadowed at a local private practice throughout my time in high school and college which only confirmed my earlier decision. After interviewing at MCO I knew it was the right school for me. I especially loved the small class sizes and beautiful new facility! harrinm5@ferris.edu

Nilam TrivediNilam Trivedi

I am from Farmington Hills, MI and obtained my Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. My love of the sciences and patient care led me to shadow various medical professionals during my undergraduate years. After having the chance to speak and work with different optometrists, I knew that it was the right career for me: it is an intellectually challenging and gratifying field where you can directly see the impact you make on patients of all ages. After visiting a few different optometry schools, I knew that MCO was the best place to pursue my optometric education: the class size is small, the facility is state of the art, and the environment is so welcoming. The faculty are wonderful and genuinely care about the success and well-being of all students; we truly are one big family here at MCO! I serve as the Community Chair for the Michigan Optometric Student Association, Liaison Elect for the American Public Health Association, and am also actively involved with the American Optometric Student Association and Student Volunteers for Optometric Services to Humanity organizations. I am loving my experience here at MCO, and am confident you will too! Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have at trivedn@ferris.edu.

Nilam TrivediRachel Copley

Hello future optometrist! My name is Rachel Copley and I am from Whitehall, Michigan. I earned my B.S. in Biology from Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana. While pursuing my undergraduate education I had many interests and hobbies including music, literature, medicine, and religious studies. Initially, my own need for glasses sparked my interest in optometry; volunteering at a hospital and shadowing multiple optometrists solidified optometry as my profession of choice. My passion for the field is centered around the positive impact a visit to the optometrist can have on an individual’s life! At the Michigan College of Optometry, patient care is a priority. This is demonstrated through our top-notch facility, small class sizes, and excellent faculty. Each individual at MCO wants you to succeed so that you in turn can help your patients succeed! Here at MCO I am a representative for the Class of 2019 and a member of SVOSH, MOSA, and AOSA. If you have any additional questions, please contact me! copleyr@ferris.edu

Robert LimaRobert Lima

Hello! My name is Robert and I am from Ottawa, Canada. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa where I received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Optometry has been the career I wanted to pursue since I was 16 and went to see my family Optometrist. After my visit I became fascinated in the profession and my passion for Optometry has not changed one bit! During the application process I visited several Optometry schools and MCO was my top choice. After seeing the world class facility and equipment and how the excellent professors were so approachable I knew MCO was where I wanted to complete my degree. At MCO I am part of several different organizations such as SVOSH and the Vision Rehab Club where I am the President-Elect. MCO has many opportunities to get involved and make a difference! Going to school at MCO really does feel like I am part of another family here in Michigan especially when I am so far from home. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me at limar@ferris.edu.

Nilam TrivediTaylor Smith 

Hi! My name is Taylor, and I’m from Saginaw, MI. I found my way to optometry a bit earlier than most people. I’ve always had an interest in the medical field, and during 8th grade I visited a private optometry practice for the first time to get an eye exam. I instantly knew that this was the career for me. During my undergraduate studies at Michigan State University, I had the opportunity to work at this same practice that sparked my interest several years prior. The more I learned about the field and what a typical day looked like as an optometrist, the more passionate I became. The ability to develop lifelong Dr./patient relationships, be involved in the community, see patients of all ages and have such a wide variety in my scope of practice are just a few of the things I look forward to as an OD. I also love that optometry gives me the opportunity to build my own schedule, choose the mode of practice that I like best, as well as the option to be a business owner. Optometry is constantly evolving, expanding, and discovering new ways to best serve our patients, and it’s so exciting to be a part of that and be challenged each day! Here at MCO I am involved in SVOSH and have had the chance to travel to Dominica on two optometric mission trips, as well as serving as the Trustee-elect for the American Optometric Student Association. During my free time I love running and exercising, cheering on the Spartans, and spending time at my lake house. Please free to contact me with any questions you may have! Smitt177@ferris.edu

