Lauren Esfeld is busy.
At Newman University, she’s a senior studying biology with a pre-optometry emphasis, as well as a member of the women’s tennis team.
The Wichita native is involved in several clubs as well. She’s president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, part of the Student Government Association and the pre-optometry representative for the Newman University Medical Professionals Club.
Additionally, she and fellow student Ian Lecki restarted intramurals this year because so many of their peers were asking about them. Esfeld is a Traditions and Transitions facilitator and Newman Ambassador as well.
Recently, she returned to her alma mater Bishop Carroll Catholic High School to speak to students about her experience in the school’s community system and how it impacted her.
“I also expanded on how the community system has helped me in college, because it taught me how to be a leader, how to make friends and how to communicate with adults in an effective way,” Esfeld said.
After she graduates this May, Esfeld will move to Forest Grove, Oregon, where she’ll attend the Pacific University College of Optometry.
“I am most looking forward to finally learning everything I need to know to be an optometrist because it has been my dream for so long,” she said. “I am also very excited to have vision therapy incorporated into each class that I take at Pacific.”
Esfeld hopes to one day open her own practice and have a vision therapy practice along with it — something she herself once needed.
“Vision therapy is where we teach anyone from children to adults about how the brain controls the eye muscles,” she explained. “Think of vision therapy as physical therapy for your eye muscles.”
Throughout her journey thus far, Esfeld has felt the impact of numerous people, including her own optometrist Dr. Patrick Pirotte.
“Dr. Pirotte was the doctor to diagnose that I needed vision therapy,” she said. “He was also the one to give me my first job in the optometry field, and I have been working at his practice for five years now. Without his willingness to teach me about optometry, I do not think that I would love optometry as much as I do, because I know so much.”
Esfeld also credited Associate Professor of Biology Michael Bradley and Assistant Professor of Biology Jenna Persons with helping her science education.
“They have pushed me to be the best student I can be in the classroom or in the research lab, whether that was going over material again with me or encouraging me when I felt like I was not going to succeed in a class,” she said.
Esfeld’s roommate, pre-dental student Caroline Williams, has made her mark, too, especially because they both applied for their respective professional schools at the same time.
“Having a roommate who went through some of the same entrance exam studying, application and interview experiences really made it easier because we were able to talk about what we were both going through and try to help each other as best we could,” Esfeld said. “The most exciting part about all of it was finding out that we were accepted into multiple schools within a month of each other and then deciding which respective schools we were going to within a month of each other.”
Esfeld added, “My Newman experience will impact my life moving forward because of the relationships I have built here, as well as the education I’ve received.”
Earn a biology degree
A degree in biology is used as a prerequisite for pre-dentistry, pre-med, pre-occupational therapy, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy, pre-physician assistant, and pre-veterinary.