47 Commencement

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Thursday, May 20, 2021 1:00 p.m. SUNY College of Optometry www.sunyopt.edu/commencement Commencement 4 7 th

F ourty S eventh COMMENCEMENT


Founded in 1971 and located in New York City, the State University of New York College of Optometry is a leader in education, research and patient care, offering the Doctor of Optometry degree as well as MS and PhD degrees in vision science. The College conducts a robust program of basic, translational and clinical research and has 65 affiliated clinical training sites. SUNY Optometry is regionally accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools; its four-year professional degree program and residency programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association. All classrooms, research facilities and the University Eye Center, which is one of the largest optometric outpatient facilities in the nation, are located on 42nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in midtown Manhattan.



Letter from the Chancellor To the Graduating Class of 2021:

Greetings from the Optometric Center of New York The trustees of the College’s foundation, the Optometric Center of New York, salute the Class of 2021 on a tremendous achievement. The road to graduation included an unprecedented shift in the journey but navigated by all of you with great perseverance and pride. Celebrate your success today with the knowledge that you can rise above the challenges of tomorrow, you are more than ready! On behalf of the entire OCNY Board, congratulations and best wishes as you embark on your careers. Richard Soden, OD ‘79 President Greetings from the Alumni Association Congratulations to the resilient Class of 2021 as you celebrate the most memorable commencement in the College’s 50 year history. We are proud to welcome you to our extraordinary optometric family! Close to 3,400 SUNY College of Optometry alumni join me in congratulating you on this tremendous life accomplishment. We hope you will enjoy this profession as much as we do, and encourage you to become actively involved with your newest alma mater. We look forward to the day we can gather together and celebrate many milestones with you! Samar Awad, OD ‘92 President Greetings from the New York State Optometric Association On behalf of the New York State Optometric Association, I congratulate all of the 2021 graduates. As a class and as individuals, you have navigated the path from student to professional during one of the most challenging times in healthcare and in history. May your tenacity and focus amid adversity serve as a lasting legacy that will inspire generations to follow and be a reminder that no obstacle is greater than our power to overcome it. We wish you the best of luck as you start your careers in optometry and remember that the NYSOA is always there to lend a helping hand in good times and in bad. I look forward to sharing the success of your careers and to working with you to champion our wonderful profession. Viola Kanevsky, OD ‘93 President

Living through a pandemic is likely not how you expected to finish your last semesters at SUNY College of Optometry, nor how you expected to start your life after college. Major milestone celebrations over the 13 months have been postponed, cancelled, or modified, including commencements. I know this is not the ideal outcome after years of hard work and studying, but this does not diminish your tremendous accomplishment. Despite all the challenges thrown at you and having your senior year of college unceremoniously turned upside-down, you persevered to earn your degree. Although we were not able to celebrate your graduation with all the normal pomp and circumstance it so rightfully deserves, let it be known that we are all so proud of the Class of 2021— the persistence, determination, and grit you have shown to complete your studies amidst a number of obstacles is exemplary. As you look toward the future, know your SUNY education has prepared you to succeed in whatever you put your mind to—whether it be furthering your education or joining the workforce. The 2021 SUNY Optometrists will continue the SUNY legacy of changing the world no matter where you go, and I look forward to seeing all that you accomplish. On behalf of everyone at SUNY, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to you and your fellow 2021 graduates. You make us proud. Sincerely, Jim Malatras Chancellor Greetings from the College Council On behalf of the College Council, I congratulate the Class of 2021. We are proud of all that you have accomplished, despite the challenges of a pandemic, to reach this pivotal milestone in your academic journey. As Doctors of Optometry armed with the finest professional education, you are prepared to play a vital role in our health care system and, in so doing, change lives for the better. We salute you and the good work you will do in your future careers. Gretchen Stone, MAT Chair



