The AOSA Executive Council, from left, Secretary Jodi Baker of UAB, President Andy Mackner of Pacific University, Vice President Melissa Zaleski of Nova Southeastern and Treasurer Jon Beeson of Inter American University of Puerto Rico.

Four new officers for the American Optometric Student Association (AOSA) Executive Council began their terms at the April 2017 Transition meeting in St. Louis:

  • President Andy Mackner, Pacific University College of Optometry (Forest Grove, OR)  from Pelican Rapids, MN, the 50th student to serve as president of the AOSA. Mackner graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Concordia University (Moorhead, MN) prior to starting at Pacific University College of Optometry. During his time as Trustee, Mackner served as Advocacy committee chair and AOA-PAC National Liaison. In addition to his AOSA responsibilities, Mackner founded, organized and lead two trips to Tanzania to provide vision care services.
  • Vice President Melissa Zaleski, Nova Southeastern University School of Optometry.  Originally from Lewisburg, PA, Zaleski holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biobehavioral Health from Penn State University.  As a member of the AOSA Board of Trustees, Zaleski lead the Membership Committee.  Recently, she has joined the Board for Women in Optometry as the first student member to hold this position.  Along with her Optometric studies, Zaleski is concurrently attaining a Masters in Public Health. Her passion for public health is demonstrated in her work as Project Director of the “Tiger Eye Project”, which promotes visual health among children who have traumatic cataracts in India.
  • Treasurer Jon Beeson, Inter American University Puerto Rico College of Optometry. Originally from Payson, AZ, Beeson holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Arizona State University.
  • Secretary Jodi Baker, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Originally from Huntsville, AL, Baker holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences from Auburn University.

The four were elected at the conclusion of the annual Board of Trustees meeting in San Diego CA, where 47 trustees, representing each of the schools and colleges of optometry, convened Jan. 4-8, 2017.

The AOSA represents more than 7,100 students attending the 24 schools and colleges of optometry throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Each school has a unique AOSA chapter which works hard to represent the interests of students and the profession of optometry.  The AOSA is the largest affiliate of the American Optometric Association and represents 95 percent of optometry students in the United States. Each school is represented on the AOSA Board by a Trustee and Trustee-Elect.

Duties of the Executive Council:

President

The President works with the Executive Council and the Executive Director to advise the Board of Trustees, appoint committee chairpersons and National Liaisons, and facilitate the development of programs to benefit the association and its members. The President represents this organization at affiliated meetings and serves as National Liaison to the National Board of Examiners in Optometry.

Vice President

The Vice President assumes the function of the President in the event of the President’s failure or inability to perform the duties of office. The VP communicates directly with committee chairs appointed by the President and is directly responsible for these committees to the President and Council. The VP also serves as Parliamentarian at Board of Trustees’ meetings, along with preparing the agenda and arranging for speakers to address the Board of Trustees’ Meetings at the Annual Conference and Midyear Planning meeting. The VP calls for reports from the Trustees and Liaisons for the two annual meetings, and serves as the National Liaison to the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO).

Secretary

The Secretary is responsible for keeping accurate records of the minutes, voting, and policies of the Board of Trustees and Executive Council. In conjunction with the Executive Director, the Secretary serves as the editor of Foresight, the national optometric student publication. Communication between the Trustees and the Executive Council is maintained by the Secretary. As the chair of the Website Committee, the Secretary is also responsible for maintenance of the website.

Treasurer

The Treasurer’s main responsibilities include co-signing checks, making necessary changes to the budget, coordinating benefit acquisitions, confirming that benefits have been received, and setting up regularly scheduled conference calls. Furthermore, the Treasurer maintains industry relations while trying to secure new benefits and sponsorship. The Treasurer is also the chair of the Benefits Committee and tallies the results of the benefits survey.

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