Optometry Student Receives Highest Score on National Boards

Jamie (Roden) Pucci ’18ODJamie (Roden) Pucci ’18OD has been named the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Norman E. Wallis Award for Excellence for achieving the highest score on the National Board of Examiners in Optometry (NBEO) Part I Basic Science Examination. Ms. Pucci’s score topped more than 2,000 students who took the exam at testing centers throughout the U.S.

The Dr. Norman E. Wallis Award for Excellence was established to honor Dr. Wallis and his 25 years of phenomenal service as the executive director of the NBEO. Dr. Wallis was also the Pennsylvania College of Optometry’s president from 1972-1979. The award was presented at the recent Optometry’s Meeting 2017 in Washington, D.C. Interim dean of the University’s Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), Dr. Melissa Trego, accepted the award on Pucci’s behalf as she is currently completing an externship in Japan. PCO previously won the Dr. Norman E. Wallis Award for Excellence in 2007 when two students -- Rebecca Eiss, OD ’08, and Kathryn Gurganus, OD ’08 – tied for the highest national score.

Ms. Pucci was thrilled to receive the award and dedicates her achievements to the extensive preparation her instructors have provided.

Optometry Student“This award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our professors at PCO,” Pucci said.  “Not only did they make sure that my classmates and I knew enough to pass the board exam, they also, and more importantly, made sure that we could apply this basic science knowledge to our developing clinical practice. I am incredibly grateful to have such thoughtful, wise and compassionate role models to learn from.”

Dr. Elizabeth Tonkery, associate dean of PCO and director of the Accelerated Scholars program, is proud of Ms. Pucci’s continual dedication to perfecting her skills and deepening her knowledge, especially at a quickened pace in the Accelerated Scholars program.
“Jamie's hard work during each and every quarter of the Accelerated Scholars Program has earned her this tremendous honor,” she said. “Each day she came in and worked hard academically, while also doing an outstanding job in patient care. The example she has set in her achievement as a PCO student in the Accelerated program is well deserved and we are so proud of her performance, and even more excited by what the future holds for her.”
Ms. Pucci, a Watervliet, N.Y. resident, holds her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and a master’s in teaching with a concentration in biology education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a member of the University’s Accelerated Scholars program, which selects a small group of students to complete a multi-faceted, well-rounded Doctor of Optometry degree in three years, rather than the typical four, without cutting out any course material.

Established in 1951, the National Board of Examiners in Optometry is a private, nonprofit organization that develops, administers, and scores examinations, and reports the results, that state regulatory boards utilize in licensing optometrists to practice eye care. Optometry students must pass three parts in order to become licensed to practice.

More About our Optometry Programs