Student Ambassadors | Optometry

Our Ambassadors provide tours to prospective students and other visitors. In addition to the tours, the Ambassadors assist with the interview days and orientation. They also work very closely with the Admissions office in providing an invaluable resource for prospective students.

If you would like to speak with a current student about their experience applying to or choosing Pacific University College of Optometry, you are invited to contact them direclty. They will be happy to help you! You can also follow the College of Optometry on Instagram @pacificuoptometry!

Class of 2022

Optometry Ambassador Photo

Lindsey Belthoff

Second Year
belt0755@pacificu.edu 

Undergraduate Institution: Washington State University
Hometown: Boise, Idaho

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because I felt welcomed and comfortable from the first time I stepped on campus for my interview! I could immediately tell that the Optometry program here really cares about the well-being and success of each of their students and that they provide support throughout the process. Pacific has such a great reputation for academics and community outreach, and I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of!

Hobbies: Trying new restaurants, playing with my dog, cooking, crafting, watching Netflix/Hulu, and cheering on the WSU Cougs! 

Clubs / Organizations: NOSA, AOSA, Vision Therapy Club, Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador Photo

Peter Blink, President

Second Year
blin0746@pacificu.edu 

Undergraduate Institution: University of Oregon
Hometown: San Jose, California

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because it was the only school I visited where I could envision myself as a student on campus. Plus, having several different clinics with unique patients and requirements at each one means I'll get plenty of experience in a multitude of different practices.

Hobbies: Running, cycling, skiing, driving, watching sports (Go Ducks!) 

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, Amigos, Sports Vision Club, PPMGStudent Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador Photo

Duyen Cao

Second Year
cao9642@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Hometown: Fresno, California

One reason I chose Pacific: Aside from being in the beautiful PNW, I chose Pacific because of the immediate sense of camaraderie I felt among the students and faculty on the day of my interview. It's true when we say we're all here to help and support each other. From the application process, through interview day, and now in school, I know I have an amazing support system behind me.

Hobbies: I enjoy traveling, trying new food, hiking, Netflix, and loving on doggos.

Clubs / Organizations: AMIGOS, AOSA, California Optometric Association, NOSA, PPMG, Vision Therapy Club, Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoKyle Degman

Second Year
degm8152@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: George Fox University
Hometown: Beaverton, OR

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the amazing work that we do in serving the less fortunate population and giving back. That is what working in the health field is really about.

Hobbies: Long distance running, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, dirt bike riding, fishing, ping-pong

Clubs / Organizations: Vision Therapy Club, Sports Vision Club, Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoElena Dyck

Second Year
dyck0228@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: University of Saskatchewan
Hometown: Saskatoon, Canada

One reason I chose Pacific: The Community Outreach program!

Hobbies: Watercolor painting, sketching, ukulele, photography

Clubs / Organizations: CAOS, PPMG, Amigos, Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoAndrew Elm, Optometry Graduate Assistant

Second Year
elmdrew@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: University of Utah
Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific not only because of it’s outstanding academic reputation but also because of the location. We have mountains and beaches right in our backyard, and that is something only Pacific can offer. 

Hobbies: Snowboarding, cycling, surfing, wakeboarding, hiking, watching The Office on repeat, eating ice cream daily

Clubs / Organizations: Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society (OWNS), Sports Vision Club, Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoAmy Neideffer

Second Year
neid7387@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Hometown: Loomis, California

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the supportive community atmosphere I experienced at my interview day, as well as the variety of clinical opportunities for students and great academic reputation. I also loved that the school is in the Pacific Northwest which has such gorgeous scenery and tons to do!

Hobbies: Music, reading, hiking, Netflix, baking

Clubs / Organizations: Amigos, AOSA, FCO, Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoAnita Nguyen

Second Year
anitanguyen@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: University of Washington
Hometown: Seattle, Washington

One reason I chose Pacific: On my interview day, it was clear that faculty members and students have so much love and respect for the program at Pacific. I knew instantly that this could be my home away from home and everything just fell into place after that. Being born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I couldn't be happier with my decision!

Hobbies: Traveling, going to concerts, watching musicals, hiking, playing board games

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, AMIGOS, Sports Vision Club, Vision Therapy Club, Class Council (Equipment Rep), Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador Photo

Chi Nguyen

Second Year
nguy2428@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: San Diego State University
Hometown: San Diego, California

One reason I chose Pacific: My prospective student experience from start to finish with Pacific left me in awe of the transparent support and genuine welcome I received from interactions with faculty and students. Not only that, the extensive community outreach the college is involved in aligned with my values, which made my transition from a big city much easier. Being able to live in the luscious trees and waterfalls of the Pacific North West is a huge plus!

