As a teenager, Elizabeth Marunde, OD, ‘22Resident, was fascinated by how complex and interesting the eyes could be. So, she decided from an early age she wanted to be an eye doctor.Dr. Elizabeth Marunde
“There is so much going on in such a small organ. It’s amazing and I love it. Everything I’ve learned about it, it just keeps getting better and better,” she said.
Dr. Marunde is still in the learning phase as one of the Class of 2022 Residents at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University. In fact, she’s the veteran of the class, this being her second year of residency at PCO/Salus in neuro-ophthalmic disease.
“There is so much information and so many little things you have to think of,” said Dr. Marunde. “Not only are we looking at neuro-ophthalmic disease, we have to make sure we differentiate what isn’t neuro-ophthalmic disease.”
Originally from Belvidere, Illinois, Dr. Marunde’s path to PCO/Salus started at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay, where she graduated with a degree in human biology. From there she went to the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) Rosenberg School of Optometry in San Antonio. While there, she shadowed a neuro-ophthalmologist who had heard of the residency program at PCO/Salus and suggested Dr. Marunde apply.
“I read about the residency and thought it was perfect. It was my No. 1 choice and when I interviewed I felt so at home,” she said. “Everyone was so friendly from the moment I walked through the door. Everyone I met during my interview was amazing. All the little things made me feel like this was where I was supposed to be.”
During her first year as a resident, she spent a lot of her time in the Neuro-ophthalmic disease service at The Eye Institute (TEI) — the main clinical facility for residents and PCO/Salus — while also rotating through other specialties, such as emergency, glaucoma and retinal service.
Among all the training, though, she experienced something else — a “family” bond with the other residents and the vast amount of learning that she’ is getting.
“There are so many of us and we all became so close over the past year,” said Dr. Marunde. “I don’t know if I realized how much I learned until I sat down and really thought about where I was when I started as compared to where I am now. There is so much that I learned over the year. I didn’t think I was capable as being as far as I am now after one year.”
Dr. Marunde’s role will change a bit during her second year of residency. She’ll still be rotating through neurology and neuro ophthalmic as well as neurosurgery and radiology, but she will also be more involved in teaching students outside of the clinical setting.
“There was a two-week overlap for old and new residents to help all the residents get used to where they are. I’m always here for any questions they have or any help they need,” she said. “I’ll do a couple of the neuro conferences with them and I’ll help teach them when they’re in neuro services.”
That has her thinking about a career in academia once she has completed her residency. When she’s not studying the eyes, Dr. Marunde likes to bake and has frequently shared her creations of cookies, cupcakes and bagels with her colleagues.
And, as someone who grew up in the Midwest, and went to optometry school in the Southwest, Dr. Marunde thinks the East Coast, and Philadelphia in particular, suit her just fine.
“I love Philly. There is something about it. It has a small-town vibe in a large city,” she said. “The suburbs of Chicago are very cookie-cutter, and here every place you go has a different personality. Every neighborhood is very unique and different and it doesn’t feel like you’re in a city. It has a friendliness of the Midwest.”