“My purpose as an academic is to serve and give something back”

Dr Rakhee Shah shares how she balances roles as an academic, optometrist and an AOP Councillor

hand holding books and phone

For Dr Rakhee Shah, variety is the key to leading a fulfilling career.

The City, University of London lecturer works in an independent practice at least one day each week and is on the AOP Council.

Alongside teaching, Dr Shah is involved in various research projects and holds supervisory and leadership roles within the university.

“It is the mix of the various roles that I think is key for me because otherwise I don’t feel challenged,” she said.

She finds that working in a portfolio of different roles gives her a well-rounded approach.

“Over the years, I worked in different settings and held different roles. Each one of my roles has helped the other in some shape or form. Currently, they all work really well together,” Dr Shah said.

I feel like in my own little way I am contributing to the profession


University students value Dr Shah’s clinical experience from working in practice, while her perspective as a lecturer also informs how she works in a clinical setting.

Dr Shah highlighted that optometrists working in several different roles do not have to sacrifice structure for a diverse career.

“You can still build a routine while working in five different places on five different days. Each one will develop you in a different way,” she said.

As an academic helping to train the next generation of optometrists, Dr Shah highlighted that she has the privilege of seeing her students develop over the course of their education and beyond.

“My purpose as an academic is to serve and to give something back. I feel like in my own little way I am contributing to the profession,” she said.

Image credit: Getty/ojogabonitoo