Aubry Tackett.

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—Fourth-year optometry student Aubry Tackett is the recipient of the Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship. Tackett, who attends Northeastern State University, Oklahoma, College of Optometry, received $4,250 toward her education and a $750 travel grant to attend the Heart of America Eye Care Congress Conference in February 2023. VSP Vision in partnership with the Heart of America Eye Care Congress, award the scholarship annually. The two have awarded four scholarships since 2020. The scholarship is named in honor of Frank D. Fontana, OD, also known as Uncle Frank, who practiced optometry for nearly 70 years.

Dr. Fontana began his career after serving in World War II and throughout his long career, he worked with optometric publications, manufacturers, and educators, and was a VSP ambassador. Dr. Fontana passed away in 2018.

The Fontana Memorial Scholarship is offered to third- and fourth-year optometry students who are actively engaged in patient care. Scholarship recipients are chosen based on four areas that Dr. Fontana was known to excel in: Clinical Performance, Empathetic Patient Care, Ability and Interest to Adopt Modern Technologies, and  Strong Interest in Developing and Participating in the Optometry Community.

Tackett said, “I am so honored to be named the recipient of the Dr. Frank D. Fontana Memorial Scholarship. You often hear about Uncle Frank and all he did for optometry. We all strive to become more like him in the way he treated his patients and his colleagues. I am so honored that the scholarship committee saw potential in me that resembles Dr. Fontana.”

After graduation, Tackett plans to complete her residency with an emphasis in cornea and contact lens care. She would like to pursue a faculty role in a college of optometry. In addition, she has a passion for medical mission trips and is grateful for the financial freedom the scholarship provides.

The Heart of America Eye Care Congress board of directors said, “This year’s recipient, Aubry Tackett, exemplifies many of the attributes of Dr. Frank Fontana’s illustrious career. Aubry is an excellent student and leader with a true passion for her patients and clinical care.”

Jim Caster, VSP Vision’s vice president of provider relations, said, “Congratulations to Aubry for earning this scholarship and for her accomplishments so far. In honor of Uncle Frank, we’re incredibly proud to support Aubry’s educational journey and look forward to the positive impact she’ll make on the optometry profession.”

In its more than 65 years supporting optometry, VSP Vision has awarded more than $3 million in scholarships to optometry students with more than 60 scholarships awarded annually. To learn more, visit