As the top graduate in the Traditional Optometry Program at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, Susan (Barnes) Gresham, OD ‘19
, gave the spring 2019 commencement address.
In that speech, she asked her fellow gradates to “collectively challenge each other to be a bit discontented and look for ways to improve our respective fields and advocate for the advancement of our professions.”
She urged her colleagues to be both excellent and innovative, noting that PCO/Salus provided them all with a strong academic background and a solid clinical foundation.
As she left PCO/Salus, her immediate goals were to return to her home state of Virginia and get married. More than a year later, both of those events happened. She married Thomas Gresham and started a job as an optometrist at EyeOne in Staunton, Virginia.
But then the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020 and Dr. Gresham’s first year as a professional was disrupted. She was furloughed for two months while the practice in which she worked only saw emergency patients.
Thankfully, though, once she returned, it was business as usual, albeit with increased safety protocols in place.
“I was really excited to get back to work. The practice had implemented a bunch of policies to make everybody feel safer and we’ve been really busy since,” said Dr. Gresham, who attended the University of Virginia (UVA) for her undergraduate degree in Charlottesville, where she double majored in Biology and Spanish.
Since high school, she had dreamed of pursuing a career as a healthcare professional. After graduating from UVA, she worked in an optometrist’s office, which solidified her interest in the profession. She later visited PCO/Salus as a prospective student and knew immediately that’s where she wanted to continue her education.
As a professional, she usually sees anywhere from 30 to 35 patients a day for a variety of routine and medical eye care.
“It’s a perfect mix for me. I see patients of all ages, but I especially enjoy seeing children,” she said. “I work with phenomenal doctors and all the staff at the practice are fantastic.”
Dr. Gresham said her training at PCO/Salus was “everything I needed and more.” “I truly enjoyed my day-to-day life at Salus, meeting new people all the time, while steadily building friendships,” she said.
Dr. Gresham has become a member of the Virginia Optometric Association and attended the 2019 conference in person and the group’s virtual conference in 2020.
She and Thomas live in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and they are expecting their first child in March 2021. In her spare time, Dr. Gresham enjoys running, cooking, hiking and playing table tennis with her husband.
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