Optimistic optometrist born from service-learning opportunity

Sarah Nowicki ’10
Biology major
Hometown: Middletown, New York

Sarah Nowicki ’10 had a less than thrilling day performing auto refractions (computer analyses of eyesight) while on a service-learning trip to Knoxville, Tennessee. The biology major hoped the experience with the Remote Area Medical team (RAM) would help her decide on a major—a personal dilemma which she believed had reached crisis proportions.

Little did she know an exchange between a local reporter and a patient from the clinic would put Sarah’s predicament to rest, and attest to the value of Messiah College’s service-learning opportunities. Through Messiah’s Agape Center for Service and Learning (www.messiah.edu/agape), Sarah volunteered to perform vision services to medically under-served residents of the Knoxville area. Admittedly, she found the work “not exactly riveting and left the center disappointed,” wondering whether optometry was the right field for her.

“What was I going to do with the rest of my life?” she asked.

Sarah’s unexpected answer came later that night. As she and other volunteers gathered to watch television, the group saw a local news reporter interviewing a patient Sarah attended to earlier in the day. When asked about her new glasses the patient responded, “I can finally see my children. My babies are finally clear!”

At that late moment, a teary-eyed Sarah had a “life changing experience” and felt first-hand the reward optometrists feel as they provide the gift of improved sight to others. “I want to help a blurry world see clear again,” said a renewed Sarah. “Yes, I had a less than thrilling day performing procedures, but I made a difference in every person’s life who sat down across from me that day.”


Posted in 2010, About Service, Biology, Service and Learning | Comments Off

Posted on July 7th, 2008

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