Eyes on Diversity: The Summer EYE Academy 

High School Enrichment Program  

Organized by UMSL’s College of Optometry and Office of Precollegiate Student Services  


Welcome to Eyes on Diversity! Within this program, high school students have the opportunity to learn more about becoming an optometrist, a primary eye health care provider. Our summer program will provide hands-on activities and presentations about pursuing a Doctor of Optometry degree. Students will also engage in professional and personal development workshops.

The Summer EYE Academy is brought to you by the College of Optometry and Precollegiate Services (Bridge) through generous sponsorship by VSP Globalvsp_global_4c.jpg

The Summer EYE Academy 2021 will be held virtually on the following Saturday mornings: June 12, 19, 26, July 10, 17 and 24 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. High school students entering their Junior or Senior year in Fall 2021 are eligible to apply. 

Applicant Requirements:

  • Entering 11th or 12th grade level for 2021 – 2022 academic year.
  • Minimum GPA (current or cumulative) of 2.75
  • Submit a completed application, recommendation letter and high school transcript by deadline.
  • Agree to meet attendance, performance and behavior requirements for successful completion of all 6 program sessions.
  • Includes student participant and parent/guardian commitment.
  • Complete assigned tasks and fully participate in virtual class activities to meet program requirements.


Application Process:

  1. Submit online Eyes on Diversity: Summer Eye Academy Application. This includes submission of 250-word essay: “Why is access to eye care important in your community?”
  2. Request high school transcripts and one (1) letter of recommendation to be submitted to Eyes on Diversity coordinator; electronic or paper copies will be accepted.
  3. Students with completed applications and meeting full eligibility will be contacted to schedule a virtual meeting with program coordinator to discuss the program and the student’s interest in health care.
  4. Twenty (20) students will be selected for the 2021 Academy and contacted in May with final acceptance and additional information for participation.

Important Dates:

  • Application Open
  • Notice of Acceptance begins May 16
  • Swag-EYE Bag pick-up TBD
  • First session June 12


Tentative Schedule of Activities:

Session 1: Welcome, Pre-collegiate Development Workshops

Session 2: Introduction to Optometry and the UMSL College of Optometry

Session 3: Optometry School 101 – anatomy lecture + dissection lab + eye exam skills demo

Session 4: A Day in the Life, from Student to Doctor – virtual optometry office tours + Q&A with current students and optometrists

Session 5: Planning for College, Optometry school and beyond

Session 6: Completion Ceremony

* Participants will be provided all necessary materials for full participation in each session. There will be hands-on, interactive learning and laboratory skills presented throughout the program.

For questions and more information please email

Program Goal: Based upon figures from the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO), less than 4% of all graduates from the existing optometry programs identify as African-American, Hispanic, Pacific-Islander or Native American.  These figures have changed very little over several years. One reason for the lack of minority doctors is due in part to little exposure to the eye care industry. In order to continue providing appropriate care in a more diverse world, our student body must reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. Our primary goal is to increase exposure to optometry among under-represented students in the junior and senior years of high school and more directly assist these students in college planning and preparedness as they pursue health careers.