Student Ambassadors | Optometry

Our Ambassadors provide all of the tours to prospective students and any other party requesting a tour of the campus. In addition to the tours, the Ambassadors help assist with first year orientation and the annual Career Day for undergraduates. 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 one of our student ambassadors. They will be happy to help you!

Class of 2019

Marisa Asheim

Third Year, President

Undergraduate Institution:
North Dakota State University,
Zoology Major

Mohall, ND

One reason I chose Pacific: "I chose Pacific because of the friendly, welcoming atmosphere I experienced during my Interview Day.  I fell in love with the beauty of the area, and knew I could thrive here.  Since starting classes, I've gained an entire family of supporters in the faculty, upperclassmen, and my classmates."

Hobbies: Some of my hobbies include watching TV and movies, reading, baking, and going to concerts.

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AMIGOS, Minnesota Optometric Association, Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, AOSA

Joel Baillargeon

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
University of Alberta - Saint-Jean Campus

Edmonton, AB

One reason I chose Pacific: "I chose Pacific due to its familial atmosphere and knowledgeable academic faculty. Another reason I chose Pacific was its relatively close distance to home."

Hobbies: Soccer, hockey, outdoor activities, video games and cooking

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, CAOS, SVC, NOSA

Goretti Chan

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
University of Washington,
Communication Major

Seattle, WA

One reason I chose Pacific: "Family vibe and the support I received during my interview day is truly what won me over."

Hobbies: I LOVE to bake desserts of all kinds and go exploring cities in search of amazing food. I love going to different restaurants and trying new things, so I definitely am a foodie! Currently in the midst of figuring out the french macaron recipe, having a 50% success ratio.

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, NOSA

Mari Fujimoto

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
Seattle University,
Biology Major

Mililani, HI

One reason I chose Pacific: "I felt at home, even on my interview day! The students, faculty, and ambassadors made me feel comfortable and welcomed instantly."

Hobbies: Anything outdoors, drawing, reading, and cooking.

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, NOSA

Dayna Hazlewood

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
University of Wyoming,
Physiology Major

Cheyenne, WY

One reason I chose Pacific: "I chose Pacific because of how welcoming the community, students and faculty are.  Everyone works together, and makes this program so much fun. It was an obvious choice to attend Pacific after visiting the campus and meeting so many great students, faculty and clinicians! I also love the small-town feel of Forest Grove while still being in the Portland-Metro area!"

Hobbies: Music, concerts, snowboarding, wakeboarding, hiking and eating at new Portland restaurants!

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AOSA, Sports Vision Club, AMIGOS

Anna Hetzer

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
University of Wisconsin - La Crosse,
Biology Major, French Minor

Waunakee, WI

One reason I chose Pacific: "One reason I chose Pacific was for the big green trees!"

Hobbies: Trail running, cooking, gardening, wine tasting (especially when it's paired with cheese), and travelling to new cities when I can! Professional chilling.

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

Ryan Kucala

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
Pacific University,
Biology/Vision Science Major

Portland, OR

One reason I chose Pacific: "I chose Pacific because of the overwhelming family like atmosphere shown by PUCO faculty, students, and alumni.  In addition, I was strongly attracted to the program due to the diverse clinical experience and well-rounded education, which will ultimately prepare me to provide patients with excellent care."

Hobbies: I enjoy doing outdoorsy things, weight training, basketball, reading, and trying new coffee shops.

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, Sports Vision Club

Malia Ma

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
Colorado State University,
Biology Major

Honolulu, HI

One reason I chose Pacific: "I feel Pacific will prepare me best for any optometric modality I choose. Also, I like Oregon! "

Hobbies: Eating (because food is life), surfing, snowboarding, hula and touring breweries!

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, FCO, Sports Vision club, AMIGOS

Ryan Ngo

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
Pacific University,
Chemistry Major

Portland, OR

One reason I chose Pacific: "I chose Pacific University because of the program’s outstanding academic reputation and wide range of clinical sites that serve the multicultural population around Portland, I was confident Pacific University would help me become an amazing service provider. As a Portlander, I enjoy meeting diverse people and learning about their cultures, which is exactly what this school offers."

Hobbies: I enjoy reading, sketching, messing around with electronics, learning random skills, outdoors, traveling, and meeting new people!

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, Practice Management Club, AMIGOS, NOSA, and VPI

Allie Ruehlen

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
Colorado State University,
Business Merchandising Major

Colorado Springs, CO

One reason I chose Pacific: "Aside from living in the beautiful state of Oregon, Pacific University was my first choice when selecting an optometry school due to its supportive environment and emphasis on community. The faculty, staff, and students have all been extremely helpful every step of the way."

Hobbies: Traveling, yoga, snowboarding, hiking, camping, cooking and spending time with my family and friends.

