Skip to main content

Ketchum Conversations: MBKU Student Association President, Leslie Bacani, Discusses Her Priorities


As the MBKU Student Association President, what are you most looking forward to? 

I love taking on roles that give me the maximum opportunity to make a lasting impact. Trust me when I say I don’t plan on passively taking on the role as Student Association President. I am ready to proactively pave the way by creating new ideas, jump-starting new traditions and being the spark that will bring on positive changes on our MBKU campus.

What are the goals of the Student Executive Council? 

Good leaders have a plan, and great leaders follow through with those plans. We are keeping it simple, although “simple” does not necessarily mean “easy.”
I have three main goals on my personal agenda: 

1) cultivate a more integrated and family-like environment on our campus, 2) help create a more student-focused University, and 3) showcase all  the awesome things done by our campus clubs, student government and MBKU students using more broad and accessible platforms, like social media.

Why did you choose SCCO? 

There wasn’t one particular reason why I chose SCCO, but all the things that I was looking for in an optometry school kept on leading me to this program. Location, distinction and the staff doctors truly wanting you to succeed are the main reasons. I always said that the most important thing I was looking for in an optometry school was that it needed to have a “family-like” environment. After visiting a few schools, I realized that every school has a family-like environment, but just like actual families, each school has a different personality and level of cohesiveness. You can say that SCCO’s personality complemented mine greatly. For example, I am a very personable gal with extremely high energy — and since my first day visiting the SCCO campus, I was welcomed with kind smiles and a warm and genuine vibe. There is absolutely no level of competition within our program, so we are genuinely looking out for each other and wishing each other the best success. And that’s the kind of environment I thrive in — one that constantly supports and takes care of each other along the way.

What would you say to a prospective student considering coming to MBKU? 

We are a small University with three strong and unique programs. The future of health care will consist of interprofessional care — and MBKU is taking big steps in that direction. 

Interprofessional education is a core component of the curriculum at MBKU. Can you speak to the value of bringing future health care providers together across multiple disciplines to learn with and from one another?

I like to compare the future of health care to the future of technology. Over time, it needs to constantly evolve to provide a better experience for the user. What is the “next step” to advance the future of health care? It really is to integrate the care of multiple health care disciplines so that we can provide the most personalized care for the patient. Medicine is changing — and it’s for the better. 

What has been the highlight of your MBKU experience thus far? 

This past summer I helped plan and host our first-ever MBKU Student Association Summer Retreat where the incoming leaders of MBKUSA gathered together under one roof to discuss how we can use our roles to bring changes on our campus. Up until that point, I never had the true opportunity to sit down with a colleague outside of my program — and I’ve gotten to know more about the PA and pharmacy programs during those five hours than I ever did the past 2 1/2 years of being a student. It was at that exact moment when I truly realized how powerful it is to collaborate and work with colleagues in different programs. 

How do you like to spend your free time? 

It really depends on my mood. Sometimes — especially when I’m really stressed — I need a large dose of solo retail therapy shopping. But other times, I soak myself in the presence of my classmates (I call them my famEYEly). We frequently go to large dinners, especially when we are celebrating each other’s birthdays. For a quick break, I stay updated on social media, and I currently manage a public grad school Instagram account that documents my daily life (check it out! @_eyeology). And every time we have a break from school, I do my best to spend my time outdoors and surround myself with nature. Actually, throughout my time here at MBKU, I’ve visited seven national parks with some of my classmates (you can catch me around campus sporting National Park patches on my backpack).

If you could give new students just one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Everyone in this world is given 24 hours in a day; capitalize on these hours to your fullest capacity.

You’re at about the mid point in your education, if you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

Honestly, I would pay more attention to the fundamental courses during the beginning of my first year, such as ocular anatomy. These courses are the core foundation to your education. If you are not solid in these courses, you will definitely struggle. You will have to learn the material sooner or later, so save yourself the future stress and invest a good portion of your first quarter hammering down those core concepts.

If you could have dinner with any person (living or deceased), who would it be and why? 

Two people: Amal Clooney and Cardi B. Amal because she is strong, educated, passionate and classy. Cardi B because she is fierce, started from the bottom, has charisma and knows what she wants. Two women who are completely different in their own way, but share one thing that I admire greatly: being a force to be reckoned with while wearing heels at the same time.

The full Winter 2018 issue is available online. Read Now