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MCO Ambassadors for Admissions

Third Year Students

Ashley PetersAshley Peters

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in chemistry at Saginaw Valley State University. I also attended Delta College for 2 years prior to starting at SVSU. While completing my undergrad, I worked for my local optometrist learning the ins and outs of the eye care industry. My passion for Optometry blossomed in this environment, seeing the differences we made in patient’s lives and vision every day. Here at MCO, I am one of the class representatives for the class of 2024, the President-Elect of the Michigan Optometric Student Association, and a member of the volunteer organization; SVOSH. I love that MCO has so many opportunities to be involved at school and in the community. I also appreciate the smaller class size the school provides. Getting to know my classmates and professors as future colleagues and knowing they have the desire for me to succeed is one of the best parts about MCO!  [email protected] 

Daria LaisureDaria Laisure

I am a long-standing Bulldog, having earned a BS in Biology from Ferris State University. Remaining in Big Rapids, at the Michigan College of Optometry, was always where I saw myself learning, growing, and engaging with collogues. There are many opportunities to get involved here, from MCO specific organizations (Contact Lens Club) to FSU activities (intramural and club sports). In addition to the busyness of academia, I work full-time for the Office of Housing and Residence life, hold a position as the National Residence Hall Honorary Community/Volunteer Chair, and participate in many of MCO's clubs. To say that MCO is your "home away from home", becomes an understatement. With the small class sizes, community atmosphere, and sense of belonging, your optometric career will excel. I'd love to answer any questions you may have! Feel free contact me via email at [email protected].

Emma KerrEmma kerr

I earned my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Biology from Grand Valley State University. Throughout my life I have always known I wanted to go into something in the medical field with a goal of improving the lives of those in my community. I first shadowed a few optometrists and loved the pace and flow of the daily schedule. I followed that up by getting a job at an Optometry/Ophthalmology office- that sealed the deal! After working in a clinical setting, I had zero doubts optometry was for me. I love how MCO is such a close-knit environment due to the small class sizes and the overall atmosphere here. Big Rapids is a beautiful town in all seasons and is in close proximity to anything you could need. Above all, what convinced to choose MCO was how kind and helpful everyone is here. MCO creates a home-away-from-home feel where you have great resources while surrounded by people who are the salt of the Earth. At MCO you are not a number, you are someone everyone wants to see succeed, and they will help you in any way needed for you to achieve that goal. Feel free to email with any questions you may have, I’d love to hear from you!  [email protected] 

Hannah LongHannah Long

Hi! My name is Hannah and I am so excited to be a MCO student ambassador this year. I completed my undergraduate studies at Grand Valley State University where I majored in Biomedical Science. Originally, I had not planned on attending optometry school, but after some shadowing during my sophomore year of college I knew it was the perfect path for me.  My hometown is on the east side of Michigan in Oxford, and it has been nice to go to school not too far from home. Even with online learning and COVID restrictions my first year here, I have met some of my best friends and had the opportunity to learn so much. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions! [email protected]

Kayla McCaigKayla McCaig

Hello! My name is Kayla McCaig and I am from Bangor, MI. I completed my undergraduate studies at Western Michigan University, where I majored in Biological Studies. MCO feels like a second home, and I couldn't be happier with my decision to attend. I enjoy the low student-to-faculty ratio and the ability to get to know all my classmates. I fell in love with optometry after working at a local office shortly after high school. Since then, I have worked at two private practice optometry offices and became certified as an optician and paraoptometric technician. I highly recommended MCO to students looking for a welcoming community, supporting staff, and uplifting classmates.  You are welcome to reach out to me with any questions at [email protected]

Laura SchnepfLaura Schnepf

I went to Ferris State University for my undergraduate studies and completed a BS in Vision Science degree through the 3+4 Program offered by the Michigan College of Optometry. I shadowed multiple optometrists throughout college and quickly confirmed that optometry was the field for me! I chose MCO for optometry school because of the small class size, the advanced learning facilities, and the supportive environment. I am a member of multiple clubs at MCO, which is an easy way to get involved, learn more about the profession, and meet great people. If you have any questions, you can email me at [email protected].

