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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…

August 21st

Chiara Miranda, BS

Chiara is a 3rd year Optometry student. She graduated from UC Davis in 2020 where she studied Neurology, Physiology, and Behavior (NPB), with a minor in Human Development. Before attending Optometry school, she worked at a private practice in Pleasanton, CA, where she started interacting with patients in and out of the exam room and learned about the many administrative tasks that are necessary to keep a practice running. In her years at Berkeley Optometry, her favorite class has been Clinical Examination of the Visual System, where she is learning how to do each and every test that occurs in an eye exam, along with the critical thinking that goes behind each one. She is excited to finally put her skills to work, as she will be seeing patients in the upcoming months. Since she has many years of experience working with children in daycares and summer camps, she is interested in learning more about Pediatric Optometry.

Outside of class, Chiara is a member of Berkeley Optometry’s VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) Chapter. She is also an active member of the Vision Development Club. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, taking ballet and group exercise classes, and crafting items like candles or stickers!

August 21st

L. Edward Elliott, OD, FAAO

L. Edward Elliott (1940-2022) is a Berkeley Optometry Hall of Fame member, born in Turlock, California in 1940. A physics major at the University of California, Berkeley, he transferred to the UC Berkeley School of Optometry, graduating in 1965. Immediately after graduation, Dr. Elliott worked in a private optometric practice in Turlock until he was drafted in 1966. He served first as an optometrist and then as hospital commander for two years during the Viet Nam War. He returned to California where he established a private optometric practice (Modesto Optometric Vision Center). His son Brian (Class of ‘90) later joined and became a partner in the practice.

Always an entrepreneur as well as a third-generation Californian with an agriculture background, Elliott managed the Modesto Fruit Exchange during his student years at UC. In addition to his optometric practice he has been involved in agriculture enterprises and is a partner with Jaclyn, one of his daughters, in a market research company. When necessary, he seeks legal advice from his attorney daughter, Amy. (Dr. Elliott and his wife Terry’s three children are all University of California graduates.)

Dr. Elliott joined the faculty at Berkeley Optometry in 1974 as a Clinical Instructor, then served as a Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, and Clinical Professor. Over two decades he trained optometric interns in general clinic, contact lenses, binocular vision, and business aspects of the profession. He also served as an advisor to PhD candidates in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

In the 1980s the School of Optometry was targeted by the University administration for possible relocation off the Berkeley campus. In 1986 Dr. Elliott served as the School of Optometry’s representative on the Health Sciences Optometry School Subcommittee reviewing Optometry’s role on campus. He presented before the committee a persuasive case to save the School on campus, detailing the critical need for training optometrists and vision scientists and to do so at Berkeley for the benefit of the profession, public, and University. Partly as a result of Dr. Elliott’s efforts, committee consensus strongly recommended that the School should remain on campus and adequate funding was secured. In 1990–92, Elliott provided further service to the School as Honorary Campaign Chair of the Minor Hall Expansion Committee raising funds for the addition of two floors of laboratory and office space in Minor Hall.

Ensuring a sustaining role for the profession of optometry in the nation’s health care system was a motivating and driving force for Dr. Elliott. He served as President of the San Joaquin Optometric Society (1973), the California Optometric Association (1982–83), and the American Optometric Association (1991–92). The influential Georgetown Conferences on Optometric Education (1992–93) were part of his AOA presidential program in which he led the sponsorship of a national summit on optometric education, which had a lasting impact on both the academic and political arms of the profession. He also served as President of the Optometry Alumni Association of UC (1977), which voted him Alumnus of the Year in 1987, the same year he was named Optometrist of the Year by the California Optometric Association. Dr. Elliott also served as President of the Public Vision League for 19 years (1977–96). Optometric issues were successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court during his tenure.

Recognizing that Optometry is a legislated profession, Dr. Elliott has long taken up a direct optometric political role. His involvement with the diagnostic (DPA) and therapeutic (TPA) issues both in California and nationally involved frequent testimony at the state and national level, influencing optometry’s role in health care. Furthermore, Dr. Elliott’s connections with the White House were significant in adding optometry coverage to Medicare. His diverse combination of business, education and political backgrounds, combined with a love of optometry, has allowed Dr. Elliott’s unique contributions.

August 22nd

Iona McLean, BA

Iona McLean is a vision science student from Washington DC. She earned her undergraduate degree at Colgate University in Cognitive Neuroscience and Philosophy. During her undergraduate degree, she conducted research in a visual perception lab at Colgate University and in a Hearing Science lab at the University of Maryland. As an undergraduate at Colgate University, she developed a fascination with how the visual system represents the world. She followed her interest in sensory research to the Hearing Brain Lab at the University of Maryland where she worked closely with participants with cochlear implants. She saw firsthand how technology improved the lives of those with hearing deficits.

She is pursuing a PhD in Vision Science at Berkeley to combine her passion for vision science with her desire to improve the lives of those with sensory impairments. The Berkeley Vision Science Program’s expert faculty and interdisciplinary research offers the perfect setting to explore her interests. She hopes to conduct research that will expand our knowledge of the visual system in order to develop ways to improve the lives of those who are visually impaired. She believes that a large part of scientific research is asking good questions. She hopes to develop her ability to identify research questions that will lead to meaningful discoveries. She also wants to learn how to answer these questions using computational methods. She enjoys singing, hiking, and traveling.

August 23rd

Matthieu Kaminski

Matthieu is the Director of the Office of Learning Initiatives. He is a French-born professional with extensive experience in healthcare and academia. He obtained his nursing degree specializing in ER, Labor, and Pediatrics in Albi, France. After relocating to the United States 11 years ago, he worked as an EMT Paramedic in the tri-valley area before transitioning to a position at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health Dean’s Office for four years. He then moved to the Haas School of Business as the Operation Manager and Board Senior Administrative Officer for Development and Alumni Relations.

With his diverse background, Matt joined the School of Optometry & Vision Science in March 2020, where he quickly adapted to the COVID pandemic by deploying online continuing education programs. Currently, as the Program Director of the Office of Learning Initiatives, he oversees online programs and audiovisual aspects of the School.

Outside of work, Matt enjoys quality time with his wife and newborn Laila, brewing beer, barbecuing, and playing soccer.

August 24th

Joan Castañeda, OD

Dr. Joan Castañeda, a Berkeley Optometry alum, is an optometrist trained in the diagnosis and management of ocular disease, with an interest in primary open-angle glaucoma. During her residency training through UC Berkeley, she provided comprehensive eye care within the campus as well as affiliated community clinics where she received mentorship from retina and glaucoma specialists and examined patients ranging from 14 months to 100 years of age. She also worked at the Refractive Surgery Center, providing LASIK and PRK consultations and participating in pre- and post-operative care.

Dr. Castañeda is also membership co-director for the local Alameda Contra Costa Optometric Society, where she enjoys participating in organized optometry to advocate for the profession. In her free time, she loves spending time with friends and family, visiting local hiking trails, trying to get the attention of her cat, and indulging in sweets.

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