Overview of Awards, Scholarships, and Grants


The American Optometric Foundation offers many awards, grants, scholarships, and research opportunities. To learn more about various opportunities please select from the following:


Next Deadline

Awards Made Last Cycle

 Jill & George Mertz Fellowship

Jan 29, 2016 


One $30,000 Fellowship

 William C. Ezell Fellowships 

March 1, 2016

Ten $8,000 Fellowships + $750 for travel to Academy & ARVO

Award of Excellence (in Contact Lens Patient Care)

April 1, 2016*

Twenty-Two $500 Educational Awards

The Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics

April 1, 2016

Rachel Knowlton - 2015

Henry B. Peters Memorial Award in Public Health & Environmental Vision

April 1, 2016

Lester Caplan - 2015

Glenn A. Fry Lecture Award

April 1, 2016

Joanne Wood - 2015

Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education

April 1, 2016

Edward Bennett and Steven Schwartz - 2015

AOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grants

June 15, 2016

Four $750 Travel awards to Academy

Fredric Rosemore Low Vision Educational Grants

June 1, 2016

Two $2,000 grants

Bert C. and Lydia M. Corwin Contact Lens Residency Award

June 8, 2016

One $2,000 award +$750 for travel to Academy

Douglas Hopkins Primary Care Residency Award

June 8, 2016

One $2,000 award +$750 for travel to Academy

Terrance N. Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Program

June 8, 2016

Two $2,000 education awards + $750 for travel to Academy

Alfred A. Rosenbloom, Jr. Low Vision Residency Award

June 8, 2016

One $2,000 award +$750 for travel to Academy

Sheldon Wechsler & George Mertz Contact Lens Residency Program

June 8, 2016

Two $2,000 education awards + $750 for travel to Academy

Innovation in Education Grants

July 1, 2016

$10,000 in grants to two institution PIs

Allergan Foundation Research Grant

July 15, 2016

One $60,000 grant

Beta Sigma Kappa Research Fellowship

August 1, 2016

One $4,000 Fellowship

Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Student Travel Grant

August 1, 2016

NEW!  One, $750, Travel Grant to Academy 2016 Anaheim

Elmer H. Eger Memorial Student Travel Fellowship

August 1, 2016 One, $750, Travel Grant to Academy 2016 Anaheim

N. Rex Ghormley Student Travel Fellowship

August 1, 2016 One, $750, Travel Grant to Academy 2016 Anaheim

VSP - AOF Practice Excellence Scholarships*

August 15, 2016

Two awards to two fourth year students at each U.S. Optometry Institution

VSP and FYidoctors - AOF Practice Excellence Scholarships*

August 15, 2016

Two awards to two fourth year students at each Canadian Optometry Institution

J. Pat Cummings Scholarships

September 1, 2016*

Twenty-three $1,000 education scholarships

Vincent Salierno Scholarships

September 15, 2016*

Five $2,000 Scholarships

* indicates that the selection is made by institution and the AOF does not accept applications from individuals.

Acknowledgement of Submissions

You should receive an email confirming receipt of your electronic application submission within 1-3 business days. If you do not receive an email, please make query to AOF@aaoptom.org prior to the submission deadline.


The AOF is a non-profit organization and our policy is not to cover any overhead/indirect costs associated with any of our programs. This policy applies uniformly to all award recipients. 

Program Notes

Prior to window open guidelines for any given program are subject to change by the AOF and/or the award sponsor. The notice of the availability of a program will be sent by email to institution contacts. Applicants are reminded to please review all information before submitting their application to ensure it meets all criteria.

It is the standard policy of the AOF that program recipients who receive, as part of their award, a travel stipend to attend an event, cannot also receive a second or duplicate travel stipend from the foundation or its affiliate, the American Academy of Optometry. 

All award recipients by application and acceptance of an award agree to allow the AOF and/or the sponsor of the program to which they applied to publish their  name, image, institution information, and any statement or quote provided by the recipient. These will appear in a variety of  media formats that will announce and promote the program including, but not limited to, the AOF and/or sponsor annual report, website, annual meeting promotional materials. 

Our Award, Grant, and Scholarship Reviewers

No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others.  The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. 

~Author Unknown

The American Optometric Foundation utilizes the services of many exceptional leaders in academia, private practice, and industry to review applications.  They are an important component of the Foundation's award process.

For each application there is a specified group, consisting of a specified number of individuals, with a minimum of 3 that performs the merit review.

Over the past year these individuals reviewed hundreds of applications received for at least one of the 16 programs administered by the Foundation.  They do so on a volunteer basis and their feedback elevates the standards of all programs and recipients.  In 2014 AOF will enlist the aid of several members of the Academy's Sections to give out nearly $350,000 dollars in funding to elite optometrist, researchers, and academic institutions.

The AOF Board of Directors, the American Academy of Optometry, sponsors, donors and staff take this opportunity to recognize and thank each individual publicly for their contribution in selecting the next generation of optometric leaders, educators, and scientists.

Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the reviewers who have served for the past year. 

We are proud to honor them.

  • Tony Adams
  • Sarah Appel
  • Ian Bailey
  • Carmen Barnhardt
  • Felix Barker
  • Doug Benoit
  • Peter Bergenske
  • Wilard Bleything
  • Hal Bohlman
  • Joe Bonanno
  • Mark Bullimore
  • Barbara Caffery
  • Linda Casser
  • Robin Chalmers
  • Steve Chun
  • Ann Clark
  • Anthony Cullen
  • Robert Davis
  • Dawn DeCarlo
  • Mitch Dul
  • Lisa Edwards
  • S. Barry Eiden
  • Suzi Fleiszig
  • Thomas Freddo
  • Laura Frishman
  • Robert Greer
  • Dave Hansen
  • Elish Harb
  • Andrew Hartwick
  • Elizabeth Hoppe
  • Andrea Janoff
  • Erica Johnson-Carder
  • Lyndon Jones
  • Josh Josephson
  • Jamie Lester
  • David Lewerenz
  • Meng Lin
  • Gerald Lowther
  • Jeff Magun
  • Vivian Manh
  • Nancy McNamara
  • Tracy Nguyen
  • Jason Nichols
  • Nemish Patel
  • Thomas Raasch
  • Michael Radoiu
  • Lewis Reich
  • Kathryn Richdale
  • Danielle Robertson
  • Bruce Rosenthal
  • Joan Stelmack
  • Lakshman Subbaraman
  • Michael Sullivan Mee
  • Loretta Sczotka-Flynn
  • David Trolio
  • Michael Twa
  • Ingryd Vargas-Lorenzana
  • Richard Weisbarth
  • Mark Willcox
  • Karen Yeung
  • Karla Zadnik