Optometry Student Accepted into the “Visioning the Future” Program
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Optometry Student Accepted into the “Visioning the Future” Program

Makayla Cain standing outside the hafter center wearing her white coat and holding a bouquet of flowersThe Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) at Salus University student Makayla Cain, PBHS ‘21, ‘26OD, has been busy as she completed the University’s 

Post-baccalaureate in Health Sciences and Summer Enrichment (SEP) programs. Cain entered PCO/Salus this fall more prepared than ever, as all of her hard work culminated in pursuing her dream profession of optometry and a new exciting opportunity with the National Optometric Association (NOA). 

She was recently accepted into the NOA’s Visioning the Future program which identifies African American students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to facilitate their professional development and career advancement in optometry. 

The program has given her a mentor within the optometry profession who has helped her navigate potential career options upon her graduation from PCO/Salus in 2026. “I am most excited for the mentorship from Dr. Poston I will receive from this program,” said Cain. “I am not sure if I want to go into academia or corporate optometry and she has connected me with people in those areas so I can learn more.”

In addition, Cain was awarded a $1,500 scholarship for equipment and a $2,500 scholarship for classroom resources. “The scholarships have really helped set me up for success in the classroom and I am very appreciative of it,” she said.

Cain emphasized the importance of Dr. Paula H. Boone, NOA director, on her acceptance into the program and setting her up for future success.

“Dr. Boone spearheaded me getting this scholarship and has invested so much time in me and has been so supportive,” said Cain. “She is the perfect example of a mentor and I really appreciate all of her efforts because without her none of this would have been possible.”

Cain also credits her time in both the Post-bacc program and SEP for her preparation for entering the PCO/Salus Doctor of Optometry program and for easing her transition from Clathrin University, her undergraduate institution, to Salus.

“Specifically with Post-bacc, I was able to complete rigorous science courses to make sure I was ready to match the rigor of the courses the Salus University Optometry program offers,” she said. “Coming from a small HBCU, the Post-bacc and SEP programs really helped me prepare and transition to Salus. I don’t know how I would have done without them.”

Now more prepared than ever, Cain is looking forward to the knowledge and experience she will gain throughout the year. With her first year of optometry school underway, she knows the Visioning the Future program will help her succeed and provide her with valuable connections that will serve her well in the future.