Celebrating the Class of 2019

Monday, June 17, 2019

As another academic year comes to a close, the School of Optometry & Vision Science is celebrating the achievements of our newest graduates.

On June 12, family and friends of the Doctor of Optometry Class of 2019 visited the School for our annual Graduation Celebration, traditionally held the evening before Convocation. The evening began with the presentation of the Graduation Awards. Dr. Natalie Hutchings served as MC, welcoming the audience with the warmth and humour she’s known for.

The School’s Director, Dr. Stanly Woo, congratulated the class on their achievements. His address was followed by remarks from Dr. Christian Casanova, Director of our sister School at the University of Montreal, and Dr. Michael Dennis, President of the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

In addition to the academic awards presented, Dr. Paula Garshowitz, Registrar of the College of Optometrists of Ontario, was recognized for her service. And our very own Marie Amodeo was honoured for her longstanding efforts, not only in organizing the awards ceremonies, but in supporting our students. 

The School is pleased to announce the following awards and prizes to the graduating class and we are extremely grateful to the donors whose generosity makes them possible.

2019 Graduation Awards

The College of Optometrists of Ontario General Proficiency Award

Presented by the College’s Registrar, Dr. Paula Garshowitz, to Lindsey Crowle for the highest standing in the graduating class.

The J.C. Thompson Memorial Prize for Optometry

Awarded to Jessica Skillen by Dr. Paula Garshowitz.  This award was established in honour of Dean J.C. Thompson, the first Dean of the College of Optometry.

The Canadian Association of Optometrists Award of Merit

Presented to Rahul Joshi, in recognition of his professionalism and effective leadership, by Dr. Michael Dennis, president of the CAO.

The Ontario Association of Optometrists Award for Excellence in Patient Management

Awarded to Kara Jones, in recognition of her professionalism and excellence in patient care, by Justin Brown, CEO of the OAO.

The Alcon Award for Excellence in Contact Lenses

Presented to Katherine French, the top student overall in both academics and clinical skills in contact lenses, by Dr. Shamrozé Khan, Awards Officer.

The Alcon Award for Excellence in Ocular Health

Presented to Brandon Bzovey for achieving the highest grade in Ocular Health.

The Alcon Case Report Award

Awarded to Laura Chin for submitting the best case report goes to Laura Chan.

The AAOF Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care

Presented to Kirsten Carter, in recognition of excellence in contact lens patient care.

The Dr. Irving Baker Excellence in Clinical Optometry Scholarship

Presented by Dr. Paula Garshowitz to Nancy Liu.

This award was established by the College of Optometrists of Ontario to recognize Dr. Baker’s significant contribution to the public of Ontario through the guidance and development of the profession of optometry.

The A.W. Cole Award for Clinical Excellence

Presented to Emily Krienke by Donald Cole, Dr. A.W. Cole’s son, for outstanding clinical proficiency. Dr. Cole was an optometrist from Woodstock who was active in government and optometric organizations.  He was a member of the Ontario Board of Examiners in Optometry and was involved in the establishment of the optometry program at Waterloo.

The E.F. Attridge Award for Highest Achievement in Pathology

Presented to Margot Couse. This award recognizes the student who obtained the highest ranking in the study of general and ocular disease.

The CooperVision Contact Lens Award

Presented to Megan Van Alstine in recognition of excellence in contact lens care.

The COVD Award for Excellence in Vision Therapy

Presented to Theodor Buzea, in recognition of his strong clinical skills in vision therapy by Dr. Khan on behalf of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

The Eschenbach Low Vision Student Award

Presented to Megan Law, by Dr. Khan. This award is in recognition of her aptitude and interest in the field of low vision.

The Essilor Award for Academic and Clinical Excellence in Optics

Awarded to Emma Reed, in recognition of excellent academics in the area of Geometric and Clinical Optics, by Essilor business consultant Adwin Springer.

The William Feinbloom Low Vision Award

Presented to Jasmine Yakubowski, in recognition of her excellence in low vision care. 

The Dr. John G. Flanagan Award for Academic and Clinical Excellence in Glaucoma

This award recognizes a student showing an aptitude in clinical glaucoma skills. This award goes to Michelle Thibodeau, who could not attend the ceremony.

The FYidoctors Clinical Leadership Award

Presented by Dr. Gary Gimpel to Rahul Joshi, who has demonstrated excellence and leadership in the provision of patient care in the clinic and during externships.

The Good-Lite Pediatric Optometry Award

Presented to Elias Nour, for demonstrating outstanding clinical aptitude and interest in Pediatric and Special Needs Optometry.

The GP Contact Lens Clinical Excellence Award

Awarded to Nicole Maione, in recognition of outstanding knowledge regarding GP contact lenses. 

The Dr. Michael Gutwein Memorial Award

Presented to Jared Zeeben by Dr. Gutwein’s brother, Robert Gutwein, and his children, Michael and Elizabeth.

This award was established by classmates and friends in memory of Michael Gutwein and is awarded to a student who has demonstrated that the program involves more than just academics.

The Dr. Margaret Hansen desGroseilliers Award

Presented to Jocelyn Leung by Dr. Michael Dennis.

This award is presented annually by the Canadian Optometric Education Trust Fund to the optometry student who demonstrates exceptional leadership skills.  Dr. Hansen desGroseilliers has been a leader for Optometry at the local, provincial and national level, the latter culminating in her serving as the first female President of the CAO.

The Vinko and Iva Juricic Award for Perseverance

Presented to Darren Gigliozzi.

This award honours a fourth-year optometry student who has overcome challenges during their optometry studies. Vinko Juricic’s children note that his perseverance made him a true inspiration for this award.

The OSI Award for Excellence in Practice Management

Presented by OSI Ontario Director, Mark Ritter to Sherene Vazhappilly, in recognition of competent leadership, professionalism, communication skills and academics.

The Prize for Academic Excellence in Ocular Pharmacology

Awarded in recognition of outstanding performance in Ocular Pharmacology to Justine Harris, who could not attend the ceremony.

The RACH Memorial Award

Presented to Kaitlyn Skinner by Rachel’s mother, Mrs. Joanne Higgins.

This award was established in memory of Rachel Ann Cecilia Higgins, a member of the Class of 2006, to honour individuals who have demonstrated undefeatable courage, strength, perseverance and determination, while confronting significant challenges in their lives.

Dr. Karen Tompa Nowy Memorial Award

Presented to Melanie Chin by Dr. Frank Tompa.

This award was established to honour Karen Tomap Nowy for her dedication and compassion as a clinician, educator, daughter and friend. Dr. Tompa Nowy is remembered for her passion toward patient care, her dedication to teaching, her energy and giving spirit.  She was committed to providing the best possible care to her patients and ensuring their overall well-being.  The recipients of this prestigious award have shown exceptional care and concern for their patients, have advocated for advanced eye care treatments and/or have taken steps to improve the overall health and well-being of their patient(s) during the clinical education portion of the optometry program.

Other awards

Nancy Liu, on behalf of UWOSS, presented the following awards:

The Distinguished Instructor Award - Dr. Kristine Dalton

The Distinguished Clinical Instructor Award - Dr. Nadine Furtado, who could not attend the ceremony.

The Distinguished Lab Instructor Award - Dr. Tammy Labreche 

The Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award - Dr. Amy Chow

The Administrative Assistant Award - Ann Girling

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