ORLANDO—The American Academy of Optometry Foundation and VSP Global have announced the recipients of 2018’s Practice Excellency Scholarships. This year, top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada will receive nearly $20,000 in scholarship money. The scholarships are funded through VSP Global’s Global Charitable Fund in collaboration with the FYidoctors in Canada, then administered through the AAOF. Each participating school or college of optometry selects two students to receive the scholarship. Among other things, these students are committed to entering the independent practice of optometry and demonstrate excellent clinical and academic performance.

The scholarship also includes a travel grant to participate in the AAOF’s 97th annual meeting at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, where there will be a special reception to recognize the recipients.

Since 2010, VSP Global has provided more than $1.5 million in scholarship money, and that money has supported hundreds of students. “We are honored to celebrate these incredible students who represent the next generation of optometry,” said Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO, VSP Global board chairman. “Their future is bright and we’re proud to invest in them through these scholarships as they begin their careers.”

David Kirschen, OD, PhD, FAAO, and president of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation, said, “Year after year, we partner with VSP Global and the schools and colleges of optometry to provide these scholarships to deserving students because we see the importance of investing in the future of our profession. More importantly, the scholarships that are awarded help to indirectly impact the delivery of quality eyecare and ensure patient needs are met.”

The 2018 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

Illinois College of Optometry:
Minh Jones, Griffin Durias

Indiana University School of Optometry: Theodore Chow, Derek Phelps

Inter American University of Puerto School of Optometry: Patrick Knighton, Hayden Senn

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: Esther Ko, Kelly Morgese

Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University: Taylor Smith, Luke Lirones

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry: Brandon Call, Shelby Duffield

New England College of Optometry: Victory Gagnon, Cameron Sefton

Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry: Brittany Wolthuizen, Kelsey Buford

NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry: Janna Parramore, Ivan Rodriguez-Mena Marin

The Ohio State University College of Optometry: Kelly Marie Morgan, Hannah Davidson

Pacific University College of Optometry: Candice Evernden, Erin Benstead

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University: Katherine Boas, Susan Barnes

Rosenberg School of Optometry: Shawn Westbrook, Aleen Kaltakdjian

Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University: Devon Kennedy, Jessica Sun

Southern College of Optometry: Brittany Glatting, Donald York

State University of New York College of Optometry: Jacqueline Benoit, Brenda Tan

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry: Courtney Sartin, Conner Robbins

University of California Berkeley School of Optometry: Joan Castaneda, Joelle Chan

University of Houston College of Optometry: Rami Aboumourad, Kristen Watt

University of Missouri -St. Louis College of Optometry: Valerie Leff, Matthew Moerdick

University of Montreal School of Optometry: Gabriella Courey, Alexandra Fortier

University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science: Rachel Ng, Melanie Chin

Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry: Ilya Volk, Karen Diep