Leah ThompsonLeah jipping

I am from Whitehall, MI and completed my undergraduate studies at Calvin University (formerly Calvin College). I received degrees in Biology and Spanish, both with honors. At MCO, I am a class representative for the Class of 2024, president-elect for our private practice club MOSPPA, and a member of other on campus organizations. I've been in the Optometric setting for my entire life, first as a patient and now as a student. I have had the privilege to shadow multiple optometrists and work as an optometric scribe/technician/biller for two summers. All of these experiences and more led to my decision to be an Optometrist and attend MCO. I'm so blessed to study at MCO; I love the small class sizes, strong community relationships, and endless ways to become involved. If you have any questions about MCO or life in general, please feel free to email me anytime!  [email protected] 

Molly LeslieMolly Leslie

I am from Grayling, Michigan, and I attended Saginaw Valley State University for three years before I was accepted to MCO under the 3+4 admissions program. I decided I wanted to be an optometrist at the end of my first year at SVSU after shadowing several different types of doctors. I am the president elect for SVOSH and the mental health liaison for OSG and I enjoy running, biking, and traveling in my free time! I really enjoy that MCO has small classes which has allowed me to get to know my professors and classmates well. The low faculty to student ratio has been great because there is always time to ask questions or get one-on-one help when I need it.  [email protected]

Nick KeithathNicholas Keinath

I went to the University of Michigan for undergrad, where I majored in Neuroscience. I am the current president-elect for Optometry Student Government, which allows me to help in the planning and execution of fun and important events throughout the school year. Optometry presents an incredible opportunity to quickly and dramatically improve people’s quality of life, which is in large part why I decided on this profession. Optometry also offers a one-way ticket into the depths of the unique marriage between vision and neuroscience, which is a nice bonus for me. MCO’s small class size truly does foster a family-like atmosphere, which has proven invaluable time and again in the midst of our stressful, (but rewarding), curriculum. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to reach out: [email protected]

Rachel McKurasRachel McKuras

I majored in biology pre-medicine at Indiana Wesleyan University for my undergraduate schooling. I gained an interest in optometry early on from the positive interactions I had with my optometrist. After my junior year of high school, I began working at an optometry office which further increased my passion for the field. The experience kept me coming back for a total of five summers. I continued digging deeper into optometry by job-shadowing during my undergraduate studies. I love being able to help people in any way I can and look forward to doing that through optometry! I appreciate the education MCO provides and the value placed on providing the best patient care possible. I find the low student-faculty ratio to be a great plus from an educational standpoint and the small school size helpful in connecting deeper with classmates. Feel free to reach out with any questions! Email: [email protected].

Selena NehmehSelena Nehmeh

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn where I majored in biochemistry and minored in psychology. I’ve always wanted to have a career where I can make a difference in the lives of others and once I started researching optometry, I loved it! I shadowed doctors during my time in undergrad and worked as a sales associate/technician at a Lenscrafters where I learned so much more about the field. I am really enjoying my time here at MCO because of my amazing professors and classmates! Having a small class size makes it so easy to really get know your classmates and get help when you need it. Feel free to reach out with any questions at [email protected].

Sheen MathewSheen Mathew

Hello! My name is Sheen and I am a Canadian student from Brampton, Ontario. I completed my degree in Honours Life Science at McMaster University during which I started my journey to pursue optometry. I was an active member of various vision-related organizations at school including a research group where I conducted vision screenings across local elementary schools. Along with shadowing optometrists and working as an optometric technician, I very quickly realized that I wanted to contribute to this dynamic and rewarding healthcare field. MCO stood out to me amongst other schools due it’s state-of-the-art facility and how closely faculty worked with students due to the small class sizes. The school’s outstanding reputation also assured me that I would be equipped with the necessary resources to reach my full potential. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have! [email protected]

