Shaminder Dhaliwal is a fourth year student studying at the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO). He was born and raised in Winnipeg, MB graduating from high school in 2011. He then continued his education completing his BSc degree split between biology and microbiology at the University of Manitoba in 2015. Shaminder was first exposed to the world of optometry at a young age when his best friend’s father had a traumatic incident that left him with very little vision in his eye. His friend’s family was very grateful to the optometrist they saw regularly, which inspired Shaminder’s desire to help make people feel that way every day. After completing over 100 hours for an internship program at a local optometry office, he knew this career path was for him.
Shaminder has always strived to be involved and a leader dating back to his grade school days and did not want to let that go once starting at ICO. Beginning in his first year, he was the class representative for the Multi-Cultural Association (MCA) and was awarded the Wildermuth Foundation Scholarship by the Fellowship and Awards committee. During his second year he was a very active mentor to incoming students on the Orientation team, making their transition to ICO as seamless as possible. Shaminder loves to try and embrace the saying that optometry school isn’t all about just books. He played a variety of sports every semester during all three of his years at ICO, collecting five championships along the way that he will proudly bring back to Canada. Furthermore, during his third year at the college, Shaminder amped up his leadership roles by becoming the Vice President of the ICO Canadian Association of Optometry Students group. In this role he helped organize speakers covering a wide range of topics and made sure there was always a good bite to eat during these presentations! He also worked his way up from the First year class representative, to President of MCA. MCA tries to bring the entire ICO community together no matter if you’re a student, staff, or faculty member of any background. Shaminder helped organize one of the biggest MCA night talent shows this past year with food options from many different cultures, performances by the students of ICO that blew everyone away, and by being a great co-MC with a faculty member. He hopes to always be involved with MCA and be a presidential advisor to all future club presidents.
Shaminder walks around with a positive attitude and the desire to push himself, the people around him, and the field of optometry to new limits in any way he can. He wants to continue helping his community beyond optometry school by one day being on the board of the Manitoba Association of Optometrists, screening at his local temple, and providing an academic scholarship to his former High School basketball program. We all know optometry school alone is challenging and requires a lot of energy, but Shaminder sets the example that balancing school and everything else you want to achieve is possible with one thing- determination. His next short-term goal is to be a mentor and share his story of 4th year and beyond on his new Instagram blog page: @dappereyedoc. So go ahead and follow him and ask him questions about anything, he would love to help.