Pacific Optometry Alumna Tawnya Pastuck Publishes Her First Children’s Book

Cover of Buddy Gets His First Pair of GlassesA child’s first eye doctor visit can be nerve-wracking.

That’s why Pacific University alumna Tawnya Pastuck ’02, OD ’06 wrote Buddy Gets His First Pair of Glasses, her first children’s book. The picture book features her two rescue dogs, Buddy and Cody, and their adventure to the eye doctor.

“Sight is such a sensitive and important sense. Most people feel squeamish about touching their eyes or putting contact lenses in, but with children that feeling is amplified,” Pastuck said. “Telling them that it’s going to be okay and using a dog character to tamp down some of that anxiety helps.”

Pastuck first tried to self-publish the book through Amazon, but the process proved more difficult than she had hoped. Then, Pacific’s College of Optometry Dean Jennifer Coyle ’90, OD ’93, MS ’00 put her in contact with Bee Tree Books.

One of Pacific University Libraries’ publishing services, Bee Tree publishes books written by Pacific community members or those directly affiliated with the university. The imprint’s name is inspired by the legend of an old, ivy-covered tree that stood on what would become the Pacific campus when pioneer Tabitha Brown arrived in Oregon in 1846. According to a local newspaper, the tree housed “a swarm of bees” who furnished Brown with honey, which she sold to buy provisions for orphaned children. Her orphanage was the predecessor of Pacific University.

“Similar to the ways in which Tabitha Brown provided for those children, I see Bee Tree offering opportunities for authors we work with to share their knowledge and creative work — and to have it be cared for by giving it a perpetual life through publication and preservation as a book,” said Isaac Gilman, Dean of University Libraries.  

“It was such an easy and smooth process,” Pastuck said of her experience with Bee Tree Books. “I sent Isaac the files, and he facilitated everything. Within a few short months it was beautifully published.”

Part of Bee Tree’s mission is to expand free access to knowledge, and so most of its publications are available digitally for free. Pastuck’s book can be downloaded here or as a Kindle book on Amazon. Print copies can be ordered through Bee Tree Books.

Pastuck’s book is the outgrowth of her love of children and animals, as well as her dedication to eye health and vision. She has worked for Johnson & Johnson Vision for the nearly 9 years, beginning as a research optometrist on material for contact lenses.

She now educates Johnson & Johnson employees on the clinical and technical aspects of contact lenses and eye health. She has written a curriculum about optical health that has been translated into 10 different languages and distributed globally. Pastuck also developed a certification test to ensure customer-facing employees can properly serve their clients.

Passionate about community service, Pastuck volunteers at Lions Eye Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., at least once a month, seeing people of all ages and giving eye exams to those in need. An animal lover, she also co-chairs the nonprofit Comfort For Animals Inc.

“Pacific equipped me with the tools and started me on the path of community service. The university instilled the values [of community service] into me as a student, and I’ve continued to carry them on after graduation,” she said. “Pacific really blessed me, and I want give back to the community because of it.”

May. 2, 2018