One day, Jennifer Gould got it. Completely.
“I was being quizzed by one of my preceptors about a certain disease,” she recalls. “I’d never taken all of the basic science information and the clinical and pulled it together. He asked me a question and suddenly, all the threads came together and it made sense to me.”If Dr. Gould had been Oprah, she would have flung her arms wide and announced operatically, “Ahaaaa!” Instead, being a fourth-year student at SUNY Optometry at the time, she filed it away as a moment to return to again and again to help herself and others.
That was in 2013. Five years later, Dr. Gould is an assistant clinical professor at the College. Now, she uses that moment in fourth-year clinic to teach her students. “One of the advantages of being a recent alum is that I remember what it was like being a student. I remember what I struggled with and try to teach what I did to understand those things,” she says.
The story also symbolizes Dr. Gould’s journey to optometry: various threads that suddenly pulled together into one resonant aha. First, there was her desire to help people—a desire left unfulfilled in her initial career as a mechanical engineer. Thread number two: Dr. Gould believed that if she returned to school, it would only be at the very best place. “I wanted to make sure I got a good education and had a great clinical experience,” she says. “And where we are, in New York, means we get to work with an amazing cross-section of people. I knew it would be exceptional.”
From nearly day one as a student, Dr. Gould knew she wanted to teach. Today, she teaches Clinical Optometry 1 and 2 and portions of the Ocular Disease 2 course. In addition, she is service chief for Advanced Care, holding administrative duties to keep the service operating optimally.