National Professional Associations & Student Organizations - Student Services

MBKU encourages involvement with many different national health-care-related student organizations whose missions include:

  • Preparing students for their future in health care
  • Networking with professionals
  • Career development
  • Building community

In addition to the information below, a student organizations and clubs information fair is held each fall to introduce new students to campus involvement opportunities.

MBKU's National Student Professional Associations

Southern California College of Optometry

School of Physician Assistant Studies

College of Pharmacy

Honor Societies

Optometric Practice Development

Special Interest Clubs

Organization Descriptions: National Student Professional Associations


American Optometric Student Association (AOSA)

The American Optometric Student Association is the national organization for all optometry students. All SCCO students are automatically members of the AOSA and the American Optometric Association by virtue of their membership in the SCCO Student Association. The AOSA exists to improve the visual welfare of the public and enhance the education and welfare of optometry students. AOSA directs itself to the educational, legislative, political, interprofessional, intraprofessional and social concerns of optometry students. Each of the optometry schools contributes to AOSA through active participation in their respective AOSA chapters. The trustee from each school serves on the AOSA Board of Trustees. The president of the AOSA is the national spokesperson for optometry students. This individual serves on an advisory committee for the federal government, is a consultant to the AOA, and may testify before the United States Congress on matters pertaining to optometry and optometry students. 

In addition to the AOSA, students may elect to become voluntary members of a variety of organizations and clubs.

American Academy of Optometry (AAO)

The American Academy of Optometry is the national academic organization fostering research and disseminating knowledge in vision science through continuing education presented at its annual meeting. Fellows of the Academy are committed to the premise that learning is a lifelong obligation of a professional, as is the commitment to expand the profession's knowledge base through ongoing fellowship and exchange. Students are eligible for membership through student fellows of the AAO, and pay a reduced membership fee as well as reduced registration costs to attend the annual meeting.

American Optometric Association Political Action Committee (AOA-PAC)

The American Optometric Association Political Action Committee is a voluntary non-profit, unincorporated committee of doctors of optometry. This committee is not affiliated with any political party or any other political committee. Optometry is a legislated profession and decisions made by national, state and local politicians have a direct, and often long-lasting, effect on optometry. Defending the rights of optometrists to practice full-scope optometry is one of the most important roles of the AOA. The volunteers and staff of the AOA advocacy group are dedicated to preserving and forwarding the interests of optometrists and their patients in the legislature of the United States to ensure that Americans continue to have access to quality vision care. Each school and college of optometry has a local representative and students are encouraged to participate for a minimal donation.

Armed Forces Optometric Society (AFOS)

The purpose of Armed Forces Optometric Society is to advance, improve, and enhance the eye care of designated federal services health care beneficiaries given by optometrists in federal service; to provide a forum for these optometrists; to improve the art and science of the practice of optometry and to elevate the standards of practice.

College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD)

The College of Optometrists in Vision Development is a non-profit, international association of eye care professionals including optometrists, optometry students and vision therapists, that serves as an advocate for comprehensive vision care emphasizing a developmental and behavioral approach. COVD certifies professional competency in vision therapy, serves as an informational and educational resource and advances research and clinical care in vision development and therapy. The SCCO chapter sponsors speakers and visits to practitioners' offices for interested students.

National Optometric Student Association (NOSA)

The National Optometric Student Association is an affiliate of the National Optometric Association and consists of current students who are committed to the recruitment and retention of qualified underrepresented minority students in the profession of optometry.

Physician Assistant

Student Association of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (SAAAPA)

The Student Academy of the American Academy of Physician Assistants has its own structure, starting with students at individual PA programs. The Student Board of Directors guides SAAAPA affairs for the following year. Each year, students may elect one representative from each PA program to attend the Assembly of Representatives (AOR), the legislative body of the Student Academy. The AOR meets once a year at the annual AAPA conference where it sets policy and elects the Student Academy officers. Any AAPA student member who has not yet graduated is eligible for a student officer position.

