Paraoptometric of the Year

Melanie Jenkins, CPO

Melanie Jenkins, CPO

Melanie Jenkins, CPO, was most recently the recipient of Tennessee Association of Optometric Physicians (TAOP) Paraoptometric of the Year Award, as well as the recipient of the 2019 SECO Paraoptometric of the South Award.

Melanie joined the new practice of Rob Szeliga, O.D., Spring Hill Eyecare, shortly after it opened, starting as a paraoptometric technician. On her own, she would research ways to improve her techniques and attend continuing education. Melanie became a Certified Para-Optometric (CPO), and has also passed the University of Houston School of Optometry Office Manager Certification course.

According to Dr. Szeliga, Melanie wears more hats than anyone he knows. She handles some bookkeeping functions, files insurance claims, meets with frame reps and manages inventory. Melanie handles the majority of the lab orders for the practice. When the office is particularly busy, she will return to the exam rooms for working up patients, running a visual field or OCT. Spring Hill Eyecare has grown to an 11 employee, two full-time OD and a two part-time OD practice. 

Early on in her career, Melanie began attending state association meeting over three hours away, and found a way to make it financially feasible to bring the entire staff. While attending these meetings, she got involved in the state association officers' board. Melanie served as the Tennessee Paraoptometric Association's vice president in 2014-2015 and president from 2016 to now.

Melanie is very active in supporting organizations within the community. The practice sold solar eclipse glasses with all profits going to a local children's chemotherapy support group called Gabe's Chemo Duck. Because the Spring Hill Christmas Parade route passes right in front of the practice, Melanie came up with the idea of inviting patients and the community to join the staff for a "Hot Chocolate Party on the Porch." 2018 marked the 7th annual event for which Melanie made more than 10 gallons of homemade hot chocolate. The practice also uses the event to collect non-perishable donations for a local food pantry. She helped organize a food drive with a challenge to collect 200 lbs. of food; 433 pounds of food were donated.

For a back-to-school event, Melanie organized a bounce house, balloon artist, and children's trunk show. Melanie has given educational tours of the office to Girl Scout troops, and volunteered for the Special Olympics eye screenings in the previous three years. She is constantly visiting hospitals, arranging breakfast with Santa at her church and serves as a board member of a preschool.