Mary Kate Walters
(Texas A&M-College Station)
The Optometry Student | 40 Under 40 Class of 2020
Lady Boss Icon
Can't Live Without
My momma's apple pie!
GET TO KNOW MARY KATE
“I am so blessed that I get to address people’s concerns about one of their most important gifts, their vision.” Mary Kate Walters is nearing the end of her studies at Southern College of Optometry and cannot wait to dive into a career she’s always been passionate about. Learn more in her extended interview.
What inspired you to go into this line of work?
It might seem odd that I did not grow up wearing glasses, so unlike most of my peers, I did not have the idea to be an eye doctor at the age of 10 when I put on a pair of glasses and could miraculously see all the leaves on a tree. I feel that I have always had a heart to serve others and began to have a strong interest in the medical field as I watched my grandfather battle cancer. Upon lots of research, I decided upon optometry because it was a profession that allowed me to use my knowledge and skills to give what I believe to be the greatest gift to others, sight. However, it was not until during optometry school that I truly gained a full appreciation for how complex and absolutely amazing the visual system is. It is interconnected to every part of the body. As the saying goes, it is the window to the soul.
What challenge did you overcome to get where you are today?
There will always challenges and obstacles with any goal, but I believe the biggest challenge I had to overcame was to not waver from my goals and dreams and to continue pushing forward regardless of what others had to say. At various points during my education, I was told I could not achieve something. Years later, I now laugh at my high school counselor who told me that I was not smart enough to attend Texas A&M University yet was admitted as a freshman and graduated with honors. I laugh at the admissions counselor from Texas A&M that told me I was not smart enough to be a doctor and to choose another profession yet here I am graduating as a doctor and providing eye care to patients. This is just proof that you can achieve anything you set your mind to if you believe in yourself.
Did someone help you get to where you are today, like a mentor?
I thank God for each accomplish that has gotten me to where I am today. But I also believe that the constant love and support provided to me by my family and friends continues to give me strength when times get tough. Rather it be a boards exam, long day at work or maybe even just home sick, I can always rely on them to lift my spirits and continue chasing my dreams.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being able to spend time as well as talk with my patients. This allows me not only the privilege to care for their eyes but their entire quality of life. Vision is arguably one of our most valuable senses, and my job allows me to enhance the gift of sight to leave a profound and lasting impact on their life.
Early Bird or Night Owl
Apple or Android
Mountains or Beach
Left Brain or Right Brain
Staycation or Vacation
Describe yourself in three words.
Analytical, passionate and methodical.
Your life philosophy is…
Make your faith larger than your fears and your dreams bigger than your doubts. Leave the world better than you found it.
What is the best piece of advice you received?
“With God, all things are possible” – Matthew 19:26
If someone handed you an airline ticket to a place of your choosing, where would you go and why?
Italy to explore the culture, eat authentic Italian food and drink delicious wine.
What’s something you cannot live without?
My family and friends.
Name a book you read that positively shaped you.
“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
If you weren’t working in the industry that you are, what would you be doing instead?
How do you unwind or relax after a long day?
A relaxing bubble bath.
The most rewarding aspect of your job is…
Helping others by improving the quality of their lives.
If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it – metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions – what would it say and why?
“Enjoy the current moment.” Because we are often get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that we don’t enjoy the things that are happening in this exact moment. I myself am guilty at getting caught up in planning for the future that I forget to appreciate this moment and those around me.
In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?
The belief that not everything has to be perfect. The most important thing is to continue trying your hardest and giving your best each day.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
Talk to my family and friends and then take a bubble bath. I always love watching a sappy romantic comedy, too. My favorites are the Christmas Hallmark channel movies.
What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be money, time, energy, etc.)
Name a confident woman of character who you look up to? Why her?
My grandmother, or as I call her Gege, is the women I look up to most. She is by far the most genuine, selfless and loving woman. She constantly has a smile on her face, regardless of the situation, and continues to wake up each day with ambition to conquer whatever challenge she is faced with. Her faith in the Lord continually inspires me to look to Him for my answers.