UMSL student elected to optometry’s top US student leadership position
University of Missouri–St. Louis optometry students have a reputation. They’re known as leaders.
Devin Sasser, a third-year optometry student at UMSL, is the latest. He has been elected to his field’s top student leadership position in the nation, president of the American Optometric Student Association. He will serve a one-year term.
Sasser is the second UMSL student to hold the office in the last three years. In fact, over the last five years, 20 percent of the AOSA’s top four officers (president, vice president, secretary and treasurer) have been UMSL students. UMSL’s 176 optometry students, meanwhile, make up only 2.7 percent of the total national enrollment of optometry students.
In Sasser’s new national role, he leads more than 6,400 students attending 23 schools and college of optometry throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. His leadership experience includes sitting on the AOSA Board of Trustees and serving as president of student government at his alma mater, Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. He also played an active role last fall at the American Optometric Association congressional advocacy conference in Washington, D.C., where he lobbied on behalf of student loan relief for optometrists who practice in areas devoid of health-care services.
Sasser is not taking his new title lightly.
“As a member of the executive council, I hope to convey my unyielding dedication to both the students and the profession,” he said. “The various roles in which I have served leading up to his moment have fueled my enthusiasm to do my part in aiding the future of the optometric profession.”
“We are very proud of Devin,” Davis said. “We know that he brings the requisite dedication, insight and leadership skill needed to be an excellent AOSA president, and I’m pleased that his student colleagues throughout North American have given him the opportunity to serve.”
Ray Myers, clinical professor of optometry at UMSL, founded the AOSA, and a top student award is named after him. He encourages UMSL optometry students to pursue national leadership positions.
Myers said he’s proud of the college’s track record of four AOSA officers in five years, which includes Sasser and alumni Jen Sidun (president), OD 2013, Alan Wegener (vice president), OD 2012, and Remi Miljavic (vice president), OD 2011. He also pointed out that other UMSL students helped pave the way as national AOSA trustees, including Jennifer Redfern, OD 2010, and Whitney Jensen, OD 2010.
Current second-year optometry student, Nicole Ethridge is the latest elected AOSA trustee from UMSL. She praised Sasser for being personable, passionate and an exemplary leader who will “represent our school and the AOSA with dedication and zeal.”
Ethridge added, “I am excited to see what novel ideas and developments he implements into the organization and feel lucky to have the future of my profession in the hands of such a capable individual.”
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