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November 2018: Tara Mahvelati

Tara Mahvelati is a fourth-year student at the State University of New York College of Optometry (SUNY). Originally from Montreal, QC, she completed her undergraduate degree at Concordia University in BSc in Biology. While completing her MSc in Immunology at the University of Sherbrooke, Tara gave platform presentations of her research at local conferences and poster presentations at local, national, and international conferences, including the prestigious Society of Neuroscience. She continued to work with her lab remotely throughout her Optometry studies and has been very fortunate to have her studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

Tara’s passion and dedication towards Optometry manifests through her extensive involvement in the field. As a student at SUNY, Tara was the Class of 2019 IT Council Representative, Social Outreach Chair of the Contact Lens Society and Secretary of the Private Practice Society. She played vital roles in organizing the highly anticipated annual Career Symposiums for students, and works closely with the Office of Student Affairs to provide events and workshops focused on developing career success in students and prospective students. Notably, she is also the founder of the Student Canadian Society at SUNY.

Tara has a strong interest in innovation and entrepreneurship. As third-year students, Tara and her teammate won the 2018 SUNY Student Innovator Award, sponsored by Essilor and Jobson’s Rick Bay Foundation for their idea Can-See. Can-See is a customizable eye chart that aims in making refraction and binocularity testing as simple and as efficient as possible for eye care providers.

Beyond SUNY, Tara is one of the first student ambassadors and is currently part of the membership committee chair of the Optical Women’s Association (OWA). She played a pivotal role in creating new student membership scholarships, sponsored by Luxottica, to provide networking and mentorship opportunities for other Optometry students. Tara was also a Transitions Student Ambassador, where she partook in discussions on products, marketing initiatives, and patient care. As an active member of the student group of Young Leaders of Optometry, Tara was involved with planning networking opportunities for members during Optometric conferences, such as American Academy of Optometry (AAO). She also enjoys spending time participating in multiple vision screenings and is a strong advocate for organized Optometry, where she has lobbied for the right of oral prescriptions.

Outside of Optometry, Tara enjoys spending her time reading books on leadership and entrepreneurism. You might also find Tara DJ’ing at student events such as the 2018 Student Welcome Reception at AAO. In the future, Tara is planning to complete a residency in Pediatrics and Vision Therapy, open her own practice, all the while experiencing the best of life in various cities advocating for Optometry.


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