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Elyse Rayborn, OD September Spotlight

elyse rayborn ODDr. Elyse Rayborn, OD- Southern College of Optometry and Boise State Alumni

Elyse Rayborn graduated from Boise State University in May 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science Studies with a Science emphasis and a minor in Biology.  She then made her way to Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee, where she graduated with her Optometry Doctorate (OD) in 2020. She is currently completing a 2-year residency in Primary Care at the Southern College of Optometry with an MBA from Christian Brothers University. She plans to finish with her residency and MBA and then will be staying at the Southern College of Optometry as a full-time faculty member.

Do you think Boise State prepared you for Optometry school?

Optometry school is structured very differently than an undergraduate program. The rigor of my upper division classes – genetics, immunology, biochemistry, etc. – was on par with the hard sciences I took post-grad.

What resources did you use at Boise State to prepare you for Optometry school?

My experience really came from outside Boise State. I worked for 3 years in private practice optometry before applying to optometry school. As far as Boise State resources, I attended my classes and labs and I met fairly regularly with my advisor.

What were 3 of your extracurriculars?

I was a non-traditional student. My extracurriculars included a husband, 2 small children, and a full-time job.

What do you wish you would have known before becoming an Optometry student?

There will never be enough time in the day to get everything done. You need to learn to work smarter, not harder.

What would you tell yourself now knowing what you know now about applying to your professional school?

It is important to look impressive on paper, but you have to be able to back it up in person. Practice for interviews, make connections, and follow up any encounters with an email or a thank you note.

What is it like being a professional / student during a pandemic?

Clinical care has been challenging over the past 2 years. The guidelines are constantly changing, patients don’t necessarily want to adhere to safety protocols, etc. Masks make things seem very impersonal and they make exams more difficult and time-consuming. They can also interfere with patient communication. Then there’s the constant stress of exposures or potential exposures. I am grateful that we have been able to continue in-person patient care, but we are all experiencing a fair amount of pandemic fatigue. 

What do you think was the most important experience you had at Boise State?

Boise State offered the courses required to apply for optometry school.

What are you most grateful for:

I had fantastic mentors, Dr. Shawn Sorenson and Dr. Aaron Warner at Eagle Vision One, who offered guidance and support on my optometry school journey. I modeled who I am as a doctor based on their example. I have been and continue to be successful because of the lessons and values they taught me.

What are you reading right now?

McLaughlin and Kaluzny’s Continuous Quality Improvement in Health Care

Would you like to talk with Elyse more about her experiences? If so, please contact Erin Colburn.