Kristen Winter headshot, wearing a flowery blouse, smiling, standing in front of a white wallKirsten Winter, OD ‘22, ‘23Resident, had a far from direct journey into the optometry profession. After studying English Literature for her undergraduate degree, and working as a journalist and English teacher in Spain, she unexpectedly found herself in an optical lab, fascinated by the idea of learning about the eye and lenses. 

“I knew I wanted to transition into a career in healthcare, but I wasn’t inspired to pursue optometry until I began working as a technician,” said Dr. Winter. “I decided to enroll in school again and start working away at prerequisites and the application process [to get into optometry school].”

After three years of working full-time and taking classes, she enrolled at the State University of New York (SUNY) College of Optometry for her post-graduate education. “Four years flew by amazingly fast,” she said. “[For my residency], there were so many excellent programs to choose from, it was a struggle to whittle down my list and decide where I wanted to apply.”  

Dr. Winter’s unexpected healthcare journey landed her at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University with an ocular disease off-campus residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. During her residency she is enjoying rotating through various ophthalmology subspecialities and clinical settings, including uveitis, neuro-ophthalmology, glaucoma, retina, and the emergency department. She hopes to work in a hospital or academic setting after completing her residency this summer.