Student Ambassador Blog Articles

The Start of Something New – Choosing SCCO Coming from a Local

A series of articles written by SCCO Student Ambassadors.

The Start of Something New – Choosing SCCO Coming from a Local

by SCCO Student Ambassador, Katherine Dinh

Picture2Having been raised right on the streets of State College Blvd and Chapman Ave, I find myself familiar with the pride of being part of the award-winning “Education Community” full of schools in the Fullerton district to boast about. Yet, there was always something like a hidden legend among the Fullerton locals. Proud of the titans hailing from the exquisite campus of Cal State Fullerton (CSUF), you might even forget about the small, cozy campus just across the street. Marshall B. Ketchum University. “It’s a professional school.” “There are future doctors studying there.” To my young, immature high school self, that was a future that sounded unattainable, improbable, and far-fetched. Yet, I would still pass by that small campus at the far corner of Associated Road on the way to high school, church, shopping trips, and family outings. For now, it was nothing more than a sight to see in one of our many shortcuts to work around the early morning and evening commute.

Fast forward to my undergraduate years at UCR (go Highlanders!), I had started to put a lot more thought into what IPicture3 wanted to do — being a part of the health professional community. I had my fair share of experiences here, but some of my core memories come from Tzu Chi whose mobile eye clinic gave me the first look into the field of optometry. It was during this time that I discovered the opportunity to serve underrepresented populations, especially in the Inland Empire where regular access to eye exams needed to be addressed. Topped with the onset of the pandemic, seeing the difficulty within my own familial experiences to get access to proper eye checkups gave me the drive to pursue a career in optometry. Lo and behold, I wound up looking into schools with the best access to the Inland Empire which led me back here to Southern California College of Optometry at MBKU and all that remained was the application process.

Yes, the infamous optometry school applications– the final hurdle between me and my way into SCCO in what I dub: the waiting game. I made the decision to take a gap year to devote my time to spritzing my application and to leave enough time for me to also enjoy some free time before professional school. I came across life events that often made me question my own career choice — friends going to medical school, cousins getting promoted at work, and childhood buddies getting engaged and married! It was hard to watch people going through different walks in their lives while mine remained at a standstill– planning and waiting for the next step in my own journey. But my biggest advice to you as a prospective student would be to stay true to your story! At times, the application process is a true test of grit, but having moments of humility goes a long way in your journey and will help you grow as a health professional. Those countless hours you put into community service or the late nights staying up for those tough exams are worth the blood, sweat, and tears to get you that seat you worked hard to earn in your dream school.

And here I am as a freshly admitted first-year at SCCO! Trust me when I tell you that I would have never imagined walking on this campus not so long ago. Being able to return to my roots in Fullerton has just given me an immense feeling of nostalgia as if I were opening an old book that I am so excited to explore all over again. This time, however, it will be with the new family that has taken me in here at SCCO which has turned into my home (not so far) away from home.

So go and put yourself out there! Ask the questions you want answers to and don’t ever be afraid of what goes on ahead. Be proud of the work you are putting into this career no matter where you come from and if you ever need to pick my brain, feel free to reach me via email at

Click here to read Katherine’s bio and meet other Student Ambassadors at


Katherine with her sister getting ready to enjoy a nice breakfast in New York City, one of her favorite places to visit!

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