Second Year Students

Abigail Contreras

Abigail Contreras

Hi my name is Abbie and I attended Ferris State University for my undergraduate studies where I majored in biology. I got accepted to MCO under the 3+4 program, so I received my Bachelor of Vision Science after completing my first year of optometry school. My interest in optometry began when I was just 12 years old. I found myself struggling to read the chalkboard from the back of the classroom. I visited an optometrist and got my first pair of contact lenses that changed my life! It wasn't until my senior year of high school when I job shadowed the same doctor who gave me clear sight, that I decided to pursue this career. In my eyes, there is no better profession than optometry, and no better place to study it than MCO! I love the small class sizes that make for a family atmosphere. The faculty are my biggest role models. They are incredibly knowledgeable and truly care about our success as future eye care professionals. If you have any questions about MCO or Big Rapids, feel free to email me!  contrea7@ferris.edu

Abigail MaynardAbigail Maynard

Hi, my name is Abby Maynard! I am from Holt, MI, which is just outside East Lansing.  I am a born and bred Spartan so naturally I attended Michigan State University (Go Green!) and was a part of the Honors College and Lyman Briggs! I fell in love with optometry for multiple reasons! It is a great environment to work in, you get to work one on one with patients, and truly help to improve the quality of their vision! I have worn contacts and glasses for 10 years and at my very first appointment my mom actually predicted my future as she encouraged me to be an optometrist! I've worked at an optometric practice in Okemos, MI (the same one I went to 10 years ago) and have learned a lot from the doctors there who've taken me in as a student with open arms.  I truly feel lucky to be a part of the MCO community as everyone - students, secretaries, and professors - encourage and help you to succeed.  The small class size is a huge benefit because I am able to work closely with the doctors! Additionally, the optometry building is filled with top notch equipment and creates a great learning environment! MCO also has a wide array of student organizations to get involved in.  I am currently the president-elect of the Michigan Optometric Student Association (MOSA) as well as a member of AOSA.  The eyes and vision continue to excite me every day and I hope they excite you too! Please email me with any questions you may have; I’m happy to help! maynara8@ferris.edu

Abigail ZielkeAbigail Zielke

Hi, my name is Abby Zielke, and I am from Frankenmuth, Michigan. In highschool, I was searching for a career path that would combine my love for science and passion for serving—optometry was the perfect fit! I attended Saginaw Valley State University, where I received my undergraduate degree in biology. Choosing to attend MCO was the easiest and best decision I have ever made. Returning to Big Rapids and to my classmates each semester feels like coming home. I am currently serving as the Michigan Optometric Student Association (MOSA) secretary, as well as a second year Cornea and Contact Lens Representative. I am also involved in SVOSH, the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO), and the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA). Please contact me with any questions you may have about MCO, Big Rapids, applying to optometry school—anything! My email is zielkea@ferris.edu.

Alex ConatiAlexander Conati

My name is Alex Conati, and I am a second year here at MCO. As a Big Rapids native, I attended Ferris State where I majored in Applied Biology. From an early age, I knew that I was meant for a job the involved helping people, so naturally, I gravitated towards the health field. This aligned perfectly with my love for science, and is what eventually brought me to the idea of optometry. After some shadowing and my first eye exam, this field seemed more and more like the perfect fit for me. Finally, growing up so close to one of the greatest optometry schools in the nation is what sealed the deal for me. I truly believe MCO offers the best education, and Big Rapids serves as the perfect setting to begin your exciting adventure into our field. I hope you join us here! conatia@ferris.edu

Ankur PatelAnkur Patel

Hi! I’m Ankur Patel and I am from Canton, Michigan. For my undergraduate studies, I went to Wayne State University for a year before transferring to Michigan State University. I spent two more years there before I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology. All my life I was exposed to the field of Optometry. I got my first pair of glasses around 4th-5th grade and ever since then, it was yearly visits to the Optometrist. In addition, a bursting pipe hit my grandpa while I was in middle school and he had a procedure to get a prosthetic eye. Along with all of this, my grandma received cataract surgery while I was in high school. Seeing family members struggle with such a keen sense like vision made me realize I wanted to help people with their vision. When it was time to apply for Optometry schools, I knew MCO was the right place for me because of the small student-faculty ratio, how close it was to home, and the state of the art facility. I have gotten involved in multiple student organizations including Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanities (SVOSH), Vision Rehab Club (VRC), and am Secretary of the American Optometric Student Association. MCO is a very friendly environment and we would love to have you as part of our family! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at patela44@ferris.edu.

