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In honor of our centennial anniversary, we are featuring members of our optometry community — past and present — each day of 2023!

See below for this week’s profiles.

This Week, We Are Celebrating…

April 10th

Avigael Aizenman, PhD

Dr. Avigael Aizenman, is a recent graduate of the vision science PhD program (Class of 2021). While a student, Avi worked in the lab of Dr. Denis Levi. She is currently an Alexander von Humboldt research fellow currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen. Her research is focused on understanding vision and eye movements in virtual reality. She working on a virtual reality bike for one of my projects. By presenting users with unexpected events, such as a car door opening in front of them on the road, she hopes to start to understand how vision is monitoring for unexpected and dangerous events.

She says, “the benefit of using virtual reality to answer such questions is that we can design safe and immersive environments, which we have total control over. My other projects focus on understanding how the eye movements we make during visual judgments, like deciding which of two objects is the largest, supports those decisions. I also have a project that uses a virtual reality videogame to understand how we categorize colors. These projects all build on skills and interests I developed during my time at UC Berkeley!”

April 11th

Meredith W. Morgan, OD, PhD

Dr. Meredith W. Morgan graduated summa cum laude from Berkeley Optometry in 1934. He then joined his father’s optometric practice in Richmond, while also teaching in a part-time clinical staff position at Berkeley Optometry.

Between the years of 1942-1951, he was appointed Instructor at Berkeley Optometry, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, as well as a Professor. He conducted an active research program, publishing many articles in physiological, optometric and ophthalmological journals. Dr. Morgan played a key role in establishing the Graduate Program in Physiological Optics at Berkeley (1946). He supervised more graduate students than any other faculty member until his retirement in 1975, taught all but two courses in the curriculum, and mentored interns in the Clinic, where he excelled in binocular vision and low vision.

Unlike his predecessors, who were solely practitioners, Morgan was the first educator/researcher to serve as President of the American Academy of Optometry (1952–54). The AAO also presented him with its highest honor—the Prentice Medal — in 1967, and an Honorary Life Fellowship in 1979. The Optometry Alumni Association named Morgan its first Alumnus of the Year in 1953, and the COA elected him Optometrist of the Year (1970). In 1975, he received the Apollo Award from the AOA and the University’s prestigious Berkeley Citation. From 1968 to 1989, he received four honorary doctorates from schools of optometry. He was delighted when the Optometry Clinic was rededicated as the “Meredith W. Morgan University Eye Clinic” (1998). Only weeks before his death, he was named—for a record third time—Optometrist of the Year by the Alameda and Contra-Costa Counties Optometric Society.

April 12th

David Redman, OD

Dr. Redman, OD ‘91, is Vice President and US Chief Strategy Officer for FYidoctors. While at Berkeley, Dr. Redman went through clinical rotations in low vision and ocular pathology. He is a past-president of the California Optometric Association and was awarded 1998 “California Young Optometrist of the Year.” In 2005, he was also recognized as Santa Clara County “Optometrist of the Year,” and in 2017 he was named “AOA OD of the year.”

Dr. Redman has been a leading advocate for increasing access to health plans in California, and says, “When I graduated optometry school, we didn’t have therapeutic privileges and my colleagues and I couldn’t even “prescribe” over the counter drops. We had an excellent optometric education, but were limited by the scope of practice in our state. I wanted to see advancements in our profession. I’ve been part of five successful scope of practice battles in our state. Each time we advance the profession, our patients benefit, and our doctors are able to grow professionally and provide better care for them. Optometrists are highly skilled and it’s very gratifying to work on behalf of our colleagues.”

Find Dr. Redman’s article in the 2022 edition of the Berkeley Optometry Magazine by clicking the button below!

2022 Magazine
April 13th

Shayda Mardi, OD

Dr. Shayda Mardi is the current Vision Therapy & Vision Rehabilitation resident at the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science. She completed undergrad at UC Berkeley and stayed to complete her optometry degree at Berkeley in 2022. She hopes to continue working with concussion/neuro-rehab patients & patients with binocular vision related conditions to help improve their quality of life. Dr. Mardi is a Bay Area native and loves being able to give back and serve her Bay Area community. During her free time, she enjoys going on hikes, going to concerts, trying new restaurants around the area and spending time with her friends and family.

April 14th

Ardi Samonte, MA

Ardi Samonte, MA, is Assistant Director of Admissions for the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry and Vision Science. He received both his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication & Master’s Degree in Leadership from Saint Mary’s College of California. Prior to working at the School of Optometry & Vision Science, he has worked in the areas of Enrollment Services, Student Success, Career & Professional Services, Fine Arts, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, & Leadership. He most recently served as the Assistant Director of Career Development – Fine Arts & Humanities at California College of the Arts.

Ardi seeks to continue to recruit with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion best practices. He is passionate about Values & Leadership Theory and Systems Organization. He is always looking for ways to get accurate quantitative and qualitative data that can provide authentic insight into the student experience so that he can improve upon the institution’s admissions and recruitment strategies as a whole.

Ardi currently lives in Vallejo, CA and spends most of his freetime at the gym – lifting weights or at Orange Theory. He also is a DJ – you can catch him spinning all over the West Coast for public and private events.

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