2016 Koch Kellan Scholar Hasenin Al-khersan was invited to attend the 2016 ASCRS•ASOS annual meeting in New Orleans on behalf of Paragon BioTeck, Inc. In addition to hearing about the latest techniques and innovations from ophthalmic leaders, Mr. Al-khersan was formally presented as the Koch Kellan Scholarship recipient during an award ceremony on Sunday, May 8. Read on to hear his thoughts about the conference and ceremony.
L-R: Dr. Robert E. Kellan, Capt. Ed Woodward, Hasenin Al-Khersan,
Dr. Paul S. Koch, Paragon BioTeck President & CEO Patrick H. Witham
Q: Did you enjoy your two days in New Orleans?
Absolutely! New Orleans is as great a city as I remember. The last time I was there was much closer on the heels of Katrina, and it’s nice to see that the city continues to move forward from that event. It really is one of my favorite cities in America. It is brimming with culture, from its rich tradition of music to its innovative take on cuisine.
Q: What were some of the highlights of the ASCRS•ASOA conference?
Being around other ophthalmologists was inspiring. There isn’t much exposure to ophthalmology during the clinical years of medical school, so to spend an entire weekend with ophthalmologists was a great opportunity and learning experience for me.
Patrick Witham is a genuine individual with a clear vision, and his leadership of Paragon BioTeck is inspiring. It was an honor to interact with him during the award ceremony. Likewise, meeting inaugural Koch Kellan scholar Ed Woodward was everything I expected it to be. His story is even more powerful in person. To see his resilience in the face of such hardship was extraordinary. I really am honored to follow in his footsteps.
Q: Tell us about the award ceremony. What did it mean to you?
The award ceremony was humbling. To see years of work come to a head was something truly special. It offered me a chance to reflect on my experiences and left me even more excited about entering the field. I was also humbled that Dr. Colby made the time to attend. She has been an amazing mentor to me since her arrival at the University of Chicago.
Q: What was it like meeting scholarship namesakes Drs. Paul S. Koch and Robert E. Kellan?
I think if I had to capture the experience of meeting Drs. Koch and Kellan in one word, it would be “reassuring.” They are amazing doctors, yet maintain a broad scope of outside interests. This reassures me that I am entering the right field—that one can excel clinically and innovate in the industry, all while maintaining personal interests and a sense of self. I also admire the relationship they share. That they have been in business for so long while remaining friends is remarkable.