Bret WilliamsBret Williams

Hi, my name is Bret Williams! I am from Chesterfield, MI, a part of the Metro-Detroit area. I attended Macomb Community College and then Ferris State University under the Honors Program for my undergraduate studies. I applied to the Michigan College of Optometry as a part of the 3+4 program and I am a current second year student. I started wearing glasses when I was just 4 years old, so I was a frequent patient to my optometrist. After I started my first job, I purchased contact lenses with my first paycheck, and they changed my life. Who knew an eye doctor could make such a difference? In a physics class, learning about light and its optical properties intrigued me so much. I shadowed a few optometrists and loved the interaction with different people who just needed help to see. The feeling of knowing I could make a difference truly inspired me to pursue optometry and I could not be happier with that decision. MCO is more than just an education to me; it is my “home away from home”. Each one of us is more than just a student; we are a part of a large caring family. The small class size has helped me to create what I know will be lifelong friendships. I am able to have close interaction with the faculty so I can get a little extra help when needed. Most of all, our facility is beautiful. I am a current second year class representative and I love being the liaison between my classmates and the faculty. I am so excited you are considering MCO! Please do not hesitate to contact me for any questions you may have at willib59@ferris.edu.

Caitlin WinsorCaitlin Winsor

Hello, I am Caitlin Winsor and I am a part of the Michigan College of Optometry Class of 2020. I grew up in Middleville, Michigan which is just a half an hour past Grand Rapids. I graduated from Hamline University (St. Paul, Minnesota) in 2014 with B.A. in Exercise and Sports Science and Psychology. At Hamline University, I was a NCAA Division III Goalie for the Women’s Ice Hockey team. I chose Optometry because of the long term relationship with patients, the lifestyle, and the ability to positively impact patients. In the end, I chose MCO because of the small class sizes and state of the art facility. At MCO I have made many new friends and have enjoyed being involved with many organizations, such as Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO) as President-Elect, Vision Rehabilitation Club (VRC), and SVOSH. If you have any questions about MCO or Big Rapids, you can message me at nosanoc@ferris.edu.

Courtney McNultyCourtney McNulty

Hello everyone! My name is Courtney McNulty. I am from Harrison TWP, MI, which is in the Metro Detroit area. I received my Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit where I majored in biology. I was actually quite late to the optometry game, as I had instead started out with my focus on pharmacy. All it took was one day of shadowing my optometrist for me to set my sights on optometry. I knew without a doubt that optometry was the best place for me. Every doctor I have shadowed or worked for, has absolutely loved their job! What more could you ask for in a profession? The decision to come to MCO was the easiest choice I’ve ever made. Aside from allowing me to stay in Michigan, the small class sizes, state of the art facilities, and classmates and faculty that immediately feel like family, the choice was a no brainer. I am a representative for the Class of 2020 here at MCO and a member of SVOSH, MOSA, and AOSA. You will without a doubt, enjoy your time here! If you have any questions about living in Big Rapids, school at MCO, or anything else, don’t hesitate to get in touch! mcnultc1@ferris.edu

Ethan ZimmermanEthan Zimmerman

For my undergraduate studies, I attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan where I majored in Biology, served as our Optometry Club president (2 years), and lettered in Varsity Football (3 years). I have always loved to be involved in my community and continue to do so by holding the following positions at the Michigan College of Optometry: Optometry Student Government President-Elect, Community Service Chair for the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, and the American Optometric Association – Political Actions Committee Student Liaison. I became interested in Optometry later in my studies, after initially wanting to attend medical school. After realizing optometry suited me better from a family aspect later in life, and that it provided me more of an opportunity to impact patients’ lives from a much more beneficial regard, here I am at MCO! The BEST optometry school in the country. MCO is unrivaled when it comes to combining a personal learning atmosphere, hardworking staff and students, and state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. These factors mesh together to produce some of the best doctors in the country, and I am proud to be a part of it! zimmere3@ferris.edu

Evan ZimmermanEvan Zimmerman

I attended Hope College for undergraduate studies and graduated in the class of 2015. I majored in biology and played on the baseball team my freshman year. After graduating, I took a year off to travel and save up money. Attending MCO was a great decision and getting involved is not difficult. I am treasurer of MCO’s branch of AOSA and on the executive board for VRC. I first developed an interest in eye care when I first got contacts in eighth grade. I saw how it drastically improved my ability to see the baseball when I played and appreciated how important sight was to perform activities we love. MCO is not only an excellent program to educate for optometry, but the small class size makes it feel like home. Faculty members are very easy to talk to and are always trying to go above and beyond assisting us students. You grow close with your class members and planning fun activities is easy since everyone is on the same schedule! Feel free to email me any time. zimmere2@ferris.edu