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AMIGOS

Katy Tan

Third Year

Undergraduate Institution:
University of British Columbia,
Biochemistry Major

Vancouver, BC

One reason I chose Pacific: "From interview day, I could see the tight-knit atmosphere in the interactions between faculty and students, as well as between students. I immediately felt welcomed to this community and felt drawn to the friendly people. I was also excited to stay along the west coast, and try all the different restaurants and food trucks in Portland!"

Hobbies: I like relaxing with yoga, colouring, and baking. Also, music is a passion of mine, especially playing the piano and singing!

Clubs/Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AMIGOS, NOSA

Class of 2020

Laura Becerra, Secretary

Second Year

Undergraduate institution: Oregon State University

Major: Biological Health Science

Hometown: Beaverton, OR

One reason I chose Pacific: Pacific University was an easy choice. Aside from being located in the Pacific Northwest where there is so much to do, the school has a great reputation, the students and staff are welcoming and genuinely helpful, and the campus is beautiful! After attending my interview day, my decision to attend this school was solidified. The students all work well together, respect each other, and support each other through this process we call optometry school. I couldn’t imagine having gone anywhere else.

Hobbies: Soccer, painting, Netflix, drinking coffee, playing board games

Clubs/Organizations: NOSA, Sports Vision Club

Shalini Chedi

Second Year

Undergraduate Institution: Pacific University

Major: Biology

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

One reason I chose Pacific: The opportunities provided for students to be active within the Forest Grove community is what I was and still am most excited about! 

Hobbies: I enjoy swimming, hiking, traveling, and dancing!   

Clubs / Organizations: AMIGOS, NOSA, Sports Vision Club, AOSA

Sergio Cruz

Second Year

Undergraduate Institution: University of Nevada

Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Hometown: Yerington, Nevada

One reason I chose Pacific: During my interview day my tour was led by a 2nd year ambassador, she made a simple comment that really stood out to me: "Pacific's Optometry program has a really tight bond within each other and if you were to come here to compete against your classmates, rather than to help them and become their friends, then you probably don't belong here."

Hobbies: Golfing, snowboarding, hiking, and anything else that keeps me outdoors.
Clubs/Organizations: Sports Vision Club, AMIGOS, Intramural Sports

Natalie Kulaga

Second Year

Undergraduate Institution: University of Nevada, Reno

Major: Biology

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the close-knit feel of the College of Optometry; it's like one big eye-loving family! Everybody is so friendly and willing to help be a part of your success; the faculty members are so committed to shaping us into exceptional clinicians for our future patients. 

Hobbies: Crafting, cooking, making ceramic creations on the pottery wheel, and eating!

Clubs/Organizations: NOSA, AOSA, AMIGOS

Helon Law

Second Year

Undergraduate institution: University of British Columbia

Major: Combined Major in Sciences

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific due to how apparent the welcoming and familial atmosphere was on my interview day, as well as for its very well-rounded didactic and clinical programs, especially with the broad approach that Pacific takes with optometry. As a bonus, I love the food scene and outdoorsy vibes of the Pacific Northwest!

Hobbies: Finding new restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries to try out; travelling, cooking (questionably), working out, hiking & other outdoor activities.

Clubs/Organizations: AMIGOS, AOSA, CAOS

Wanzhi Li

Second Year

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Irvine

Major: Cognitive Science

Hometown: Irvine, California

One reason I chose Pacific: Aside from the beautiful environment and Pacific’s strong academic and clinical program, my experience on the interview day is what blew me away! The thoughtful design of interview day activities and the welcoming faculties and ambassadors showed to me that Pacific goes above and beyond to provide and meet the needs of students!

Hobbies: Singing, drawing, hiking, running, participating in spicy food challenges, and checking out local museums, farmer’s markets and coffee shops.

Clubs/Organizations: Class Council, AMIGOS, NOSA 

Jeff Ness

Second Year

Undergraduate Institution: Pacific University

Major: Chemistry

Hometown: Stanwood, Washington

One reason I chose Pacific: After studying at Pacific for four years as an undergraduate, I really became acclimated to the family atmosphere of this community. I knew that this welcoming attitude would continue into the graduate program, which would allow me to feel right at home. Our studies at the College of Optometry are entirely important and getting to share everything with the optometry family just makes it that much more exciting.

Hobbies: Fishing and boating, playing with my dog in the backyard, family board game nights, trying to learn how to play a new song on the guitar, and much more!

