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Dr. Graham Chung’s Optometric Journey

Graham Chung.
Graham Chung with Dean Flanagan.
The Class of 2023’s beloved superstar!
Among the many hardworking, dedicated, and exceptional students within the Herbert Wertheim School of Optometry & Vision Science Class of 2023, one particular graduate has stood out due to his many achievements and professional reputation at Berkeley. Dr. Graham K. Chung was born in Baltimore, Maryland, but his family moved to Hong Kong when he was very young. He went to primary through high school in Hong Kong and later returned to the United States for his college education at the University of California (UC) Davis. He graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with an emphasis in forensics.

After graduating from UC Davis, Dr. Chung worked as a technician and optician at Blue Oaks EyeCare, owned by Berkeley alumna, Dr. Kristie Trang (Class of 2000), and EyeOptics Optometry; where he worked with alums Dr. Maggie Wong (Class of 2015) and Dr. Camille Weissenberg (Class of 2018). Working with these Berkeley alums inspired him to apply to the Doctor of Optometry (OD) program at Berkeley.

During his time at Berkeley, he was especially involved in leadership roles within his class and the optometry community, including: Gold Key President; University of California Optometric Student Association (UCOSA) President; Student American Academy of Optometry (SAAO) Membership Coordinator; SAAO Student Liaison; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) Student Council Member; and Class Secretary.

“Coming into optometry school, I just wanted to do the bare minimum,” said Dr. Chung in his speech at the Fourth Year Awards Ceremony. “I was like ‘as long as I pass and be a doctor it’s okay.'”

Dr. Chung’s “bare minimum” exceeded all possible expectations. Not only was Dr. Chung the 2023 Beta Sigma Kappa Silver Medal recipient, he also won a multitude of awards, including: the HOYA Student Leadership Award, Johnson & Johnson Award of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care, Zenni Optical Award, and the Gold Retinoscope Award.

A special honor, the Gold Retinoscope Award was established in 1961 by the Optometry Alumni Association; it symbolizes excellence in optometric science. It is awarded annually to the outstanding member(s) of the graduating class, elected by the faculty and classmates on the basis of academic achievement, clinical excellence, leadership and professional promise.

“It was an honor to present the Gold Retinoscope to Dr. Chung,” said Dr. Tyler Spilman, 2022 Gold Retinoscope Awardee. “I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Chung for many years now and I am grateful to call him both a friend and a colleague. I know he will make an excellent doctor! The words of his peers, faculty, and family show that he has been an excellent leader for his peers and the school.”

It is evident that Dr. Chung has gone above and beyond in his commitment to the field of optometry. His passion and dedication has shined through his work, and has not gone unnoticed by his peers and mentors. Congratulations on your many accomplishments, Dr. Chung!

See below for quotes from faculty, staff, administrators, fellow students, and the family of Dr. Chung, stated during the voting process for the Fourth Year Awards Ceremony.

“[Graham]… is humble, compassionate, incredibly hard working and has a wonderful sense of humor.”

“[Graham’s] positive influence extends beyond our class and is felt throughout the Berkeley Optometry community… [He is] beloved by both peers and the faculty, and is a true asset to the program.”

“Graham is our middle child, but he definitely is in the middle of our hearts. His first impression to everyone would be, he’s a happy-go-lucky person. When you know him further, you’ll know that he’s a very caring person, a very good listener especially when you need someone to listen to all of your problems. He is very dependable and detail oriented, when we need someone to take care of family details and issues, he is the only child we will go to and depend on. He is also very dedicated to his work, his school, and, of course, his dancing. We are also aware of the fact that all these means that he’s sacrificing himself and putting a lot of pressure on himself. We are glad that his efforts and dedication get recognized by you, and we are very proud of him.”