2022 H O N O R E E
2022 Best Practices Student Scholarship Recipients
Dana Devito Indiana University School of Optometry
Indiana University School of Optometry student Dana DeVito took two “gap” years after undergrad, during which time she worked in both healthcare and real estate, ultimately deciding to pursue a career in healthcare. The more that she learned about optometry, the more she realized this was the path for her. As an associate instructor at the Indiana University School of Optometry, Dana has helped lecture and teach for ocular biology, anatomy and physiology of the eye, and Clinic IV. She also serves as president of her school’s optometric private practice club. In 2019, Dana became a member of the American Optometric Student Association, and the Contact Lens, Low Vision, and Sports Vision Club. She also is a junior executive board member for SOLutioN. Dana has been recognized with several awards and honors including the Student Innovator Award, the MyEyeDr Fellowship, and IUSO Faculty Fellowship. She also recently became an AAO fellow and a member of the Gold Key international Optometric Society. In the future, Dana hopes to buy into a private practice where she can focus on providing comprehensive eye care, contact lens services, and dry eye treatments.
Benjamin Gutsin Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry
Briana Vargas University of the incarnate Word Rosenburg School of Optometry Optometry was not always in the picture for Briana Vargas. She initially decided to pursue art, but switched to optometry after her father was dealing with his own vision-related issues. If he hadn’t gone to see an optometrist, he could’ve potentially lost his vision. It was this experience that made Briana rethink her career. During her time at the Rosenburg School of Optometry, Briana has found a passion for fitting contact lenses and changing peoples’ lives through the gift of vision. Briana has served as an ophthalmic technician at the Edinburg Vision Center, where she scribed for leading doctor, Dr. Luis Navarro, and prepped patients with entrance testing and refraction. She also has volunteered on a 3-day vision screening mission trip to the Rio Grande Valley, where she assisted patients with optical. Currently, Briana works for Dr. Elaine Vlasak at Custom Eye Care to help patients pick out frames and contact lenses. Following in his family’s footsteps, Benjamin Gutsin was inspired to pursue a career in healthcare with aspirations to serve patients and make a positive impact on their lives. Ben is currently enrolled in a 3-year Accelerated Scholars Program at Salus University College of Optometry—the only one of its kind in the country. During his time at Salus, he has served as Scholars Class President and been a recipient of the 2020 Dean’s Scholarship. In addition, he has received several awards from the University at Buffalo, including the 2019 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the Stewart Global Citizenship Scholarship Award, and the Grace W. Capen Academic Award. Benjamin has found a particular interest in learning about specialty contact lenses, myopia management, and ocular disease. He currently interns at The Eye Institute in Philadelphia, PA, where he independently examines patients and provides tentative diagnoses for preceptor review. His long-term goal is to return to Buffalo, NY, where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Briana’s long-term goal is to one day open her own private practice.
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