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HomeminewsUNSW Awards Top Achievers

UNSW Awards Top Achievers

From left: Dr Vinod Maseedupally (UNSW) with one of the mivision prize winners, Karuna Darvesh and her parents.

The highest-achieving students of optometry from University of New South Wales School of Optometry and Vision Sciences were recently recognised at the Class of 2022 Graduation Dinner and Annual Prize Giving in Cockle Bay, Sydney.

The awards event followed the conferral of degrees in the Master of Clinical Optometry together with Bachelor of Vision Science, Graduate Certificate of Ocular Therapeutics, Graduate Diploma in Orientation and Mobility, and PhD students.

Professor Lisa Keay, Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science, noted that the graduates had completed “the largest optometry program in Australia which is also renowned internationally – recently ranked as number two globally for research output, only behind UC Berkeley”.

While “electing to not talk about a certain pandemic”, she acknowledged “an era of massive change” and “tremendous opportunities in university education”.

These changes have included the shift from semesters to trimesters, learning online, taking exams from home, and artificial intelligence with ChatGPT.

“There is certainly never a dull moment, and it is my firm belief that through this incredibly disruptive change, we have arrived together at a more futuristic and collaborative model of tertiary education,” Professor Keay said.

Award Winners

The Stage 1 Optics Prize, donated by Transitions Optical (Essilor): Rui Liu.

The Stage 2 Clinical Optometry Prize, donated by BOC Ophthalmic Instruments: Emily Field and Josie Wehbe.

The Stage 3 Ocular Diseases Prize, donated by Essilor: Yi Wei.

The Stage 3 Environmental Optometry and Dispensing Prize donated by UVEX Safety: Rachel Lau.

The CooperVision Prize in Contact Lenses: Helen Lin.

The Optometry NSW/ACT Prize in Ocular Therapeutics, donated by Optometry Australia NSW/ACT: Vivian Tran.

The Australasian College of Behavioural Optometrists Prize in Binocular and Children’s Vision: Julia Ho.

The Dr Andrew Whatham Prize for Stage 5 Centre for Eye Health Clinical Excellence, donated by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT: Madeline Crow.

The Designs for Vision Prize for the Best Overall Performance throughout the Bachelor of Vision Science Master of Clinical Optometry Program in Primary Care Optometry: Madeline Crow.

The Research Project Prize in Master of Clinical Optometry, donated by Optometric Vision Research Foundation: Madeline Crow and Alexandra Clark.

The Luxottica Prize for the Best Performance in Clinical Ocular Therapeutics: Alexandra Clark.

The Specsavers Award for Excellence in Patient Management: Jack Choy.

The Specsavers Prize for Overall Excellence in the Bachelor of Vision Science Master of Clinical Optometry Program: Lina Shen.

The University Medal: Lina Shen.

The mivision Prize in Recognition of Excellence in Social Engagement: Karuna Darvesh and Leona Ngo.

The Australian College of Optometry Award for a new graduate: Johnson Tran.

The Postgraduate Ocular Therapeutics Prize, donated by Luxottica: Kin Pong Chan.

The Brian Kirby Prize for Research Excellence in Optometry for the Doctoral Student in Optometry with the Best Thesis: Ngozi Charity Chidi-Egboka.

The Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Prize for Excellence in The Graduate Diploma in Orientation and Mobility program: Joshua Radford and Emily Doherty.

Motivating Force

Karuna Darvesh, President of the 2022 Optometry Society Executive Committee and a recipient of the mivision Prize in Recognition of Excellence in Social Engagement said she was “truly honoured and humbled” to be chosen as a recipient of the prestigious award.

Ms Darvesh, who is now practising at Specsavers, said the award had motivated her “to continue making a positive impact in the community and beyond”.

“I am committed to upholding the values and principles it represents, and I promise to continue using my skills and knowledge to make a positive difference in the lives of those I serve.”