The National Anthem

Presentation of Candidates for

Rhea Magee Angela Wen

Guilherme F.C. Albieri, PhD

Doctor of Optometry

Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer

Conferral of OD Degrees

Dr. Heath


David A. Heath, OD, EdM President, SUNY College of Optometry

Recitation of Optometric Oath

Led by Dr. Shang

Greetings from the Class of 2021

Sherry Shang Class President

With full deliberation I freely and solemnly pledge that: I AFFIRM that the health of my patient will be my first consideration. I WILL practice the art and science of optometry faithfully and conscientiously, and to the fullest scope of my competence. I WILL uphold and honorably promote by example and action the highest standards, ethics and ideals of my chosen profession and the honor of the degree, Doctor of Optometry, which has been granted me. I WILL provide professional care for those who seek my services, with concern, with compassion and with due regard for their human rights and dignity. I WILL place the treatment of those who seek my care above personal gain and strive to see that none shall lack for proper care. I WILL hold as privileged and inviolable all information entrusted to me in confidence by my patients. I WILL advise my patients fully and honestly of all which may serve to restore, maintain or enhance their vision and general health. I WILL strive continuously to broaden my knowledge and skills so that my patients may benefit from all new and efficacious means to enhance the care of human vision. I WILL share information cordially and unselfishly with my fellow optometrists and other professionals for the benefit of patients and the advancement of human knowledge and welfare. I WILL do my utmost to serve my community, my country and humankind as a citizen as well as an optometrist. I HEREBY commit myself to be steadfast in the performance of this my solemn oath and obligation.

Commencement Address

Assemblymember Amy Paulin 88 th New York State Assembly District

Conferring of Honorary Degrees

Dr. Heath

Honorary Degree Recipients

Constance Cepko, PhD Bullard Professor of Genetics & Neuroscience Harvard Medical School Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Damon Tweedy, MD Writer, Author Associate Professor of Psychiatry Duke University School of Medicine

Presentation of Candidates for

David Troilo, PhD

Doctor of Philosophy in Vision Science Masters of Science in Vision Science

Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs

Conferral of PhD and MS Degrees

Dr. Heath

Closing Remarks & Congratulations

Dr. Heath



Assemblymember Amy Paulin

Constance Cepko, PhD

Constance (Connie) Cepko, PhD is co-director of the Leder Human Biology and Translational Medicine Program at Harvard University and former head of Harvard Medical School’s PhD Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, where she also serves as Bullard Professor of Genetics and Professor of Ophthalmology. Her ground- breaking research has advanced understanding of the development of the central nervous system (CNS), including paving the way toward the diagnosis and treatment of retinal diseases such as macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa. A Howard Hughes Investigator and author of over 230 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Cepko has earned distinguished honors for her work ranging from induction to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 to receiving a Leading Women Award in 2003, presented by the Patriots’ Trail Girl Scout Council in Boston. Dr. Cepko was also one of 17 women elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002. A graduate of the University of Maryland, she trained in virology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she earned her PhD and later at the MIT Whitehead Institute.

Assemblymember Amy Paulin has served the 88 th New York State Assembly District (Scarsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Pelham, Pelham Manor, and parts of New Rochelle and White Plains) since 2001. She chairs the Assembly Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions, and serves on the Committees on Rules, Education, and Health. She has been a long-time advocate of the optometric profession and sponsor of legislation that will expand the scope of care to allow optometrists to prescribe oral medications to patients. A full-time legislator, Assemblymember Paulin annually ranks among the state’s most productive and successful lawmakers. Her diverse legislative agenda includes state government reform, children and families, domestic violence, sex trafficking, education, health care, animal welfare, and preventing gun violence. She served as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Energy from 2013-2017, working to encourage renewable energy and ensure our electricity grid is reliable. Assemblywoman Paulin has had more than 200 of her bills been signed into law to date. In 2017, she was inducted into the Westchester Women’s Hall of Fame by the Women’s Research and Education Fund. She has been honored by the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County, NYS Camp Directors Association and named NYS Legislator of the Year by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Among other citations and recognitions, her honors and awards have included being named New York State Legislator of the Year by the National Organization of Women of New York State, the Spirit of Independence Award from Westchester Disabled on the Move, an Ally Award from New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA), Vision of the Community from the Scarsdale Teen Center, the Metropolitan Library Council (METRO) award for outstanding and dedicated service in support of libraries, and being named a Leader in the Fight against Domestic Violence by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NYSCADV). Assemblymember Paulin was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, holds a Master’s degree, and has completed doctoral course work in Criminal Justice from SUNY-Albany. For over thirty years she and her husband, Ira Schuman, have lived in Scarsdale, where they raised their children Beth, Sarah, and Joey.



Rakesh Nanjappa Effects of Top-Down Attention on Oculomotor Behavior and Superior Colliculus Neurophysiology Advisor: Robert McPeek, PhD


Malini Bakthavatchalam Age-Related Changes in Optic Nerve Head Structure and Visual Field Sensitivity in Normal Subjects - A Preliminary Study Advisor: Suresh Viswanathan, PhD Keying Yang Digital Eye Strain and the Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency Advisor: Mark Rosenfield, MCOptom, PhD

Damon Tweedy, MD

Damon Tweedy, MD is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University and a staff psychiatrist at the Durham VA in North Carolina. He is the author of Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine , a critically acclaimed memoir released in 2015 that examines the complex ways both Black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. He has published articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribute, and Raleigh News & Observer as well as various medical journals. Dr. Tweedy is a sought-after speaker on the topics of racial disparities in healthcare and the impact of race on the medical profession having appeared on major television networks and at colleges around the country. He is the 2017 recipient of the Solomon Carter Fuller Award presented by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the 2019 Leonard Palumbo, Jr., MD Faculty Achievement Award at Duke University. A graduate of Duke University Medical School, Dr. Tweedy went on to attend Yale Law School before returning to Duke University to complete his medical and psychiatric training.

