Outstanding student shortlisted for student of the year

High flier: Raven Sinnathamby

A University of Portsmouth optometry student who encourages her classmates to spend extra time practising in labs and to join student societies has been shortlisted as a national Student of the Year.

Raven Sinnathamby joined the University’s first Master of Optometry course when it launched in 2016, and is now in her third year.

She was shortlisted for the Association of Optometrists Awards by an expert panel for showing initiative and drive, a passion for the profession and evidence of being an optical leader of the future.

The winner will be chosen by public vote, which closes on December 12, and the winner announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony in London on January 13, 2019.

Raven said: “The Association of Optometrists Awards are prestigious and I am so grateful to have been shortlisted from fellow students and pre-registration optometrists from other universities that offer well-established optical courses in the UK.

“As part of the first optometry cohort at the University of Portsmouth, I am honoured to be representing the small group of students in our relatively new course.

“I was always involved on campus during my undergraduate studies and I knew I wanted to continue this in my optometry course.”

She has held various positions, including student representative on both the Association of Optometrists and the College of Optometrists.

“Because our course is new, we’ve become close-knit and often attend industry events together. I’ve also found I’m able to help those who are new to university studies, and classmates can depend on me to understand a concept, provide missed notes, or stay behind and practice with them after labs have ended.”

Raven’s tips for first-year students are to get involved, review lecture notes every day, and take advantage of extra time practising in the labs.

“We are really fortunate at Portsmouth to have the opportunity to practice clinical skills in our lab outside of class time. This comes in handy in preparation for practical assessments and simply just perfecting your skills for your future profession.

“Your university experience is what you make it, so I encourage students to get involved in various societies and clubs, including our own Optometry Society, to apply for representative positions as well as attending industry events such as 100% Optical.”

After qualifying, Raven hopes to work in either a high street practice or a hospital optometry department and, alongside, to volunteer with a not-for-profit organisation that provides eye care to those in need.

Association of Optometrists chief executive, Henrietta Alderman, said: “The awards give us the chance to celebrate everyday excellence and outstanding achievement in optics and the 2019 shortlist has once again demonstrated how hard our colleagues across the profession work. I hope that patients and practitioners support the 2019 finalists by casting their vote.”

Votes can be cast at: www.aop.org.uk/awards. Only votes with the voter’s full name will be counted.

More than 30,000 people, including optical professionals and patients, voted in last year’s awards.

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