Home Newsmakers Meet the Student Advisory Board: Hope Santangelo, OSU

Meet the Student Advisory Board: Hope Santangelo, OSU

Hope Santangelo

A few years ago, optometry as a career was not on Hope Santangelo’s radar. She’s now preparing for her third year at The Ohio State University College of Optometry and a member of the WO student advisory board.

“Once upon a time, I thought that all optometrists did was ask, ‘One or two?’” A summer shadowing an OD after her first year of college and some deep discussion with her mom eventually helped Santangelo decide to pursue optometry. She “fell in love with the idea of helping people better experience the world we live in” while earning her B.S. in health sciences with a minor in biology from The Ohio State University. 


Hope gets ready to watch a Cleveland Browns football game with her family.
Hope gets ready to watch a Cleveland Browns football game with her family.

Santangelo spent the next summer working as a technician and began to understand the different aspects of running a practice. One of her biggest takeaways was learning about the “scope and impact” of optometry, she says. It was much bigger than she thought and she “was blown away at all the different ways optometrists help patients.” She was impressed by the “sincere relationship between doctor and patient. It felt like every patient that walked in the door [of the office I worked at] was a dear friend.” 

The ODs she worked for didn’t rush patients out of the room and “made a point to ask about their personal lives, such as how school was going or how the grandbabies were. They cared about their patients as people in addition to their vision and eye health,” she says. “A relationship built on mutual trust is invaluable in any health care profession, but especially when dealing with someone’s vision.” 


Hope with friends at OSU.
Hope with friends at OSU.

Santangelo says the more she learned about the profession and connected with those in it, the more depth she saw. The vastness of the industry appealed to her early on. Not only would she be helping patients see, but she would be “diagnosing and managing system disease, rehabilitating patients back from traumatic brain injury or stroke and collaborating with other health care professionals to optimize the wellbeing of the patient as a whole.” 

She is most excited about the collaboration, already seeing the impact of teamwork with her friends and classmates at OSU. “Students and faculty members are so enthusiastic about the program here. It’s like a family,” she says. “We enjoy being around each other in class as well as outside of school, tailgating for football games, going to see the newest movie or trying a new restaurant. Upperclassmen have been great at offering advice, and faculty members are always available if we need help. I’ve already grown so much as a student, person and future clinician at Ohio State.” 

OSU optometry student Hope Santanelo
Hope with her parents and sister.

She also credits her family and friends for keeping her centered. “I’m very grateful to have a supportive family I can call when I’m having a bad day. They help me keep everything in perspective.” Friends help remind her to have fun, too. When studying becomes overwhelming, Santangelo says, “Those feelings are valid. But it’s important to enjoy moments like celebrating with your classmates after a tough round of exams or the feeling after performing your first full eye exam. That is what I’ll remember years from now, so I try my best to enjoy them as they come.” 

In her free time, Santangelo enjoys attending workout classes, concerts and watching romantic comedies and Survivor. She’s a huge sports fan and enjoys cheering on the Ohio State Buckeyes and Cleveland Browns. She is President of Optometry Ambassadors, Vice President of the Ocular Disease and Neuro-Optometry Club, Secretary for the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and General Exec for the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists.


Read more WO student advisory board stories here.

Read more newsmaker stories from WO here.

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