Grace ShinGrace Shin

Hello! I grew up in the Metro Detroit area and received my B.S. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I became interested in optometry after graduating college while working in a private practice that specializes in the treatment of binocular vision dysfunction. It was an amazing experience that allowed me to see firsthand how optometrists can significantly improve their patients’ quality of life. I chose MCO for my graduate studies because I was excited about the small class sizes and the opportunity to learn in a state of the art facility with the best faculty. If you have any questions about life as an MCO student, please feel free to contact me at shing@ferris.edu.

Jaclyn TollesJaclyn Tolles

Hello! My name is Jaclyn Tolles and I was born and raised in Livonia, Michigan. I attended the University of Michigan for my undergraduate studies and received a B.S. in Microbiology and minored in Social Work and American Sign Language.  I was introduced to optometry in 7th grade when all my teachers knew I needed glasses and I failed a vision screening at the family doctor. From then on I became interested in optometry and participated in an internship program my senior year of high school working in a clinic in our local hospital. I chose to attend MCO because after being at a very large school for undergrad I was looking for something smaller for graduate school, and I definitely made the right decision! During my free time, I like to go floating down the river, go for a run, or read a book. I am having a great time at MCO and know you will too! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns at tollesj@ferris.edu

Joellen MaurerJoellen Maurer

I attended Ferris State University for my undergraduate education. While at Ferris, I was a member of the Pre-Optometry Club and my junior year I was the secretary. I also volunteered at the local animal shelter and walked foster dogs once a week. I got into the Michigan College of Optometry through the 3+4 program. My interest in healthcare came from my mom being a pharmacists and the ever common reason that I like to help people. I wanted to explore other health care fields besides pharmacy, so I started looking into optometry. I volunteered at my optometrist’s office over the summer after 7th grade and I loved the working environment. At a young age, 13, I volunteered at Bickford Cottage, an assisted living home in Battle Creek. I was comfortable around the residents and found that I could go into a profession that saw a lot of elderly patients. From then on, I shadowed at over 10 different practices and gained over 100 shadowing hours before I was accepted into MCO. With each new shadowing experience I found something else interesting about the eyes and the profession of optometry. After visiting a total of four optometry schools I was excited to get accepted to my first choice. If you have any questions just shoot me an email: maurerj9@ferris.edu

Julia TottenJulia Totten

My name is Julia Totten and I’m from Whitehall, Michigan. I received my B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Grand Valley State University. I’ve been familiar with optometry my whole life because my dad is an optometrist and attended MCO over 30 years ago. He has two offices located in West Michigan that has allowed me to become very familiar with private practice. I decided to become involved in our private practice organization because of this and am the President-Elect of the Michigan Optometric Student Private Practice Association. I have loved my time here at MCO so far and have really enjoyed how easy it is to have one on one time with the faculty. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me! tottenj6@ferris.edu

Kelleen MulkeyKelleen Mulkey

I am a graduate of Ferris State’s bachelors in biology program, and have lived in Big Rapids since 2013. I knew that MCO was where I wanted to be when I toured the new facility as a high school senior. The faculty and staff here have continued to inspire my passion for and fascination with optometry in ways I never imagined possible. I would love to help other future optometrists get a great start like I have! Feel free to ask me questions about life in Big Rapids, the classes you would be taking at MCO, or any other concerns you might have about becoming a student here. mulkeyk@ferris.edu

Laura KellerLaura Keller

Hello! My name is Laura and I’m from Battle Creek, MI. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Michigan State University. I spent my time there as president of the pre-optometry club and working as a technician for some local optometrists. I became interested in optometry after my first eye exam in 4th grade and I knew it was the career for me after job shadowing and working as a technician. I chose MCO for the small class size and friendly environment. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved, and the friends you make here will become family. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me! kellerl4@ferris.edu

Lindsey LewisLindsey Lewis

My name is Lindsey Lewis and I am from Oxford, MI. My interest in optometry began in high school when I started volunteering for the Opening Eyes Program at the Michigan Summer Olympics. Working with the special needs athletes made me appreciate how optometrists directly impact the lives of their patients. It was then that I decided on optometry as a career and I’ve never looked back. I attended Hillsdale College where I earned my B.S. in Biology and Chemistry. Coming from a small college, I knew how I could benefit from a friendly, community-based academic environment. I quickly found what I was looking for at the Michigan College of Optometry. I feel fortunate to be part of the MCO family that continually pushes one another to become better students, doctors, and colleagues. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have at lewisl19@ferris.edu.

