College student reps

Our student reps are the point of contact between the College and our student members. We rely on them to share our news with you, and to share your news, ideas and questions with us.

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There are two College reps on each of the optometry degree courses in the UK, recruited from the second year (third year at Glasgow Caledonian). 

College reps are here for you for anything to do with the College. They can help you understand your free member benefits, and keep you updated on all the relevant College news and events through their Facebook updates. Make sure you read their blogs on the reality of life as an optometry student. They provide useful tips and advice on how to survive exams, workload and other challenges, as well as making the most of your opportunities. College reps also make sure that you can have a say on our activities by passing on your feedback, questions and ideas.

Your College reps

Any questions, ideas, feedback? Get in touch with your reps:

Anglia Ruskin University

Caitlin Walsh
Student rep, Anglia Ruskin University

Caitlin Walsh came over from Newfoundland, Canada, to study at Anglia Ruskin University. She thinks that optometry is the perfect combination of medicine and physics - and you get to work with so many different people on a daily basis. Her favourite thing about studying it is learning the clinical techniques and the theory behind them. You are most likely to find her in the lanes practicing clinical techniques. Caitlin loves learning languages so, if she wasn’t an optom, she’d be a French teacher.

Cassandra Whelan
Student rep, Anglia Ruskin University


Aston University

Simranjeet Singh Uppal
Student rep, Aston University

Zahra Iqbal
Student rep, Aston University


The University of Bradford

Sohail Ramzan
Student rep, The University of Bradford

Sohail is a second year optometry student at the University of Bradford. He’s always been interested in optometry and his favourite part about studying it is learning about all the eye-related problems and quirks that people don't even realise they have. His least favourite part is the fact that he doesn’t get to see many people from other courses. But that's offset by the fact that he spends most of his waking hours with other optom students in the library or in the labs. If he wasn't doing optometry, he would definitely still be doing something medical related, working alongside people and trying to make them better.

Haleema Ali
Student rep, The University of Bradford


Cardiff University 

Kirsten Wilson
Student rep, Cardiff University

Kirsten always wanted to be an optometrist as she finds eyes really complex and fascinating – especially how they can tell you about patient health. However, she’s not so keen on all the extra reading optometry students need to do as there is so much you need to know before starting the pre-reg year.  

When not in uni (or doing some extra reading), Kirsten can be found at the gym.  And if she wasn’t an optometrist, she’d either be a midwife or a veterinary nurse. 

Viktorija Valicka
Student rep, Cardiff University

Originally from Latvia, Viktorija Valicka, is currently a second year student at Cardiff University. She decided to become an optometrist to make vision care more accessible in developing countries and to improve her confidence. She say it was the best decision she’d ever made! For Viktorija, the best thing about the course is the clinic time when everything is hands on. Her motto for university life is: ‘a busy mind is a productive mind’, and she never stops applying for extracurricular activities - they boost her motivation, and procrastination to a minimum.


City, University of London 

Andrew Geris
Student rep, City, University of London

Brooke Hutchins
Student rep, City, University of London

Brooke’s favourite thing about studying optometry is the fact that there is no limit to how much you can learn and progress. There are so many different areas of study within optometry, and this variety makes the course really enjoyable and rewarding. Her least favourite thing about studying optometry is probably the amount of equipment needed for the course! Brooke’s hobbies include exercise and keeping fit, reading, and travelling.  And, if she wasn't an optom student, Brooke would have probably have studied and pursued a career in psychology.


Glasgow Caledonian University 

Euan Brown
Student rep, Glasgow Caledonian University

Euan is a third year optometry student and one of the COO student reps at GCU. If you need to find him around uni, and he’s not in a lecture/clinic, he says he’s likely be in an area which serves food :) or you can always get him on Facebook. Euan’s favourite aspect of studying optometry is the social side of it - getting to know new patients in clinics and customers in practice at weekends and of course all the great students and faculty at GCU. The least favourite aspect of studying optometry is the thought of pre-reg year.  

Emma Dow
Student rep, Glasgow Caledonian University

Emma Dow is a third year optometry student at Glasgow Caledonian University. She loves being able to study something she’s passionate about, and meeting new people who share the same interests. Her favourite thing about studying optometry is the fact that the course is a mixture of both academic work and practical experience, which keeps timetables varied and more interesting. However, this has its downsides too, as it can be really difficult trying to balance studying for practical assessments and revising for written exams. If she wasn’t studying optometry, Emma would probably be studying for another career in the healthcare profession, as she’s always been interested in science and enjoys helping people.


University of Hertfordshire 

Suzan Kisin
Student rep, University of Hertfordshire

Suzan Kisin is a second year student at University of Hertfordshire. Her favourite things about optometry is the intricate, yet fascinating science behind all the eye diseases and condition, and how it unifies anatomy, practical skills, communication all in one great profession. The least favourite is trying to maintain an equilibrium between workload and student life. If Suzan  wasn't studying optometry, she would probably be studying something related to science and healthcare. You can usually find her in the library or drinking coffee at Starbucks! 


The University of Manchester 

Saabrien Ahmed
Student rep, The University of Manchester

Saabrien Ahmed is one of the College reps for the University of Manchester. Her favourite thing about studying optometry is definitely learning about the different ocular diseases, and is motivated to maybe work in research on preventing diseases. Her favourite thing about optometry is that there are frequent ground-breaking discoveries, so the learning is never going to end.  Her least favourite thing is that there is less free time than on other courses. You are most likely to find Saabrien in the library or Costa Coffee and if she wasn’t an optometry student, Saabrien would probably be a photographer.


Portsmouth University

Raven Sinnathamby
Student rep, Portsmouth University

Raven is a second year student at the University of Portsmouth. Her favourite thing about studying optometry is seeing (no pun intended) how theory relates to the practical nature of the course. When Raven isn’t in lectures or open lab, you can find her at the local Starbucks. If she wasn’t an optometry student, she would likely be working in research or elsewhere in the healthcare sector.


Plymouth University 

Geoff Filmore
Student rep, Plymouth University

Geoff is a mature student from Cornwall currently in his second year at Plymouth Uni, having completed a foundation year to get his qualifications in order. He loves the practical side of optometry, but thinks the theory can be really interesting too. The course it fast paced, whereas Geoff is a bit more chilled, but he says it pushes him to get more out of himself.

Amara Khan
Student rep, Plymouth University


Ulster University

Andrew Coates
Student rep, Ulster University

Andrew is studying at Ulster University. For him, the best things about studying optometry are the research and volunteer opportunities; the worst are the feelings of limitations. If he’s not at uni, he’ll be with his family. Here are a couple of his favourite quotes:  

“If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.”
Charles Bukowski

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."
 Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Catherine McGuckin
Student rep, Ulster University

Catherine is a second year optometry student at Ulster University, and says that optometry’s perfect blend of science/healthcare, practical work and communication keeps her interested and on her toes. Her least favourite part of the degree is finding she has developed an inescapable need to make puns about anything to do with eyes, vision or glasses …it’s becoming a spectacle!  She can usually be found in the library or talking to someone on my way to and from the library. And, if Catherine wasn’t studying optometry, she would have gone down another healthcare route, become a florist or ventured into acting – all fairly similar really…



A great opportunity to meet new people - and it looks great on your CV too.

Annabelle Gorham College student Rep 2017, Cardiff University