College of Optometry student Katie Bozner was Miss Los Angeles County in 2017. She is helping a patient at Children’s Hospital of Orange County feel like a queen for a day.

Tell us more about your background, highlights, things that you are really proud of, anything that you really want to share.

I plan to specialize in pediatrics to be able to work in a children’s hospital or in visual therapy to help patients who have suffered traumatic brain injury. I am so proud to be following in my father’s footsteps of being an Optometric Physician. I have chosen this career path for a few reasons, the first being that medicine, and specifically the complexity of the human eye, has always intellectually stimulated me.  Secondly, I look forward to joining my father in his optometric practices. Finally, my desire to be a Doctor of Optometry was born on Dec. 3, 2014 when I was in the first of two major car accidents involving semi- trucks. I received a traumatic brain injury and was diagnosed with Post Concussive Syndrome along with other major medical injuries. As part of my recovery, I was a patient in a Traumatic Brain Injury Visual Therapy program. It was here that I experienced first-hand as a patient the benefit from the care of an optometrist and the difference they can make in someone’s life.

In my spare time, I work to bring awareness to the need for finding a cure for childhood cancer and have volunteered 300 hours at over 50 children’s hospitals, I love being able help make the hospital stay better for each child by helping the children feel like kings and queens for the day. I bring the little girls in the children’s hospital a crown and a princess sash and for the boys I bring them a crown and a cape. I want to help the children experience what it is like to have their own crowning moment. I won Miss Los Angeles County in 2017, and with that title I was able to work with amazing charity organizations such as Make a Wish, Starlight Children’s Foundation, The Tim Tebow Night to Shine Prom, The Miss Amazing pageant (for special needs children), and many other charity organizations.

Why did you choose the profession of optometry?

Watching my father all these years as an optometrist inspired me to become an optometrist. By choosing a career as an optometrist I will be able to help the world with eye health and influence other young boys and girls to pursue their educational goals is what keeps me motivated while studying countless hours in optometry school. I will continue to work hard until I can finally live out my childhood dream of becoming a doctor and even hope to one day be one of the featured eye doctors on the hit television show “The Doctors” talking all things eye care related. I want to be a positive role model especially to young girls entering the science field that you can be anything you choose to be in life with hard work and dedication.

College of Optometry student Katie Bozner visits Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Long Beach, giving a patient a superhero gift bag.

What are your passion projects?

Being an optometry student, I want to be able to reach as many children as I can to help them with their vision. I also want to be able to travel to underprivileged countries and provide eye care health to those in need. Giving the gift of sight is one of the most valuable gifts and I want to be able to help as many children as I can. One of my biggest goals with optometry is to be a positive influence in my community and inspiring young women and men to follow their education goals.

I also want to partner up with Mattel because they made an “Optometrist Barbie” and I want to show young girls that the doll you play with as a child (the optometrist Barbie) can come to life with and dream, hard work, and education.

What is the last thing that really moved you – happy, excited, tears of joy, or any emotion?

Visiting children in the hospital. Seeing the smiles on the children’s face when they became prince and princesses is one of the most magical experiences. Helping other people, and giving them your time makes me feel very thankful for my career choice in that I will be able to help people every day.

Do you have any tips on how you are adapting to social distancing, online learning, working off campus, caring for patients amid this pandemic? Helpful tips are appreciated by all.

Meditation has been very helpful. Zoom and Microsoft teams have been helpful for study groups and virtual get together. Mental health is very important factor, so finding a balance in life is essential to help us get through this pandemic.

What have you done recently to leave your mark on the world around you? An act of kindness? Large or small, please share?