Dr. Jessica McCullen’s interactions with the Legacy Foundation began long before joining the Board of Directors in 2020. As a graduate of Cornell College with bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology, she knew she wanted to go into the medical field but “wasn’t really into the whole blood thing,” she said, laughing in a 2013 interview. Then, in a biology course, it clicked when she was dissecting eyeballs that becoming an eye doctor would be a way to merge her passion for health care and indifference in blood. She went on to earn her Doctorate of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry.
Her studies were supported by multiple awards from the Laboratory Control Ltd. Health Career Scholarship Program, a fund administered by the Legacy Foundation. “I feel very fortunate to have been a recipient of the LCL scholarship when I was beginning my education on my journey to becoming a healthcare provider,” McCullen said. “I truly stand behind the mission of the scholarship, and I am very happy being back practicing in Ottumwa. It is very rewarding getting to see patients year after year and hear about their families and catch up on their stories as we take care of their eye care needs.”
After joining Ottumwa Eye Care as an Optometrist in 2012, Jessica served two terms on the Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund committee. The committee evaluates grant applications three times per year, awarding nonprofits $2,500 to $30,000 for projects that enrich the quality of life for the residents of the City of Ottumwa and Wapello County.
In 2020, Jessica joined the Legacy Foundation Board of Directors. “It was very fulfilling to watch nonprofit organizations flourish with financial support from the Legacy Foundation. Now, I’m thrilled to be serving as a member of the board, and I hope that we can carry on the tradition of giving back to the community to help Ottumwa and Wapello County grow and thrive,” she said of her new role as a board member.
McCullen will continue to dive into all things Legacy Foundation as she joins the 2021-2022 class of the Ottumwa Leadership Academy, a program of the Legacy Foundation. “I’m looking forward to my time with the Leadership Academy to understand myself better as well as the community as a whole and hope that it will help me to serve better my patients as well as community members through my work on the Board.”