Meet MCO Student Nicholas Keinath
MCO Student Nicholas Keinath
What is your educational background? When did you graduate undergrad?
I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2020 with a degree in Neuroscience. I’ve always been fascinated by the brain, and my schooling only deepened that curiosity. As you may imagine, learning about the retina and visual processing is incredibly exciting.
Tell us a little about your path into Optometry school.
Coming into undergrad, I knew I wanted a career where I would be able to help people. I shadowed some doctors in other settings, then began to shadow optometrists. Originally, I viewed optometrists primarily as the specialists in refractions and glasses. While this is true, the doctors I shadowed showed me that an O.D. is also a primary eye health provider. Their patients presented with various pathologies, and the optometrists took each case in stride. Finally, before beginning optometry school, I had the chance to participate in a VOSH trip to Guerrero, Mexico. This service trip showed me the dramatic and immediate quality of life improvement that eye care could provide. I was hooked.
Why did you choose to attend MCO?
I grew up in a small town, then had a large school experience at the University of Michigan. While there are certainly benefits to both, I was ready to connect well with my classmates and instructors again. MCO’s class size absolutely encouraged that, and it really is a joy to have professors who know my name and the potential to have a friendly conversation with any one of my classmates. It also helped that MCO’s facilities were some of the most pristine out of all the schools where I interviewed.
What are some fond memories do you have of optometry school so far?
- Tubing down the Muskegon River
- Eyeball with Dr. Pole’s gnarly rhymes
- Late night trips to Ludington to try (so far unsuccessfully) to see the Northern Lights
What kind of involvement do you have within and outside the optometric community?
Two of my main roles here at MCO are Optometry Student Government (OSG) President and “Class Dad”. Holding the position of OSG President, while challenging at times, has been an awesome opportunity to organize events for the school and learn about how to lead groups. Of course, there is still so much for me to learn, and I hope to always seek to serve those around me by listening to feedback and modifying my strategies accordingly. I was unofficially appointed class dad sometime during first year, I hope because of my tendency to plan events for the class to get together and connect, or maybe because of my sense of fashion.
I’m also involved in a student organization called the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO). It was through FCO that myself and other MCO students were able to participate in a service trip to Korosten, Ukraine in August 2021. While there, our team was able to see about 900 patients, all of whom heard what I consider to be the best news possible, the gospel!
What is/are your inspiration(s)?
I realize religion is often a polarizing and challenging topic for many, and that numerous people have unfortunately had negative experiences with organizations of faith. In order to be authentic to myself, however, I’ll say that I seek to be like my role model, to reach and serve those on the fringe of society, to be gentle and understanding in my care of all people regardless of background or societally deemed worth. If you’re curious about Jesus, please reach out to me!
If there is one thing you can say to incoming MCO students, what would it be?
Try to remember why you’re studying now. It is no longer to get a good grade or maintain a certain GPA. Now you study in order to better serve your patients in the future. It is a privilege to care for people, and they are trusting in your expertise as a doctor.
If there is one thing you can say to MCO alumni, what would it be?
Thank you for your continued support! It has been a pleasure to meet those of you whose path has crossed with mine. I’d specifically like to thank my hometown O.D., Dr. Paul Lanczki. Additionally, I would like to thank Dr. Tara Oosterbaan and all the doctors and technicians in Holland who contributed to my learning as a tech last summer.