Each year the ASCRS Foundation offers ten $1,000 Resident Excellence Awards to enable ophthalmology residents exhibiting exemplary performance to attend the ASCRS●ASOA Annual Meeting. The categories for consideration include research, patient care, leadership and education.
Michele Lee, MD, a 2018 Resident Excellence Award recipient who attended the 2018 ASCRS●ASOA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., shared her experience in an interview with the ASCRS Foundation staff.
Foundation Staff (FS): How did you learn about the Resident Excellence Award?
Michele Lee, MD (ML): I heard about the award from my mentors and was encouraged to apply in order to secure funding to attend the conference.
FS: Tell us about your experience at the Annual Meeting.
ML: As an ophthalmology trainee, especially during the final operative year of residency, ASCRS is the most educational meeting you can attend. During my last two years at ASCRS, I make a point of attending as many of the YES (Young Eye Surgeons) events as possible, which in 2018 included a day-long program with case videos and panel discussion, lunch with the experts, and a wet-lab. At the mentored wet lab, I learned how to put in iris hooks and to perform limbal relaxing incisions, skills which came in handy during my final heavy surgical rotation of residency!
FS:What did you enjoy most about the meeting? Was there a particular session you were looking forward to?
ML: My favorite part of any meeting is connecting with friends and colleagues, old and new. I have also really enjoyed presenting my research projects at the conference; it feels like the perfect culmination of all the hard work that went into the projects. As I mentioned above, I very much look forward to the YES events and look forward to attending the YES events again this upcoming year.
FS:Why did you apply for the award? Would recommend other current residents or fellows to apply for the award?
ML: To future applicants: there is no harm for applying for this award! Last year I was able to take full advantage of the conference without worrying about staying within a budget. The skills, connections, and memories I made at the conference have definitely stuck with me during my fellowship year.
FS: Is there any advice you’d like give to a future applicant or recipient of the award?
ML: Start your application early and ask your program director for a letter as soon as possible so they can write the best possible letter and application on your behalf. Take some time to explore each city you visit, though ASCRS is filled with a lot of educational value so definitely make sure you take advantage of what the conference has to offer as well!
FS: What would you say to our donors who make this program possible?
ML: Thank you so much for making this experience possible! I and the other recipients appreciate of all your support in our early careers and know that our successes only come with the generosity of others such as yourself.
To learn more on the Resident Excellence Award visit ascrsfoundation.org/education. The deadline for the 2019 Resident Excellence Awards is Wednesday, January 9, 2019. Nominations for the award can be made here.