Tate HammondTate hammond

After graduating from Zeeland West High School, I spent the next three years at Ferris State University. My undergraduate advisors and the faculty at the Michigan College of Optometry helped me pursue the 3+4 pathway, allowing me to join the MCO family before receiving my bachelor’s degree. As somebody who struggled to choose a career path after high school, I can say that optometry has reassured me that my academic efforts will be able to translate to the improvement of my community. I am reminded of this when I spend time with my classmates, my MCO instructors, and the patients in my hometown clinic.  [email protected] 

Taylor FissTaylor Fiss

I grew up in a small town in southwest Kansas.  I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas.  In undergrad, I worked at a family practice eye care office under two optometrists.  I fell in love with optometry and have been pursuing my optometric dreams ever since.  I am so thankful to have a place/home here in the MCO community.  I am thrilled to help new students on their path into optometry and will be available if you have any questions or concerns.  [email protected]

Second Year Students


I did my undergraduate studies at York University (Toronto, Canada) where I majored in Kinesiology. I was myopic since I was young, and I would get regular eye checkups every year and go through the fun of choosing glasses. Since then, I realized how important clear vision is and how fascinating it is that someone can help you see better. Going through different stages of life, I learned more about different fields and explored more options alongside optometry however as soon as I shadowed an optometrist and started working there, all my memories came back, and I fell in love with it all over again. As we all know, with Covid and all the restrictions, it was tough to choose between different schools without physically being there. However, when I was virtually looking at different optometry schools, having smaller class sizes and the state-of-the-art facility in MCO caught my attention. I am grateful for meeting many amazing people at MCO and learning from them. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!  [email protected] 


My name is Ashley Kerr and I’m currently a second year at MCO. My hometown is Bad Axe, MI and I earned my bachelor’s degree in biology at Ferris State in Dec 2020. During the months prior to starting optometry school, I worked as an optician and technician in a private practice close to my hometown. One of my favorite parts of attending MCO is the wide variety of student organizations -  they truly expand my understanding and interests of the optometric profession beyond what is taught in the classroom. I am currently serving as the Secretary for the Michigan Optometric Student Private Practice Association and the Community Service Chair for Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.  [email protected] 


I graduated from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul in Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. My desire to serve others and help them see for my career drove me to go straight from undergraduate to Optometry school. I actually had a different Optometry school in mind, but after my interview with MCO, I had to rethink my original plan. The kindness exhibited to me was so apparent in that short interview, and the club, Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, caught my attention. In the end, I am so glad that I went with MCO for the kind people, small class sizes, and hometown vibe! Feel free to email me if you want to learn more!  [email protected] 


Hello! I did my undergraduate studies at Ferris State University, where I participated in Michigan College of Optometry’s 3+4 program. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Vision Science after my first year at MCO. While completing my undergrad, I worked at the University Eye Center at the front desk and the contact lens clinic. This allowed me to become familiar with MCO’s building and faculty while getting an optometric experience. I am so glad I chose to come to MCO because of the small class size, great professors, and amazing friends I’ve made. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have. [email protected] 


I am originally from Dayton, Ohio and attended the University of Dayton for my undergraduate studies. Going into my undergraduate studies, Optometry was not a thought of mine, and it wasn’t until I decided to have a LASIK procedure done to correct my vision that I thought about how much I loved my Optometrist growing up. Immediately after my procedure, I decided to go back and shadow my hometown Optometrist which was where I started to fall in love with the profession. They offered me a job and I worked there as much as I could for two years before coming to MCO. As I was doing research over all my options for Optometry school, MCO stood out right away due to their small class size, low faculty to student ratio, and their lab and clinic opportunities. I am happy to say that choosing MCO turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made as not only is the school very supportive in helping me advance my education, but I know some of the friendships I have made at MCO will last a lifetime!  [email protected]


I completed my undergraduate studies at Western University where I majored in Health Sciences and minored in Biology. I lived in Brampton, Ontario my entire life! I had the opportunity to job-shadow an optometrist for +100 hours since the age of 16. The exposure led to my great interest in optometry from a young age. Currently, at MCO I am the liaison elect for ASCO and CLCS. Other than great extracurricular activities, MCO provides an excellent opportunity to get to know your peers and faculty members. It is like having a second family away from home. The faculty pushes you to always do your best, and the early on clinical exposure will make you more passionate about optometry! Besides optometry feel free to ask me questions about moving to another city, housing, or anything that may come up. Looking forward to answering your questions!  [email protected] 


I attended Pine River High School and have lived in the area my entire life. I completed my bachelor's degree at Ferris State University before coming to Michigan College of Optometry. The summer before starting optometry school I worked as an optician in Cadillac, during this time my passion for optometry grew. I decided to attend MCO because of the small class size and the family like feel. The past year at MCO has proved that I made the correct decision and I couldn't imagine myself anywhere else. I am happy to answer any questions that you may have, just email me at [email protected].


