Jason Drobeck, OD ’15, graduated from Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Optometry in 2015. After graduation, he worked part time at three offices in the Victor Valley with Dr. Steven Wallis, Dr. James Dallas and Dr. Jaehoon Lee. He then moved to Connecticut and worked at Gold Coast Eye Associates. In 2018, he opened Linn County Vision Center in Albany, Oregon.
What inspires you to give?
I was the first in my family to obtain a graduate school degree. I did not come from a wealthy family, and ensured I lived frugally while going through college and graduate school. I applied for many grants and scholarships, and was honored to receive a few throughout my education. But I found that the pool of scholarships available at the time was somewhat limited.
Donors of scholarships should set criteria for their gifts based on what they’re passionate about, and have every right to make the criteria whatever they choose. That said, many of the scholarships I found during my search had criteria I did not meet. Reasons ranged from being the wrong gender, to not having enough community service hours, to not having a background in sports. My experience finding the right scholarships for myself inspired me to found my own in order to expand opportunities for students to receive financial aid. I based my criteria only on GPA and an essay explaining one’s vision for their future career.
Have you ever been the recipient of a donation? Share the details of that donation.
I was honored to receive three scholarships while in undergrad: A Walmart scholarship, a scholarship from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the High Desert Federal Credit Union Scholarship from my hometown. I also received the Volk Lens Award in 2012 and Marchon Practice Management Award in 2015. The process of applying for and receiving these awards myself certainly inspired me to found my own scholarship later.
Is your giving inspired by someone or something in particular? Please share about your unique inspiration.
WesternU alumni Drs. Vipal Gandhi and Kambiz Silani established a WesternU scholarship for students before I founded mine, which further inspired me to found my own. I believe if more WesternU alumni find themselves in a financially stable situation and have a passion to give, a little bit from multiple sources really adds up.
What message would you use to inspire others to give? How has giving enhanced your own life? Any recipients that really moved you?
Remember the financial difficulties you faced as a student. Tuition and the cost of living is high in grad school, and every extra bit of aid helps. But if you’re like me and in a financially stable situation since obtaining your degree, what seems like a small donation at this time would have seemed like a lot in your past. It doesn’t matter the amount you choose to give. But it is very rewarding to both the giver and the recipient.
What would you like the recipients of your gift to know?
Remember the content of the essay you wrote to be awarded this gift (In your career, what services or innovations do you plan to provide for your community and/or the profession of optometry?). Consider my gift a small investment in your future, and become an excellent health care provider. I can’t look at my own peripheral retina, and I’ll need a good optometrist when I get old.