This is the first of a two-part Q&A with the 2021-2022 Residents of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus and their on-campus residency experiences at The Eye Institute (TEI) during their first official year of being a Doctor of Optometry.

What are you taking away from this year?

Kiera Jeschke, OD ‘21, Resident ‘22, (First Year Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease): There is so much to learn and know! It seems that the more you think you know the less you actually know. I would recommend that when the moments arise where you don’t know what to do - hunker down and dig in deeper. Those are the moments that will make the biggest impact and push you to be the best clinician version of yourself! 

Anthony Boyd, OD, Resident ‘22, (Pediatrics/Vision Therapy): Pediatric optometry and vision therapy have a vital role to play in our communities and the healthcare field. We can have a positive impact on a child’s life, and we have the ability to be a guide to other resources they may need. That includes glasses/contact lenses, vision therapy, visual perceptual evaluations and therapies, academic support, and referrals to other specialties (ophthalmology, low vision, neurology/psychology, rehabilitation services, etc). Vision is more than 20/20!

2021-2022 TEI Residents sitting togetherWhat was your favorite memory from residency?

Alethia Love, OD'21, Resident '22 (Pediatrics/Vision Therapy): Working with and learning from all of the doctors at The Eye Institute. Everyone has their own style to how they practice optometry and seeing how various people approach treatment has been a big part of developing my own.

Elizabeth Marunde, OD, Resident ‘22 (2nd Year Neuro-Ophthalmic Disease): My favorite part of residency is all of the amazing doctors I got to work with and learn from.
Kevin Feng, OD ‘21, Resident ‘22 (Cornea/Contact Lenses & Anterior Segment): My favorite part of residency has been attending almost all of the contact lens conferences, meeting fellow contact lens residents, and hanging out with my residency class.

Jeschke: There were so many fun memories but my favorite has to be traveling to Boston for the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). It was so much fun to participate in this conference from an optometry standpoint and from a tourist standpoint. 

Boyd: The summer after residency started was such a fun time. Everything was new (including being an OD), and it was a great time exploring Philly and getting to know my co-residents. It made me so excited for the rest of the year.

What would you tell someone considering doing a residency?

Jeschke: Do it! This experience has been so rewarding. You really get to see yourself grow as a clinician and you get to work alongside some pretty amazing individuals.

Boyd: If you can, do it! I have learned so much not only about pediatric optometry and vision therapy, but also about myself by doing a residency. I have become more confident as a clinician, worked with amazing mentors, met new colleagues and friends, and have built an amazing foundation for my future professional development. It has been a truly unmatched experience.

Marunde: Residency is a lot of work and a lot of fun, it’s important to find the right balance between the two.

Group photo of 2021-2022 TEI ResidentsWhat do you wish you knew about residency before applying?

Dr. Love: It’s a great opportunity but it is time intensive. Try not to get involved in too many extra things at the beginning of residency to help prevent feeling overwhelmed when the workload picks up. 

Dr. Feng: One thing I wish I knew about residency before applying was the highs and lows throughout the year. There are days when I feel like I know everything and days when I don't feel like I know enough.

How do you think residency prepared you for your career?

Dr. Love: Residency has opened so many career doors for me. Prior to residency I was planning to start my career as a primary care retail Doctor of Optometry. Now I have centered my focus on providing care for low-income children (and possibly academia).

Dr. Marunde: I think residency is the best thing to happen to my career. I feel better equipped to see a plethora of patients and I have an infinite number of resources in my back pocket, which is indispensable.

Dr. Feng: Residency has opened a lot of doors for me. It allowed me to find jobs in academia and an MD/OD practice. I also connected with folks in the contact lens industry.