Joonsik Moon The Role of the Superior Colliculus in Smooth Pursuit Eye Movements Advisor: Robert McPeek, PhD



Shuyi (Suzy) Chen

Dhekaa Al Muntaser Adrien M. Almonte m Kseniia Ananieva Emily Christine Aristizabal Rebecca Bablin Michelle Bangiyev Henry Banh Reyna Betances Himakshi Nimish Bhatt * ** m Brenda Botwinick Anthony Thomas Boyd * ** Marianna Carmella Butera + m Ryan James Campbell + Alice Jue Jue Chen Schuman Anan Chen Shuyi (Suzy) Chen * ** + m Susan Chen Christina Cherny * ** m Cassandra L. Chow Charles A. Cohen Levon Dang Charles Daniels III Taylor Michael Davis Stephen Dellostritto * ** m Jessica Deng Jeremy Du Rachel T. Du Indigo Ensign Hannah Rosa Fabiny Raymond Bryant Farmer * ** + m Rochelle Emanuella Fleisher Morgan Reinelle Franke Smita Govilla * ** m Ivanna Stepanivna Grynyk

Sathvika Gunturi Chana Haimowitz * ** m Taisir Hamouda Hanne Karolina Hansen * ** m Elise Julia Hoi * ** + m Angelina Isakova Leyla Karim Gursimran Kaur m Kiyana Shirin Kavoussi Shauna Lynn Kehoe Faiza Khalid * Alex Giesoo Kim Holly Elizabeth Knoechel * ** m Amanda Kaylin Kulberg * ** Helen Lam Jeffrey LeBlanc

Junaid Shahzad Qureshi Imad Rahman Farhana Salek Alina Sample * ** Cassidy Marie Sauer * Harry Sehdev Sophia Serobian Jubin Bharat Shah Sherry Xuanming Shang * ** + Emily Shtull Shreyal Shukla Kevin Anesh Singh m Tyler Thompson


Aaron S. Peterson, O.D. Maysoon Majdi Salem, O.D. Rachel T. Samouha, O.D. Alex M. Shin, O.D. David M. Spengler, O.D. Asha Tadepalli, O.D. Grace C. To, O.D. Alyssa M. Tursi, O.D. Liselotte Van Landegem, O.D. Simrit Virk, O.D.

Chanpreet Kataria, O.D. Harjot Kaur, O.D. Maria Klyuzner, O.D. Reshmi Kurup, O.D.

Rebecca Christina Aquije, O.D. Olivia Bass, O.D. Mackenzie Anne Bradley, O.D. Camille Elena Brewster Silva, O.D.

Esther Lee, O.D. Luqian Liu, O.D. Julia Thi Mai, O.D.

John Khanh Bui, O.D. Wei Teresa Chen, O.D. Linh T. Chieu, O.D.

Nicole Mercho, O.D. Kamila Mikos, O.D. Stefanie Mirabella, O.D. Julianna Mola, O.D. Debbie Ocampo, O.D. Margaret Overstreet, O.D. Sheena Patel, O.D.

Shelley E. Clark, O.D. Amanda Crane, O.D. Angelica M. Ferri, O.D. Samantha N. Fung, O.D. Tak-Man Kimberly Fung, O.D. Rebecca Heaps, O.D Katrina Karpinski, O.D.

Stephanie Tituana Kent Uehara * ** + m Lisa Wadolowski Angela Wen Miu Yi Wong Elton K. Wong Xiao Jing Xu Keying Yan * ** Peter Heesung Yoon +

Kevin Weber, O.D. Lucas Wilson, O.D.