I am somewhat of a non-traditional student.  I did not begin college until I was 21. After working in various industries for about 3 years, I decided to go back to school and I began my undergraduate studies at Grand Rapids Community College.  During this time, I had a great experience with a few optometrists in my hometown which started my interest in optometry.  After spending a few more months doing research and comparing different career options, I learned that optometry really is a great career that impacts patient’s day-to-day lives for the better. After spending a few more semesters at GRCC, I transferred to University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, MI where I completed a BS in Biology and also studied Arabic! My first year at MCO has been great, I’ve learned more than I could’ve imagined, and almost every week I get confirmation that I made the right choice.  [email protected]


Hello! My name is Marilyn Johnson, and I am from Ottawa, ON, Canada. I completed my undergraduate studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, where I majored in Life Science. From wearing glasses from a very young age to being supported by optometrists during my TBI, optometry has made a giant impact in my life. I hope to pay it forward someday and help bridge the health disparity gap by working with underserved populations. MCO was the perfect fit for me, with the smaller class sizes, location, and state of the art facilities. One thing that I love about MCO is that faculty and students are always willing to help if you ask for it. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me!  [email protected]


I was born and raised in Maine and completed my undergraduate degree at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, PA where I majored in biology with a focus in ecology. I took a 3-year gap between undergraduate and MCO to work at an optometrist office where I was a technician and vision therapist. I chose the profession of optometry because I got to experience first-hand how clear vision can impact someone's life and I wanted to be able to give that to others. I really enjoy studying at MCO because of how close you become to professors and the other students. You can really tell how much other students, faculty, and staff want you to succeed. Being from the East Coast I wasn't sure how well I would adjust to Michigan but after my first year, I would choose MCO over and over again.  [email protected] 


I completed my undergraduate studies at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. There, I majored in biology with minors in chemistry and theatre. I currently serve as one of the Class of 2025 Class Representatives, the VRS Liason, and a class tutor. I have always been interested in the visual pathway as I grew up with a grandfather who had Retinitis Pigmentosa. Additionally, my parents met when they worked as contact lens sales reps, so vision has played a huge role in my life. Before coming to MCO, I worked in a private practice back home for about 3 years. Moving to Big Rapids was the first time I had lived outside of my hometown, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The MCO community has truly become my home and I wouldn't trade my experiences here for the world! I would love to connect, please feel free to contact me.  [email protected] 


I did my undergraduate studies at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana where I majored in Biology and Pre-medical preparation and minored in Chemistry. I am involved with many clubs at school and currently hold the position of Secretary for the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists and am the Liaison for the Armed Forced optometric Society. I became interested in optometry during my undergraduate studies and was able to shadow optometrists in a variety of practice settings. I believe MCO offers exceptional education and facilities as well as a family-like feel all the time.  [email protected] 


I completed my bachelor's degree at Wabash College with a major in biological sciences and a minor in chemistry. I have worked for a private practice since 2015. I eventually fell in love with the optometry discipline after I had the opportunity to shadow a few patients with rare and debilitating ocular complications and ever since then, I have wanted to help save people's vision. I really enjoy the small population here at MCO, you get to learn all of your classmates and your professors really well which makes for a more comfortable experience. Even with the small size of the school, there is no lack of opportunities to get involved. I am currently a student ambassador and, due to my experience with running an optical lab, I edge lenses for SVOSH to help those who need specific Rx's, get the best vision they can. If you are looking for a close knit learning environment, then MCO is definitely the place you will find it! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!  [email protected]