Christin DeMoss, OD doesn’t know for sure, but she thinks she might be among the few people who took one of those “What job should you do when you grow up?” quizzes in high school that actually worked out.Dr. Christin DeMoss
“I took that quiz in home room and optometry came back as a top hit for me,” said Dr. DeMoss, originally from Mohnton, Pennsylvania, who received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Penn State before enrolling in the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University. “I didn’t grow up wearing glasses, I didn’t grow up going to the eye doctor, so I had no idea what an optometrist did.”
But she was intrigued nonetheless, so much so that she decided to shadow an optometrist who had paved a very similar path. Karen Rule, OD, was a graduate of the same high school as Dr. DeMoss, Governor Mifflin High School in Shillington Pennsylvania; was also a Penn State alum and a PCO/Salus grad.
Coming to grad school at PCO/Salus was overwhelming at first, said Dr. DeMoss. But she adjusted, and eventually rotated through the William Feinbloom Low Vision Rehabilitation Center housed at The Eye Institute (TEI) during her fourth year.
“And, I fell in love with low vision. I knew it was what I wanted to do,” she said. “So, I applied for residency here and only here, and if I didn’t get it, I was going to go into private practice. And, I got it, so it kind of changed the trajectory of my career.”
While a student at PCO/Salus, Dr. DeMoss was vice president of her class and was also involved with the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) as a trustee and trustee-elect, and during her fourth year, was the national AOSA secretary.
While at Penn State, Dr. DeMoss considered changing her major from Biology to Education with the goal of teaching biology, so teaching had always been a possibility.
But her on-campus residency experience— both examining patients and teaching PCO/Salus students — became what she called “a perfect dream for me.” A sixth-month stint in private practice after her residency solidified her desire to be in academia full-time.Dr. DeMoss and Dr. Killan
She applied for a position at PCO/Salus in 2019, secured the job and started her teaching career, recently being promoted to assistant professor.
“I still call a lot of my colleagues’ ‘doctor’ and it was definitely a transition trying to get used to calling them by their first names,” said Dr. DeMoss, who currently sees patients at the Feinbloom Center and rotates through TEI’s primary care service.
Of course, being hit with a pandemic created challenges for all, including new teachers, but Dr. DeMoss transitioned to educating her students online.
“I think the pandemic offered something to the students that they normally wouldn’t get, and that was a lot of training on writing what we call case reports,” she said, adding that she believes she’s a better teacher for having gone through the pandemic teaching transition. “That’s something that they normally wouldn’t have done.They also worked on writing provider letters with the communications style one would expect an optometrist to have."
Dr. DeMoss with husband and dogs
When she’s not teaching, Dr. DeMoss and her husband, Jordan Habbershon, who bought a house in December 2019, spent a lot of the pandemic time furnishing and decorating their home.They also have two rescue dogs that keep them busy: Tucker, a 95-pound mixed breed; and Olive, a 45-pound mixed breed.
As for her future, Dr. DeMoss said she’s doing exactly what she wants to be doing at this stage of her career.
“I want to continue working in the low vision service, continuing to provide a high level of low vision care for our patients,” she said. “And, something we want to do is start some research at Feinbloom. We want to continue to grow and perfect and do what we do best.”