The (Big) Apple of Her Eye

June 03, 2016
CBS alumna Emily Ellingson is pursuing a future in optometry in the city that never sleeps.

Emily Ellingson

Emily Ellingson’s Manhattan lifestyle may look a bit like a movie: runs through Central Park, venturing to new restaurants with friends or taking the subway home to her upper East Side apartment. But the allure of city life isn’t the only thing that drew the CBS alum (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior ’14) to New York City -- she is in her second year in the Doctor of Optometry program at the State University of New York College of Optometry.

Ellingson’s interest and future career path in optometry started during childhood. “I started wearing glasses and contacts at a young age,” she says. “I recognized the impact that an optometrist can have on someone's life, and the importance of clear vision to a child.”

In addition to her personal experience, another factor drove her interest. Ellingson’s mother is an allergist and her father is a clinic manager. Through her parents, she got a firsthand look at the impact healthcare providers can make on a daily basis. While considering which route to take in the world of medicine, a few things stuck out to Ellingson about optometry in particular.

“Optometry encompasses much more than prescribing glasses and contacts,” says Ellingson.
“We diagnose and treat ocular diseases, provide vision therapy and pre/post-operative care, and even perform minor surgical eye procedures in some cases.”

Living in a high-energy city suits Ellingson, who keeps busy with schoolwork and a laundry list of volunteer activities. She serves as Student Council President, and volunteers with the Lion’s Club, Students Volunteering Optometric Services to Humanity, American Optometric Student Association and College of Vision Development.

Her time at CBS helped set the stage for her current life and program in New York City.

“The greatest preparation, for me, was to simultaneously take challenging courses while developing my skills as a leader and conducting research as an undergraduate,” says Ellingson. “When I reflect on my time in CBS, it was the perfect place for me to grow and prepare for my current program, and for the rest of my life.”

-Lance Janssen