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April 2019: Sherene Vazhappilly

Sherene Vazhappilly is a current 4th year student at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science in Waterloo, Ontario. Originally from Calgary, AB, she completed her undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in Honours Neuroscience at the University of Calgary, publishing two eminent scientific papers in the process.

At Waterloo, Sherene has demonstrated an incredible dedication to her academics, clinical leadership and extracurricular involvement. A passionate student leader, she served on the AOA (American Optometric Association) Student Chapter as a VP and the CAOS (Canadian Association of Optometry Students) Chapter as VP Education and Outreach. Through these positions, Sherene organized outreach events to local high schools and the main campus student body in an effort to educate students about optometry. She also volunteers annually at Waterloo Optometry’s Interview Day and at Laurier’s Conversations in Health mixer to engage with future optometry students. She likes to stay active with dance, and she is a former Zumba apprentice and TSA Formal Dance Team member. In her free time, she enjoys writing articles for, CAOS’s Aperture Magazine, AOSA’s Foresight Magazine and ASCO’s Optometric Education/Eyes on Optometry Blog. She is a social media star, previously creating and managing @caostudents on Instagram, contributing to CAOS’ first Youtube video, and managing her optometry account, @drserenehappy on Instagram, Twitter and WordPress Blog. Through these mediums, she hopes to educate the public, advocate for the profession and inspire the future generation.

An avid traveller, foodie and language buff, optometric mission trips are a natural vocation for Sherene. Previously, she has volunteered in Camana, Peru with Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) and won the coveted Canadian Vision Care (CVC) Scholarship for a mission trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica. In addition, she was one of the students chosen by Luxottica’s OneSight Program to serve in Campeche, Mexico on an upcoming 2019 mission trip.

Sherene’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, she is the previous winner of the prestigious J Pat Cummings Scholarship at Waterloo, a Transitions Students of Vision Scholarship Grand Prize Winner, and the winner of numerous travel grants over the years from AOSA, AOA, Allergan and CAOS. In addition, she is one of the winners of CAOS’ Aperture magazine contest two years in a row and the selected submission two years in a row from Waterloo for consideration in ASCO’s Student Award in Clinical Ethics.

Sherene has made great strides in her optometry career throughout her time at Waterloo, and her future career goals include delivering vision care and educating the public in underserved areas. She plans to continue to grow in her social media presence to make eyecare education accessible to the public, advocate for the profession, and inspire future optometric leaders. She hopes to eventually join a holistic healthcare and optometry practice, travel, and tend to her organic garden.


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