Clubs/Organizations:  American Optometric Association, American Optometric Student Association, AMIGOS, Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, National Optometric Student Association (First-Year Representative), Optometric Physicians of Washington, Pacific Practice Management Group

Nadine Odermatt

Second Year

Undergraduate Institution: University of Calgary

Major: Biomedical Science Major, Honours

Hometown: Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

One reason I chose Pacific: Although I chose Pacific for numerous reasons, one of the biggest for me was the outstanding reputation that the school has built for itself, even throughout Canada! The OD program at Pacific has incredibly strong and diverse academics that are well-complimented by the school's tight-knit community of staff, students, and faculty. Pacific is known to attract very strong students who make skilled clinicians, and I wanted to be a part of that legacy! Other factors that contributed to my choice included its small class size, its gorgeous campus, its focus on attracting the very best people and future optometrists (rather than only the best students), its emphasis on community service, and of course its location in the beautiful state of Oregon!

Hobbies: Soccer, hiking, photography, cooking/baking, and being a lifelong Vancouver Canucks fan. 

Clubs/Organizations: Canadian Association of Optometry Students, Sports Vision Club, AOSA, Intramural Sports

Jett Scrimsher, President-Elect

Second Year

Undergraduate Institution: Brigham Young University

Major: Exercise Science

Hometown: Burbank, WA

One reason I chose Pacific: Outstanding school and it's close to home!

Hobbies: Hiking, sports, being active

Clubs/Organizations: AMIGOS, Sports Vision, Practice Management

Alexa Thavorn

Second Year

Undergraduate institution: California State University, Long Beach

Major: Health Science

Hometown: Aliso Viejo, CA

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of my experience on interview day, where I got to meet a great group of students and faculty. 

Hobbies: Reading, Eating, Volleyball, Netflix binge watch and watching movies!

Clubs/Organizations: AMIGOS, NOSA, Class of 2020 Entertainment Rep

Abby Timmerman

Second Year

Undergraduate institution: Ferris State University

Major: Biology Major

Hometown: Montague, MI

One reason I chose Pacific: Pacific was the clear choice for me because of the diversity in their clinics, the option to pursue a concurrent Master’s degree, and the beautiful the Pacific Northwest had me hooked from the beginning.

Hobbies: Running, snowboarding, wine tasting, hiking, and hunting.

Clubs/Organizations:  AOSA, Sports Vision Club and Pacific Practice Management Club

Shu Yi Wen

Second Year

Undergraduate institution: McGill University

Major: Anatomy and Cell Biology, Minor: Sociology

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

One reason I chose Pacific: When I first visited the campus, it was instantly clear that this is a high quality school, enclosed in a comfortable, small town. The faculty seemed extremely caring and knowledgeable. My undergraduate school was in a huge city so I thought this would be a nice change, so I can learn to live more independently from big-city conveniences. I love walking by all the roses every day when I go home from classes!

Hobbies: Long distance running, performing stand-up comedy, exploring Oregon, alternative rock, drawing and Starcraft.

Clubs / Organizations: CAOS, Pacific Practice Management Group

Class of 2021

Optometry Ambassador PhotoLucas Asfeld

First Year 

Undergraduate institution: University of Minnesota, Duluth

Hometown: Cold Spring, MN

One reason I chose Pacific: The main reason I chose Pacific was because of its outstanding clinical and academic reputation.  With that being said, I also wanted to make it a memorable life experience.  Attending Pacific University would allow me to move away from home and explore the amazing scenery, adventures, and culture the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  I knew this place could support both my academic and lifestyle goals and therefore made it an easy decision.

Hobbies: Intramurals, guitar, hiking, trying new foods and beverages, and anything that keeps me active and outdoors like hunting and fishing

Clubs / Organizations: Sports Vision Club, Intramurals, AMIGOS, Student Ambassadors, AOSA, FCO

Optometry Ambassador PhotoShelby Borstmayer

First Year

Undergraduate institution: University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Hometown: Bruno, Saskatchewan, Canada

One reason I chose Pacific: During my interview at Pacific I already felt like a member of the Pacific family. All the students I met were so nice and genuinely cared about you. After growing up in a small town similar to Forest Grove, during the short time I was here for my interview the town already felt like home! My decision was definitely the right one, as I have loved every experience as a member of the College of Optometry already!

Hobbies: Reading, Volleyball, Yoga, Fitness Classes, Hiking, Playing Board Games

Clubs / Organizations: Amigos, American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), National Optometric Student Association (NOSA), Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS), Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society (OWNS), Sports Vision Club, Student Ambassadors, Student Council

Optometry Ambassador PhotoChristina Goodrich

First Year

Undergraduate institution: Wheaton College, Illinois

Hometown: Meadow Vista, California

One reason I chose Pacific: Pacific’s atmosphere is extremely similar to that of my undergraduate institution. The students and faculty are dedicated to supporting and encouraging one another, and to serving communities in need, both locally and abroad.

Hobbies: Traveling, hiking, camping, rowing, skiing, and baking

Clubs / Organizations: AMIGOS, Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, Sports Vision Club, Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society

optometry Ambassador photoBrittany Hertz

First Year

Undergraduate institution: University of Alberta

Hometown: Medicine Hat, Alberta 

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose to attend Pacific because I always felt supported; from the application process to interview day and the first day of classes I felt at home and comfortable. The faculty, upperclassmen and fellow classmates are family and continue to go out of their way to make you feel supported and welcome! 