Sam Kum Lee * ** Kevin Jon Leung Melissa E. Levine * ** Jiaoyang Li * ** Megan Li Peiwei Lo * ** Rhea Paige Magee Mariah Rachelle Marshall Alham Mohammad Ali Esther Moller Carey Jane Murzynski

* to be presented during residency ceremony

Martin Nguyen Ian Price Olexio

Sweta Sudhir Patel Daniella Perlstein Jonathan Nguyen-Khoi Pham * ** + m Sarah Pinkhasov Danielle Polvanov

* Beta Sigma Kappa member ** 4-year BSK member + Gold Key Society member m Micro-Credentials



presented during a ceremony this morning

presented during a ceremony this morning

SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Josh Wallman, PhD Memorial Research Award

Christina Cherny Elise Julia Hoi Melissa E. Levine

Keying Yan

for Excellence in Research

Esther J. Werner Memorial Award

Raymond Bryant Farmer

Beta Sigma Kappa Award for Academic Excellence

Anthony Thomas Boyd

for Academic Excellence

Dr. Max Cohen Memorial Award for Commitment to Community Service

Jonathan Nguyen-Khoi Pham Raymond Bryant Farmer

Dr. Frederick W. Brock Memorial Award

Carey Jane Murzynski

for Outstanding Clinical Performance in Vision Training

Dr. Benjamin Freed Memorial Award

Jeremy Du

College of Optometrists in Vision Development Award

Marianna Carmella Butera

for Community Service sponsored by Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation

for Excellence in Vision Therapy

Columbia Class of 1936 Award

Anthony Thomas Boyd

Morton L. Kimmelman Memorial Award for Student Leadership in Organized Optometry

Angela Wen

for Academic and Clinical Achievement in Ocular Disease

Class of 1991 Pacesetter Award for Excellence in Primary Care

Cassidy Marie Sauer

Billie M. Lyons Memorial Award

Marianna Carmella Butera

for Distinguished Service to the College Community

Dr. Stanley Eisenberg Memorial Award

Jonathan Nguyen-Khoi Pham

New York State Optometric Association Auxiliary Award

Sherry Xuanming Shang

for Excellence in Practice Development and Administration

for Outstanding Service to the Class of 2021

Dr. William Feinbloom Memorial Award

Jonathan Nguyen-Khoi Pham

Abram A. Hubal, OD Student Service Award

Carey Jane Murzynski

for Outstanding Clinical Proficiency in Low Vision

sponsored by the New York State Optometric Association

Ira Goldfarb Memorial Award for Excellence in Low Vision

Rochelle Emanuella Fleisher

Alcon Award

Xiao Jing Xu

for the Outstanding Case Report on the Use of an Alcon Product

Dr. Louis Herrmann Memorial Award for Outstanding Compassion in Patient Care

Emily Christine Aristizabal

GP Lens Institute Clinical Excellence Award for Outstanding Clinical Proficiency in Contact Lenses

Shuyi (Suzy) Chen

Mr. and Mrs. Irving Unger Award for Excellence in Optometry

Kevin Anesh Singh



presented during a ceremony this morning

O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say does that star spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Dr. William M. Eisenberg Memorial Award

Stephen Dellostritto

for Excellence in Ocular Disease sponsored by Alcon

Good-Lite Pediatric Award

Anthony Thomas Boyd

for Excellence in Pediatric Optometry

Eschenbach Award

Amanda Kaylin Kulberg

for Excellence in Low Vision

Johnson & Johnson Excellence Award

Holly Elizabeth Knoechel

for Excellence in Clinical Contact Lens Patient Care

Marchon Award

Jubin Bharat Shah

for Excellence in Practice Management

Mira-Med 20/20 Vision Award for Excellence in Optometry

Daniella Perlstein

Optelec Low Vision Award for Excellence in Low Vision

Chana Haimowitz

Birnbaum Award for a Vision Therapy Resident

Dr. Rebecca Aquije


The academic gowns that you see today represent a tradition inherited from the universities of the Middle Ages. Those institutions were founded by the Church; the students, being clerics, were obliged to wear clerical gowns and caps at all times. Throughout the ages, this regalia has been altered to accommodate both fashion and fancy. The once round caps were transformed into square mortarboards and the cowls, originally attached to the gown and used for warmth as a shoulder cape and bag for the collection of alms, became a separate garment that was fashioned into the colorful hoods currently worn.

These gowns are usually black or the official color of the institution in the United States. The way they are worn and their cut distinguish the wearer’s academic degree.

The hood is the most outstanding and colorful feature of the regalia. It is lined with the color of the institution from which the wearer received the degree. Its size and shape indicate the wearer’s degree; and its collar is the color of the academic discipline: Liberal Arts, white; Fine Arts and Architecture, brown; Science, golden yellow; Music, pink; Divinity, scarlet; Law, purple; Engineering, orange; Philosophy, blue; Medicine, green; Public Health, salmon; Forestry, russet; and Nursing, apricot. Seafoam green is the color adopted by the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry and filed with the Collegiate Bureau of Academic Costumes. The velvet trim on the hood is seafoam green. The blue and gold satin lining of the hood represent the traditional colors of the State University of New York.

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