Chicago College of Optometry Career Fair Illuminates Future Occupations

Optometry students learn more about career options, networking, and skills

  • IL - Downers Grove
Students gather at the CCO Career Fair.

(From left): Optometry students Maryrose Issa (CCO ’25), Oluwatobi Folaju (CCO ’25), and Hena Tahir (CCO ’25) attend the CCO career fair.

The Chicago College of Optometry (CCO) held its second annual career fair where optometry students had the chance to interact with about 23 sponsors and participants in the field. The students had the chance to learn about various career opportunities, ask questions, and seek additional information. Two guest speakers, Priscilla Pappas, O.D., and Darryl Glover, O.D., offered a variety of advice and insight for aspiring optometrists.  

John Gialousakis, O.D., Ed.M., FAAO, Director of Curriculum Development, CCO, said, “CCO's career fair has two main goals, for our students to hear from guest speakers regarding practice management (this year's topics were building your network and brand), and to have access to a job and networking fair with various organizations, such as private practice, corporate, recruiters, consultants, and armed forces.”


optometry students meet with a recruiter
CCO students listen to career insight from a recruiter. The students were able to ask questions and network.


Guest speaker, Dr. Pappas, Division Vice President – Medical Director for Keplr Vision’s Comprehensive Division, emphasized that different types of interactions could land someone a job, whether it is a friend, colleague, or another service professional. She recalled how a social media post by a Midwestern University student led to them offering the student a position at Keplr, “You just never know. Make sure you treat every interaction as an opportunity.” She emphasized that students should acknowledge their successes and step up and admit when they have failures. Dr. Pappas advised students to participate in any supplemental education and training opportunities. She also encouraged the students to find methods to show their accomplishments, such as a company newsletter, social media, or the company website. Additionally, she showed the students an example of how to build a board of directors for an organization. 


Dr. Glover offered the optometry students advice about building their brand.
Dr. Glover offered the optometry students advice about building their brand.


Dr. Glover also spoke to the students. His accomplishments include working as an optometrist for MyEyeDr., co-founding Defocus Media, Eyefrica Media, Black EyeCare Perspective, and co-hosting a top optometry podcast. He shared with students the importance of a personal brand, especially as the majority of job recruiters research their candidates’ digital presence. “The best way to separate yourself from your colleagues and others is by building a brand.” He added, “I also think it's very important to be vulnerable whenever you're building that personal brand, because you want people to look at you and you want them to see themselves in that way. They connect with you in a way that's just unmatched.” 

Optometry students expressed their appreciation for the chance to meet representatives from a multitude of potential career tracks. Roman Somogy (CCO ’25) shared, “It was a very exciting experience. There are so many different doors and career paths to explore. It’s exciting to think about where you could be.” Roman said he is planning to open a clinic with three locations following graduation, and this event put him in touch with suppliers and other resources he might need for his future practice.

“With this career fair, we have more information with the direction of what we want to prepare for,” said Hena Tahir (CCO ’25). She also said it would be more difficult for students to search for jobs without the opportunity the career fair offers. 

Oluwatobi Folaju (CCO ’25) shared her gratitude for the chance to speak with businesses and learn about brands. “It’s a great opportunity for us to learn about a lot of jobs available.” She also appreciated the talks from the guest speakers who supplemented classroom information with topics such as building a brand.

Andrew Baker (CCO ’25) said, “It’s good that Midwestern University cares to set us up for the future.” 


Optometry students meet with a recruiter
CCO students learn about opportunities from a recruiter.


At the career fair, students had the opportunity to meet with several recruiters, company representatives, suppliers, and more. The recruiters conveyed their appreciation of the time spent with Midwestern University optometry students.

Ashleigh Dumont, Director of Doctor Recruiting, Eye to Eye Careers, said this is her second experience coming to the CCO career fair. “It has been an amazing partnership. I love coming to the career fair and meeting students. We found students last year, and they have job opportunities. I know students come out of Midwestern University very well-trained. Midwestern University does a great job preparing students to be good doctors when they graduate.”

Mitch Watterson, Director of HR, SVS, said it was his first time attending the career fair at Midwestern University. “It was fantastic and very well put together. The students were all very interactive, one of the most interactive student groups.” He added the students asked very intelligent questions about a variety of subjects, including types of equipment like retinal cameras.

Celia Bumbar, Senior Account Manager, Alcon said, “There are opportunities for students, depending on what they want to do. We’re always looking for new talent, innovation, and students that want to participate and help patients.” 

Through experiences like the CCO Career Fair, Midwestern University offers students the opportunity to network, meet potential employers, as well as gain valuable insights from guest speakers. These opportunities ensure students make the proper connections and are set on the best course to begin their future healthcare careers.

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