California Academy of Physician Assistants (CAPA)

The mission of the California Academy of Physician Assistants is to represent and serve PAs statewide. As an advocate of its members for quality health care and for their valued, unique alliance with supervising physicians, CAPA will enhance, educate and empower PAs for the ultimate benefit of their patients. The class cabinet includes a CAPA student representative position. They work with CAPA to keep the class informed of legislation and advancements specific to California PAs.


APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP)

The mission of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists is to be the collective voice of student pharmacists, to provide opportunities for professional growth, to improve patient care and to envision and advance the future of pharmacy. All College of Pharmacy students are automatically members of the APhA -ASP and the American Pharmacists Association by virtue of their membership in the Marshall B. Ketchum University Student Association (MBUSA). The College of Pharmacy contributes to APhA through active participation in the APhA-ASP chapter.

Honor Societies

Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK)

Beta Sigma Kappa is an international optometric honor fraternity. Optometric students are eligible for membership if they have attained a 3.5 GPA or higher after the first year, a 3.4 GPA or higher after the second year, a 3.3 GPA or higher after the third year or a 3.2 GPA or higher at graduation. The fraternity is a service organization that provides the on-campus tutoring program. The BSK Silver Medal is awarded annually to the graduate who is a BSK member with the highest GPA in the graduating class. The national fraternity also provides funding for student research projects.

Rho Chi

Information coming soon!

Optometric Practice Development

Optometric Extension Program (OEP)

The Optometric Extension Program at SCCO increases awareness of the national OEP Foundation through speakers, office visitations and attendance at local seminars. With these events, members have opportunities to learn more about the behavioral model of optometry.

Private Practice Club (PPC)

The Private Practice Club is a completely student-run organization and is open to all students, especially those interested in managing a private practice after graduation. PPC provides motivational speakers, food for meetings, small-group dinner meetings with private practice managing optometrists and other networking opportunities. On the PPC members-only website, paid members have access to resources from the meetings including biographies and contact information of the speakers, a book list of recommended reading and optometric business articles.

Spanish Optometric Society (SOS)

The Spanish Optometric Society is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop the necessary Spanish-language skills to provide optometric services effectively to Spanish-speaking patients. Tutoring sessions for interested students are provided.

Vision Rehabilitation Club (VRC)

The Spanish Optometric Society is designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop the necessary Spanish-language skills to provide optometric services effectively to Spanish-speaking patients. Tutoring sessions for interested students are provided.

Special Interest Clubs

Fellowship of Christian Optometrists (FCO)

The Fellowship of Christian Optometrists is a student club that holds weekly bible study meetings for interested students. It is an international evangelical organization committed to worldwide eye care missions and intraprofessional Christian fellowship.

Married Students Club

The Married Students Club is an educational and social body for all MBKU married students and their partners. Their president holds an ex-officio seat on the Student Association Board of Directors.

Omega Delta (OD)

Omega Delta was originally founded in 1917 to bring about a closer bond between students. Today, Omega Delta has become the largest and oldest optometric profession club in the world. Their goals are to enrich the optometry school experience by encouraging camaraderie among future colleagues, creating an academic and interpersonal support network and developing professional skills through interactions with alumni. They offer a variety of social events throughout the year, as well as sponsoring educational programs and mock proficiencies for its members in preparation for the various clinical and preclinical exams.

Orange County MBKU Lions Club

As a student chapter of the Lions Club International organization, the OC MBKU Lions Club provides an avenue for all professional programs to be a part of and empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace, and promote international understanding. Lions Club is involved in all things community service and regularly partners with other MBKU clubs for service-related activities.

Pre-PA Mentorship Club

The Pre-PA Mentorship Club functions to connect current PA students at MBKU with surrounding undergraduate populations aspiring to join the PA profession and build mentor-mentee relationships. This student-run organization provides a variety of programming initiatives throughout the year including Pre-PA Club visits, social events, and even a mock interview.

Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH)

The goal of the Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity is to eradicate untreated refractive error – that is – to help people see again by correcting their vision with glasses.  And once they can see, they can improve the quality of their lives and their own vision for a future for generations to come.