CooperVision’s Student Ambassador Experience

04/09/2018

Company Name: CooperVision

Company Description: CooperVision’s dedication to prescription contact lens design, materials and manufacturing excellence enhances the wearing experience of contact lens patients the world over. CooperVision concentrates on all day wearing comfort in the widest variety of lens designs, materials and wearing options.

Author: Jennifer A. Palombi, OD, FAAO, Senior Manager, Professional and Scientific Communication

Each year, a third or fourth year student at each college of optometry has the opportunity to serve as a CooperVision student ambassador. The program is designed to give a student with an interest in the contact lens industry an opportunity to partner with CooperVision and to facilitate sponsorship and other opportunities at their school. The Student Ambassador acts as a liaison between the optometry school and CooperVision and receives a $500 educational grant for their time and effort.

Micaela Crowley, O.D., a former student ambassador from Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry described the impact that the student ambassador experience had as she entered her optometry career. “It was an excellent opportunity to learn about contact lenses in a way I would have never learned without this position,” said Dr. Crowley. “It provided insight as to how the industry side of optometry approaches patient care. I was pleasantly surprised!”

Lacie Spagnola, a current CooperVision student ambassador at the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry, agrees that the experience provides invaluable insights, even as she begins her clinical career. “I wanted to get involved in optometry school and was interested in getting familiar with our clinic. This has helped me to do both and learn more about contacts. It has allowed me to have a better understanding of contacts now that I am in a contact lens course as well,” said Spagnola.

Lacie went on to describe the relationship-building opportunities that the program has already provided her as she enters the next stage of her education. “Being a student ambassador for CooperVision has helped me to build relationships with other faculty and doctors at my school,” said Spagnola. “I work with the faculty to keep contact lenses stocked in our contact lens room, so it has allowed me to lay the groundwork for a good relationship with them when I enter into clinic this summer.” In addition to building relationships within her own school, Dr. Crowley reflected on how the program also allowed her to meet and develop relationships with key opinion leaders (KOLs) and CooperVision team members. “At the KOL dinners, I learned from many top contact lens clinicians in the country who fit CooperVision contact lenses on a regular basis. I also learned that CooperVision has an incredibly knowledgeable and fun team who care about their profession,” said Crowley.

Though at different stages in their optometry careers, both women feel strongly that their student ambassador experience gives them an advantage in their approach to their careers and clinical contact lens practice. “I think my experience as a student ambassador will help me in my career,” said Spagnola. “This position has helped me to get a better understanding of contact lenses, particularly CooperVision lenses, so that I can better fit patients in the future.”

Dr. Crowley echoed those sentiments in terms of the perspective it has given her now that she is in her own practice. “It really helped with my approach to patient care,” said Dr. Crowley. “I learned CooperVision’s inventory is enormous. They have a SCL option for all needs, thus streamlining the contact lens fit. That is so important in a busy practice. I do not automatically dismiss a patient with a prescription that is difficult to fit in conventional contact lenses. Many of these patients have been deemed non-contact lens candidates and the mere fact that I do not instantly say ‘no’ is sometimes satisfaction enough. I tell them I will try because I have the resources available to do so.”

Any student interested in future opportunities as a CooperVision student ambassador can speak to their contact lens faculty or click here to learn more about the program.

This blog is part of the ASCO corporate contributor blog series. For more information about the blog series, please contact Christine Armstrong, Director of Development at carmstrong@opted.org.