Hobbies: Spending hours at the beach running, surfing, and catching sunsets. Climbing, hiking, and exploring the great outdoors- anything fitness related!

Clubs / Organizations: Sports Vision Club, AMIGOS, NOSA, AOSAStudent Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoJasmin Rakhra

Second Year
jasminrakhra@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: Simon Fraser University
Hometown: Burnaby, British Columbia

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose to attend Pacific University because I instantly felt comfortable and welcomed from the first minute of interview day. It was very apparent how collaborative and supportive the faculty and students were. PUCO is known for its great academic reputation, diversity in clinical opportunities and outreach program. Plus, there are lots of study spots and the campus is beautiful! 

Hobbies: I enjoy traveling, volunteering, baking, yoga and going to the gym!

Clubs / Organizations: CAOS 2nd Year Representative, PPMGStudent Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoMonika Stamberg

Second Year
stam9657@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: Boston University
Hometown: San Jose, California

One reason I chose Pacific: Pacific stood out to me as a school that really cared about the well-being of the students. Out of all the schools I applied to and interviewed at, the feel that PUCO gave me was of a school that not only wanted their students to succeed as clinicians but also as people. All the faculty, staff and students are approachable in this manner and I'm so happy to be attending PUCO.

Hobbies:  Paint, ski, teach/attend yoga classes and exploring the local food options!

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, NOSA, Student Ambassadors

Optometry Ambassador PhotoErica Tebon

Second Year
etebon@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: Carroll University
Hometown: Dubuque, Iowa

One reason I chose Pacific: The emphasis on their Outreach programs and giving back to the community!

Hobbies: Hiking, yoga, trying new foods, cooking

Clubs / Organizations: Amigos, NOSA, Student Ambassadors

Class of 2023

optometry ambassador photoSarah Behles, Secratary

First Year
behl4959@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate Institution: North Dakota State University
Major: Biological Sciences
Hometown: Garrison, North Dakota

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific University because I immediately felt like part of a family. Coming from a small town, it was important for me to have a close-knit feel with classmates and faculty. I also liked how Pacific was involved in the community and outreach programs.  

Hobbies: Hiking, volleyball, yoga, running- anything outdoor or fitness related, music, spending time with friends and family

Clubs / Organizations: AMIGOS, American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), National Optometric Student Association (NOSA), Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) Club, Student Ambassadors
 

Optometry Ambassador PhotoThuy Xuan Dang

First Year
dang7028@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of Washington
MajorBiochemistry, Biology (Physiology)
Hometown: Burien, Washington

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because to me, what Pacific can offer extends beyond a strong, reputable clinical and academic program. It offers a nurturing environment where I feel comfortable to be vulnerable in the process of cultivating myself into a well-rounded person and clinician. Everyone here really goes above and beyond in ensuring your success!

Hobbies: Budget-friendly shopping, Netflix binge watching, gift-wrapping, music

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AOA, AOSA, Pacific Practice Management Group, OPW
 

optometry ambassador photoMelissa Davies

First Year
davi5716@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionGonzaga University
MajorPsychology
Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the welcoming and familial atmosphere that stood out to me when compared to other schools. I also loved Pacific because of the communal fascination for eyeballs and how passionate everyone seemed about their education here. The long-standing traditions at Pacific show how successful they are at producing great doctors and I love being a part of that.

Hobbies: Hiking, singing, yoga and finding interesting music to jam to

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassador, American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), National Optometric Student Association (NOSA), Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) Club, AMIGOS
 

optometry ambassador photoAlecia Diede

First Year
died4733@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of North Dakota
Major: Biology
Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the supportive and encouraging atmosphere I experienced during my interview day. This close-knit family is warm and welcoming, and created a perfect home away from home.

Hobbies: Drawing, painting, reading, exploring local coffee shops, and playing with my pug!

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, OWNS, Student Ambassadors 
 

Optometry Ambassador Photo

Lupita Gomez

First Year
gome1930@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of Washington; Washington State University - Tri-Cities
MajorBA Spanish Literature (UW); BS Biology (WSU-TC) 
Hometown: Mabton, WA

One reason I chose Pacific: When I visited Pacific early in exploring optometry schools I felt connected to this school's environment overall. As I progressed through the application process I communicated with Graduate Admissions a lot because I had so many questions as a post-bachelor student and I always felt like my questions were welcomed. Pacific has a way of looking at me as an individual and making it feel like it's a team effort to be successful in the program which I feel is really important when pursuing higher education. 

