Chong Lee

Home / Chong Lee

Undergraduate Degree:

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, B.S. in Biology

Hometown

I was born in Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai, Thailand. I spent my young childhood in Seattle, Washington, and the rest of my childhood and adulthood in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

What inspired you to pursue a healthcare career?

My inspiration is my parents and the experiences that they have endured to allow me to prosper in America. My father was born and raised in Laos. At a young age, he lost his father to a condition that, if there was available healthcare, could have been treated. My mother, who was born and raised in Thailand, has always been interested in healthcare. I truly believe that if she was born and raised in America, and was given the opportunity, she’d be a medical doctor in her choice of interest.  

How did your background and history factor into your career choice?

I'm a first-generation Hmong-American. Few people that I have met are aware of the Hmong community and culture. We are an ethnic group found in many parts of Asia. Here in America, we have a higher population in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

There are a handful of reasons why I chose optometry. First and foremost, I chose optometry because I wanted to show the younger generation of the Hmong community that anything is possible with dedication and hard work. I want the younger generation to know that they, too, have someone to connect with if they are interested in a healthcare degree. It's so important to have a mentor in areas of our life when we are unsure how to get started. I also want to give back to the Hmong community as many of our elders do not speak fluent English. In addition, I want to be able to educate and make sense of the importance of eye care for them and their families. As of today, I am the first in my family to pursue a healthcare career and graduate with a doctorate degree. 

Why did you decide to attend Midwestern University?

I absolutely love Midwestern’s Downers Grove Campus. The greenery, the seasons, nature, and most importantly the new optometry program. When I first started in 2018, we were not an accredited program, yet. Now we are fully-accredited and I will be the second graduating optometry class of the Chicago College of Optometry. It is, and has always been, amazing to be part of something new. I’m so very happy to see students accepted every year. 

What about a Midwestern University education do you want to carry forward in your career?

Learning is a lifelong commitment and, most importantly, allow yourself to enjoy it. The more you keep up with new information, the better you become as a clinician for your patients’ well-being and happiness. 

First and foremost, I chose optometry because I wanted to show the younger generation of the Hmong community that anything is possible with dedication and hard work. ”

Chong Lee
Chicago College of Optometry, Class of 2022

Chong Lee Headshot

Chong Lee is a Class of 2022 student from the Chicago College of Optometry Program on the Downers Grove Campus.