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Alice Grasso

Alice Grasso


Muncie, Indiana


"After graduation, I went on to optometry school at Indiana University. I was concerned that the coursework there would be much more difficult and a huge step up from my coursework in undergrad, since it was a professional program. But I should not have worried – my coursework at Purdue in the College of Science prepared me super well, since College of Science courses are kept to such a high standard. I would advise students in that situation to remember that they did well in such a rigorous program at Purdue that they are bound to succeed in any and all future endeavors – as long as they continue to put forth the same effort they did at Purdue!"

What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?

Major: Interdisciplinary Science with a focus in Chemistry

Minor: Biology

Graduated: May 2014

What drove you to pursue your current career path?

I always knew I wanted to pursue something in the medical field, and I had been going to the optometrist on a yearly basis since my childhood. One year, I mentioned this to my optometrist, and she suggested that I shadow her and check out optometry. I shadowed her one day, and that was it! I loved that optometrists can prescribe lenses to help people see better while also monitoring systemic health conditions and diagnosing and treating ocular health conditions. 

Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?

YES – I did undergraduate research in the biology department and was involved in student organizations! Participating in research helped me in a lot of ways – first and foremost, it helped me see how the scientific concepts I was learning in the classroom can be applied to the real world. But most importantly to me, participating in research as an undergraduate showed me that I actually did enjoy doing research, which led me to getting involved in research and completing a master’s degree in vision science alongside my optometry doctorate at IU School of Optometry. I also was involved in various student organizations, including the Pre-Optometry Club and a service honors fraternity, both of which I took leadership positions in. Taking those positions helped me learn the value of hard work and staying organized, which has helped me throughout optometry school, residency, and now in my profession.

Are there any special accomplishments you've achieved after college that you might not have been able to do without your college experiences?

At Indiana University School of Optometry, I got involved in optometric research and eventually completed a combined OD/MS degree – which is uncommon and takes a lot of extra work. I would not have even thought to pursue research or a master’s degree without first having gotten involved in research in the Purdue College of Science!

What advice would you give to prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?

Investigate!! Purdue offers so many different organizations, clubs, classes, research, and activities. There is something for everyone; sometimes you just have to investigate a little deeper to find the perfect thing for you.

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