Eyes on home
THS grad returns to practice optometry
Katie Volk had plans for the medical field, but during her junior year of college, she decided that her career path needed to take a different route.
“I thought I wanted to do pharmacy, but organic chemistry was not fun,” Volk said.
Later that school year, Volk was required to shadow professionals in a field that interested her. She shadowed optometrist Richard Dean, who has offered eye care in Tonganoxie the past 40 years.
Now she’ll be working alongside him in his downtown office at 420 E. Fourth St.
Volk, who graduated from the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry earlier this year, will start seeing patients at Dean’s office beginning next week.
“I’m excited to come back home and work in the community that I grew up in,” Volk said.
Dean quickly chimed in: “And I’m excited to have a partner who is going to live in Tonganoxie and be part of our community.”.
Dean has been practicing for 45 years, first at Fort Riley while serving in the Army and then for a short stint in Manhattan. He then split time between Tonganoxie and Kansas City, Mo., but has practiced solely in Tonganoxie the past several years and plans to continue that service.
“I have no plans to retire,” said Dean, who grew up in Kokomo, Ind., and graduated in 1967 from the University of Indiana School of Optometry.
Volk, who grew up as Katie Jeannin and graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 2004, earned a degree from Johnson County Community College before graduating from Truman State University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in health science and minor in biology. She completed optometry school in May.
“We had talked ever since she started optometry school,” Dean said. “Katie had expressed an interest to come back to the area. I was at the point where I felt like I could use some help and thought we would be a good match.”
The office also is offering expanded hours with Volk joining the staff. It now will be open noon to 7 p.m. on Mondays, 8:30-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays. The office’s number is 913-845-2030.
Volk said she’s looking forward to seeing patients in her hometown. She’s especially eager to work with children, having served an internship at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
Dean is looking forward to having her start in Tonganoxie as well.
“I just want to really welcome Katie to the practice and back home to our hometown,” he said.
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