By: UHCO Communications Posted On: 03/07/2022
A few Qs & As with University of Houston College of Optometry’s Easy Anyama, recently elected by fellow students from around the nation as the incoming president of the American Optometric Student Association…
Q: Easy, where’s home? Where did you attend undergrad, and what was your major?
A: I am from Stafford, Texas, which is right outside Houston. I spent a year at the University of Texas at Austin as a track & field athlete, and then I completed my undergrad at Texas State University, where I played football. I majored in microbiology and minored in chemistry.
Q: How did being a part of athletics at Texas State help prepare you for optometry school and for leadership in general?
A: There are several parallels between sports and life, so my sports experiences definitely take a huge amount of credit for many of my accomplishments. The importance of being coachable, of holding yourself accountable, and of exhibiting high effort and enthusiasm are just a few of the important life lessons I learned from sports. Being able to trust and believe in everyone on your team definitely helps lay the foundation for being a leader. Most importantly I realized how important it is to treat everyone on your team as the most valuable person to the organization, because they are.
Q: What is the AOSA, Easy, and how did your involvement with the organization begin?
A: The American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) is the premiere national student organization that represents 7,000+ optometry students from the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and it is an affiliate of the American Optometric Association (AOA). Our mission is to make sure every student not only becomes a great Doctor of Optometry while in school but that they are well on their way toward their dream careers after graduating.
I began as a trustee-elect with the AOSA here at UHCO at the end of my first year. In that role I shadowed our then-current Trustee (love you, Cory!) and worked on our national AOAPAC “Legucate Me” project team. I learned through that experience how important student voices are in legislative efforts. Additionally, I had the opportunity to contribute to our "Life of a Trustee" video introducing the AOSA to other aspiring Trustees. The video experience was awesome, especially after meeting students who shared that the video was their first opportunity to learn about the AOSA. This was just another example of how powerful student involvement is in the advancement of our profession.
Q: After your work as a trustee-elect, how did your AOSA involvement grow from there?
A: After my trustee-elect year I became a trustee in the AOSA. In this role, I was in charge of planning school events, voting on important issues at the national level on behalf of UHCO students, and disseminating information to our student body. I was then selected to be the National Social Media project team leader where I was able to work with an excellent team, developing AOSA projects to share with students nationwide.
One of the coolest opportunities I had as a trustee was to represent students on the AOA’s Telehealth Council and attend their summit in Washington, D.C., in December of 2021. Yet again, this involvement for me emphasized the importance of optometric students’ voices, and this time I could see this at work with optometric and healthcare industry leaders.
Q: What will be your duties as AOSA President?
A: Our Board of Trustees is comprised of 55 members, including 50 trustees and trustee-elects representing every school and college of optometry in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico and our five Executive Council members. I will get to represent the students’ collective voice and concerns on the national level through our advocacy efforts, with industry partners, on various AOA committees, and as a part of many other groups that reach students. As President, I will oversee various AOSA programs and events that take place throughout the year for students as well as be a part of speaking engagements at programs such as AOA on Capitol Hill and Optometry’s Meeting.
With the AOSA being an affiliate of the AOA, it is important that students are represented across the board, whether that is through our advocacy efforts, with state affiliates, or with other optometric groups. Students are the future of the profession, and as AOSA President, it will be my duty to ensure we are well represented and moving forward.
Q: Finally, Easy, how do you envision your role with AOSA – and as a UHCO student – enhancing the person you already are? How might this help prepare you for life as an OD after graduation?
A: My experiences with UHCO and AOSA have been so rewarding, and I envision more growth in my life as AOSA President. I know as a doctor I will be prepared to advocate for my patients and my profession with an amazing group of colleagues on whom I can depend.