Home New Meet the Student Board: Isabelle Ampe, CCO | Midwestern University

Meet the Student Board: Isabelle Ampe, CCO | Midwestern University

portrait photo of isabelle "izzy" Ampe, student in midwestern optometry school
Isabelle “Izzy” Ampe

When Isabelle “Izzy” Ampe dissected a lamb’s eyeball in middle school, she immediately wanted to know more. She had never needed vision correction in her life, and had only seen an eye doctor once, but she was “fascinated by how small everything was, yet how big of an impact it makes in our daily lives.” Ampe has now turned that interest into a career path as she finishes up her second year at Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry as class president.


Ampe’s curiosity in the mechanics of the eye blossomed when she started working as an optometric technician as a freshman in undergrad—and found out she needed vision correction after all. So, she started wearing glasses and quickly took an interest in disease management during her time working with the various doctors at the practice. “I was able to see a variety of diseases and diagnoses before even getting into school,” Ampe says.

photo shows Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry student in a lab
Ampe practices her skills in the classroom

She also took that opportunity to learn about the business side of private practice and what goes into being an optometrist other than treating patients. “Each doctor implemented their unique style into the way they practiced,” Ampe says. “One thing I consistently admired about all of them was their commitment to patient care.” She says each doctor made lasting connections with patients, focused on each patient’s lifestyle and habits and individualized their treatments.

She found a mentor in each of them as well. “Each doctor at the practice would take time to explain specific cases to me, simplifying the disease or diagnosis to my understanding,” Ampe says. “I could tell they each really love what they do, which made me want the same.”


But it hasn’t all been sunshine, she says. Ampe moved almost 500 miles away from her family in Minnesota to pursue her passion and attend Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry. She FaceTimes her two younger siblings, Anna and Jack, often, and says her parents are her “biggest supporters. They have always encouraged me to chase my dreams.”

Ampe with her family

Her new friends at CCO motivate her too, she says. “My professors and classmates make coming to class fun,” Ampe says. “I look forward to seeing them every day.” Still, she’s found herself working hard and feeling the pressure.

six Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry students at a restaurant table enjoying an evening
Ampe (top left) with friends from Midwestern University Chicago College of Optometry

“It’s easy to feel guilty for taking a day or night off from studying,” Ampe says—something the self-proclaimed “social butterfly” is working on. “I know taking time off is essential to avoid burning out, so I still make time to grab food with my new school friends or catch up with old ones.”

The stress is also worth it, Ampe says, when she sees her skills come to fruition. “When I feel more confident in something that I’ve studied or can finish an exam task more quickly than before, it’s a reminder that I’m doing this for me.”


Read more WO student advisory board stories here.

Read more newsmaker stories from WO here.

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