Mary StollMary Stoll

Hi, my name is Mary Stoll, and I am from Kent City, Michigan. I attended Ferris State University for my undergraduate studies where I majored in biology. I was in the 3+4 program, so I received a Bachelors of Vision Science. I have been familiar with the optometry profession since first getting glasses in fifth grade, but it was not until my senior year of high school that I decide to pursue a career in optometry. After job shadowing while in high school, I fell in love with optometry for multiple reasons! When choosing an optometry school, I knew MCO would be a great fit for me because of the small class sizes and the family feel that comes along with it! I am currently the president-elect of the student chapter of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH), as well as a member of Fellowship of Christian Optometrist (FCO) and American Optometric STudent Association (AOSA). Please email me with any questions you may have (stollm1@ferris.edu). I would love to help in any way I can!

Parker JohnsonParker Johnson

I attended Ferris State University for my undergraduate studies and was accepted into MCO under the 3+4 program. Upon completion of my first year at MCO, I received my Bachelor of Science in Vision Science. Having a father that’s an optometrist, I became interested in the profession at a very young age. My father and brother both attended MCO; the school has been a part of my family for years. I truly feel that there is no better college of optometry than MCO! The students, faculty, and community are truly here to support you and want to see you succeed. If you have any questions regarding school, the community of Big Rapids, or really anything, feel free to contact me! Email: johnsp27@ferris.edu

Rachel BeringRachel Bering

Hi, I’m Rachel and I am a second year here at MCO. I attended Ferris State University for my undergraduate studies, and did the 3+4 program where I received my Bachelor of Vision Science degree. I was on the executive board for the Pre- Optometry Club at Ferris. I first became interested in optometry after going to the optometrist with my grandma when I was younger. I shadowed various doctors and worked in a private practice for 4 years. I participated in the Walmart Optometry internship program this past summer and it was a great experience. I chose MCO for the small class sizes and how enthusiastic professors are about teaching their students. If you have any questions, let me know! beringr@ferris.edu

Rick WalkerRichard Walker

Hello and welcome to MCO! Prior to joining this program, I received a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Central Michigan University. For a majority of my life, I struggled with poor vision that affected my ability to play sports, focus in a classroom setting, and even drive. At the age of 18, I made my first visit to an optometrist and purchased my first pair of glasses, completely changing my view of the world. I knew at that time I would like to positively impact the lives of others as my optometrist did for me. MCO is a great program with small class sizes, allowing for great relationships to be built among classmates and more individual attention from professors. If you have any questions regarding this program or anything else Big Rapids has to offer, feel free to reach me at walker50@ferris.edu.

Sarah EllisonSarah Ellison

I am from Clinton Township, which is in the Metro Detroit area. I first became interested in optometry after receiving my first pair of glasses in fifth grade. I was amazed with how clearly everything around me looked and realized that I wanted to pursue this career so I could make a difference in people’s lives. I did my undergraduate studies at Ferris State University where I majored in biology. I knew I wanted to attend MCO because of the small class sizes, and positive learning environment. At MCO I am involved in AOSA, MOSA and SVOSH. I could not be happier with my choice to attend MCO. The professors and students are very helpful and want to see you succeed. If you have any questions, please email me at ellisos6@ferris.edu.

Tyler ParmerTyler Parmer

I graduated from Lyman-Briggs college at Michigan State University in 2016 where I majored in cellular and developmental neuroscience and human biology. I became interested in optometry in college after I shadowed multiple optometrist in different modes of practice. I was drawn to optometry because it allows you to make an immediate improvement in the lives of your patients in a primary care setting. I am the Trustee-Elect of the American Optometric Student Association and I am involved with many other student organizations at MCO. I chose MCO because of the small class sizes and the many opportunities for extracurricular involvement. Please reach out if there are any questions I can answer! Parmerj2@ferris.edu