Dr. Catherine Park
University of Texas at Austin (Dedman Distinguished Scholar, Plan II Honors Program)
University of Houston College of Optometry
(Doctor of Optometry)

My favorite city is... My favorite city to vacation is Maui, but I could never live full-time on an island. I'm a Texan, through and through.

Are you a morning or a night person? I am definitely a morning person. I try to get up an hour before my husband and kids so I can have some peace to myself.

I am best known to my family for... My son Blake commented the other day that dad makes yummy food. When asked what mommy does, he replied I buy yummy food. So I guess I’m known for being a horrible cook and guilty of too many takeout dinners!

Favorite smell? The smell of Autumn in the air.

What's the last tv show or movie that made you cry? I’m a K-drama junkie. It’s impossible to watch any Korean drama without a box of kleenex.

Favorite Austin restaurants? Gosh there are so many! Daruma and Uchiko are definitely at the top of the list.

Favorite foods? Dumplings. And donuts! My parents owned a donut shop for over 20 years. I still love donuts.

Did you always want to be an optometrist? It never crossed my mind growing up because I wanted to be a dermatologist. I was going to attend medical school right out of high school. I changed my mind at the last minute when UT offered me a full scholarship. I received an amazing liberal arts education at UT and went into banking after I graduated. I wasn't happy in the financial world so I made the switch to optometry at the suggestion of my husband because of the flexible work-family schedule.

What are your hobbies? My schedule doesn't allow for too many hobbies, but I enjoy sewing miscellaneous things like dolls and tents for my boys. I used to be a serial plant killer but I've been getting better at keeping my current collection of 25 house plants alive - for now at least. I also love making flower arrangements and in particular the art of Korean style paper wrapping for bouquets.

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Dr. Kathleen Shafer
University of Notre Dame (Bachelor of Science)
The Ohio State University
(Doctor of Optometry, Residency in Ocular Disease)

My favorite city is... Paris

Are you a morning or a night person? Definitely NOT a morning person. I have always been a night owl, which worked out great in college, but not as ideal when my kids were young, up a lot at night, AND waking at the crack of dawn.

I am best known to my friends for... Dreaming, scheming, talking about the big stuff. I love the term ceiling-less conversations - talking about big ideas, inspirations, and who we really are underneath the facades.

Favorite smell? Coffee

What's the last tv show or movie that made you cry? Most of them - ha! I'm a crier, and it's not uncommon for me to tear up while watching kids' movies with my family. Anything with the underlying message of being true to your heart/yourself despite the obstacles and nay-sayers will get me verklempt.

What's the last joke someone told you? My 9-year-old daughter told me this one last week: what do you call four objects in quicksand? Quatro sinko

Favorite Austin restaurant? Mushashino

Favorite foods? Sushi. And after 13 years in Austin, breakfast tacos and queso are definitely up there too.

Did you always want to be an optometrist? I was always drawn to health care, and for a long while thought I'd be a medical doctor like many others in my family, but I liked the work-life balance optometry offered, and there's just something about vision and helping people see clearly that feels really satisfying and fun.

What do you like to do when you're not working? Hang out with my husband and kids, explore Austin, travel, cook, try new restaurants, practice yoga, read.


Dr. Darcy Grostick

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Bachelor of Science)
Illinois College of Optometry (Doctor of Optometry)

Are you a morning or a night person? I am definitely a morning person. I find the sunrise rejuvenating.

My favorite city is... (besides Austin) is either Dublin, Ireland or Carlsbad, California. I went to Dublin for the first time in 2017 and am looking forward to going back. I lived in Carlsbad during my optometry internship at Camp Pendleton Marine Base. I loved being near the ocean.

My favorite restaurants in Austin are... Loca D'Oro for a nice meal, Home Slice or The Parlor for pizza, Russian House for something unique and hearty.

My favorite food is... the Rocky Road ice cream from Sweet Ritual.

I am best known by my family for... not having a poker face.

I'm best known to close friends for... my love of British period dramas. It started with Downton Abbey and Jane Austen adaptations.

Did you always want to be an optometrist? I tried lots of different majors (music, journalism, education, history, psychology) but decided on optometry because I enjoy educating patients on their eye health and discussing their eye care options. I love the new technology we have available to help patients.

What do you like to do when you're not working? I enjoy going on walks while exploring the city, paddle boarding, and cooking.