Hobbies: Running, going on walks, singing, hiking, dancing, shopping  

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, Amigos, Sports Vision, NOSA, AOSA
 

Optometry Ambassador PhotoDrew Hargrove

First Year
harg4989@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
MajorBiology
Hometown: Sparks, NV

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because I felt welcomed and comfortable here. I feel that the College of Optometry is one big family, and I know that everyone here has a desire to see everyone succeed.

Hobbies: Golf, skiing, naps

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AMIGOS, Sports Vision Club, Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society (OWNS)

Optometry Ambassador PhotoErica Lei, President-Elect

First Year
lei4993@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of Alberta
MajorBiological Science
Hometown: Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada 

One reason I chose Pacific: Starting from the interview day, you could tell how welcoming and encouraging everybody is. All the students from different years support and are friends with each other. The faculty makes different resources and services easily accessible on campus so you immediately know where to go for support. 

Hobbies: Cooking/baking, playing piano, hiking, trying all the new foods, intramurals, sleeping

Clubs / Organizations: CAOS, OWNS, AOA, AOSA, Student Ambassadors, AMIGOS
 

Optometry ambassador photoJulia Loeppky

First Year
gmei4759@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionSeattle University
MajorBiology
Hometown: Spokane, WA

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of their strong focus on service to their local community and around the world. It has also been a community that has made me feel so welcomed and cared for, reminding me much of home.

Hobbies: Hiking, playing board games, reading, dancing, trying new foods

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, NOSA, AMIGOS and Student Ambassadors
 

Optometry ambassador photoAvisa Mohammad-Hassani

First Year
moha4960@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionSimon Fraser University
MajorKinesiology
Hometown: Coquitlam, British Colombia 

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the support and care I received from the very beginning from the Faculty, the staff and the students. It is great to see that PUCO wants us to not only succeed as Optometry students but also to take care of our health and well-being. Pacific has a great outstanding reputation, provides many great clinical opportunities, and the campus is very beautiful! 

Hobbies: Traveling, exercising, hiking, music, reading, eating/trying new places to eat, and spending time with family/friends

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, CAOS, PPMG, Sports Vision Club, Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS), Student Ambassadors 
 

Optometry Ambassador Photo

Artin Monghate

First Year
mong2699@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of Washington, Seattle 
MajorGeneral Biology
Hometown: Camas, Washington

One reason I chose Pacific: What stood out to me about Pacific was the environment of genuine care and support created by all of the faculty and students. Coming from a large university, I yearned to a part of an institution that cared about each student and supported their educational journeys. Now being a student here, I feel that level support every time I step onto campus and it is one of my favorite things about this university. 

Hobbies: Community service, youth empowerment, playing/watching basketball, spending time with family, meditation, and anything related to coffee

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, Student Ambassadors, Sports Vision Club, AMIGOS, Ocular Wellness & Nutrition Club

 

Optometry Ambassador PhotoHelene Pippin

First Year
pipp4995@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of Minnesota 
MajorBiology
Hometown: Williston, North Dakota

One reason I chose Pacific: One thing that really set Pacific apart, and was also very important to me, was the welcoming and positive environment on campus. Everyone I interacted with before, during, and after my interview day were always so kind and helpful. Pacific also has a strong commitment to serving the community, which was also very important to me.

Hobbies: Hanging out with friends, yoga, traveling, and hiking

Clubs / Organizations: AOSA, Student Ambassadors, AMIGOS, Professional Student Senate
 

Optometry Ambassador PhotoDespina Velanis

First Year
vela4319@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno 
Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Minden, Nevada

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the "open door" policy of the faculty and after my interview, I felt that the professors were welcoming unlike any I have ever experienced before. 

Hobbies: Hiking, cooking, fitness, and softball! 

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society (OWNS)

 

Optometry Ambassador PhotoJessica Vo

First Year
vo7033@pacificu.edu

Undergraduate InstitutionOregon State University
Major: BioHealth Sciences with an option in Pre-Optometry
Hometown: Portland, OR 

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the community base here; I have felt supported by the faculty and other students from the moment I stepped foot on the campus. It doesn't hurt that this is also a beautiful campus, in a great place- with Portland nearby, there are all types of food to choose from, the nature is beautiful, and the people here are great! 

Hobbies: Hiking, sleeping, Netflix, eating, and hanging out with friends and family

Clubs / Organizations: Class Council (Vice-President), AMIGOS, NOSA, ASOA, Contact lens club