Hobbies: Cooking, reading, playing volleyball, and exploring all the coffee shops!

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, CAOS, Sports Vision Club, Amigos 

Optometry Ambassador PhotoMichelle Lee

First Year

Undergraduate institution: University of California, Davis

Hometown: Antioch, CA

One reason I chose Pacific: Other than getting to live in the beautiful state of Oregon, I chose Pacific University because the faculty and administration here have a wonderful and well-known reputation in supporting and nurturing the goals of their optometry students. And when I finally stepped onto campus for my interview I knew for sure that PUCO was the right fit for me. The intimate campus atmosphere and surrounding community really create the perfect environment for any optometry student.

Hobbies: Embroidery, catching concerts, binging shows, hiking, sightseeing, and foodie adventures

Clubs / Organizations: AMIGOS, California Optometric Association (COA), Class Council, Masters of Science in Vision Science Program, Oregon Optometric Physicians Association (OOPA), Pacific Practice Management Group (PPMG), Student Ambassador

optometry ambassador photoPavle Lozo

First Year 

Undergraduate institution: University of Calgary

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

One reason I chose Pacific: Like most who visit Pacific on interview day, I was intrigued by the tight-knit community feel. Everyone was extremely welcoming and helpful throughout the whole process, including faculty. It was apparent that academics were taken seriously, but not in the competitive manner that you may find during undergraduate studies. Also, I wanted to get away from the Canadian winter.

Hobbies: Soccer, watching all sports, going to the movies, trying new restaurants and traveling

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

optometry ambassador photoHope Lujan

First Year

Undergraduate institution: University of New Mexico

Hometown: Pflugerville, Texas

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of the amazing family atmosphere that I experienced during my interview day. The faculty and students here are very welcoming and are always ready to help. 

Hobbies: Reading, hiking, and hanging out with my cat

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AOSA, Sports Vision Club, AMIGOS, PPMG, and Class Council 

optometry student ambassadorMadison Meltebeke

First Year

Undergraduate institution: Pacific University

Hometown: Forest Grove, OR

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose PUCO because, along with the university's outstanding reputation, I knew I would have a home here. The campus is beautiful and energetic, and the students and faculty are warm and welcoming. I knew that at Pacific, I would be challenged and pushed to be the very best that I could be, while also being supported beyond measure.

Hobbies: Playing volleyball, cooking, playing with my French Bulldog Leopold, and spending time with friends/family

Clubs / Organizations: NOSA 1st year rep, Amigos, Fellowship of Christian Optometrists, Student Ambassador

Optometry Ambassador photoTroy Neilson

First Year

Undergraduate institution: MacEwan University

Hometown: Edmonton, AB

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because of how well I was treated throughout my interview process as an applicant, which has now extended into an overwhelming support from the students and faculty. In addition, Pacific has a strong academic and diverse clinical program that was very appealing to me in obtaining a well-rounded education to best prepare me to provide excellent patient care following graduation.

Hobbies: Basketball, Rugby, Football, Handball, Skiing, Snowboarding, Skating, Longboarding, Horseback Riding, Enjoying the Mountains, Yo-Yoing, Video Games, and Sleeping

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, Sports Vision Club, Student Council, Canadian Association of Optometry Students (CAOS), American Optometric Student Association (AOSA), Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO), and AMIGOS

optometry ambassador photoLily Sam

First Year

Undergraduate institution: Pacific University

Hometown: Portland, OR

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose it once before for its close-knit atmosphere and I chose Pacific again for the same reason. Camaraderie falls not only between peers but among students and faculty as well. Pacific's diverse academics and dedicated service to community easily solidified my decision.

Hobbies: Reading, crocheting, visiting museums, collecting handmade ceramic mugs, hiking, SUPing, being outside! 

Clubs / Organizations: Student Ambassadors, AOSA, NOSA, AMIGOS, Sports Vision Club

optometry ambassador photoJessica Tran

First Year

Undergraduate institution: University of California, Irvine

Hometown: Orange, California 

One reason I chose Pacific: I chose Pacific because I instantly felt at home here. Students and faculty were kind, warm and welcoming from the start. They made adapting to optometry school and to a new environment super easy. Although it has been a lot of work, I am enjoying every moment here so far. 

Hobbies: Netflix, seeing movies in the theater, karaoke, eating/finding new places to eat, volunteering 

Clubs / Organizations: SOA (President Elect), Class Council (Equipment Rep), AMIGOS, Sports Vision Club, NOSA, AOSA, California Optometric Association, OOPA, COVD, Student Ambassadors