Overview of Awards, Scholarships and Grants


The American Optometric Foundation offers many award, grant, scholarship 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, '16 (NEW DATE)

One $30,000 Fellowship

 William C. Ezell Fellowships 

Mar. 1, '16

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

Award of Excellence (in Contact Lens Patient Care)

Apr. 1, '16*

Twenty-Two $500 Educational Awards

The Julius F. Neumueller Award in Optics

Apr. 1, '16

Rachel Knowlton - 2015

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

Apr. 1, '16

Lester Caplan - 2015

Glenn A. Fry Lecture Award

Apr. 1, '16

Joanne Wood - 2015

Michael G. Harris Family Award for Excellence in Optometric Education

Apr. 1, '16

Edward Bennett and Steven Schwartz - 2015

AOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grants

Jun. 15, '16

Four $750 Travel awards to Academy

Fredric Rosemore Low Vision Educational Grants

Jun. 1, '16

Two $2,000 grants

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

Jun. 8, '16

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

Douglas Hopkins Primary Care Residency Award

Jun 8, '16

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

Terrance N. Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Residency Program

Jun 8, '16

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

Alfred A. Rosenbloom, Jr. Low Vision Residency Award

Jun 8, "16

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

Sheldon Wechsler & George Mertz Contact Lens Residency Program

Jun. 8, '16

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

Innovation in Education Grants

Jul. 1, '16

$10,000 in grants to two institution PIs

Allergan Foundation Research Grant

pending approval

One $60,000 grant

Beta Sigma Kappa Research Fellowship

Aug. 1, '16

One $4,000 Fellowship

Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Student Travel Grant

Aug. 12, '16

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

VSP - AOF Practice Excellence Scholarships*

pending approval

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

VSP and FYidoctors - AOF Practice Excellence Scholarships*

pending approval

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

J. Pat Cummings Scholarships

Sep. 1, '16*

Twenty-three $1,000 education scholarships

Vincent Salierno Scholarships

Sep. 15, '16*

Five $2,000 Scholarships

* indicates that 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, thank you.


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 three years.  We are proud to honor them.

Tony Adams

Gunilla Haegerstrom-Portnoy

Ryan Parker

Cathie Amos

Richard Hopping

Stan Peacock

Arol Augsburger

Chris Johnson

Thomas Quinn

Dawn Barness

Lyndon Jones

Sam Quintero

Carolyn Begley

Deborah Jones

Thomas Raasch

Doug Benoit

Josh Josephson

Alfred Rosenbloom

Etty Bitton

Charlotte Joslin

Joe Rowey

Joe Bonanno

Jan Jurkus

Soni P. Sarita

Barbara Caffery

David Kirschen

Jack Schaeffer

Janet Carter

Jerry Legerton

Glenda Secor

Robin Chalmers

Meng Lin

Rod Seger

Steve Chun

Jeff Magun

Joseph Shovlin

Elise Ciner

Cecile Maissa

Steven Stanek

Ann Clark

Dan Mannen

MJ Stiegmeier

Sue Cotter

Wendy Marsh-Tootle

Larry Thal

Mike Cymbor

Timothy McMahon

Michael Twa

Bernard Dolan

John McNally

Eef Van der Worp

Tim Edrington

Joseph Molinari

Danne Ventura

Noah Eger

Phil Morgan

Helen Viksnins

Norman Einhorn

Donald Mutti

Heidi Wagner

Steven Eyler

Clark Newman

Chris Wildsoet

Steve Faith

Jason Nichols

Mark Wright

Laura Frishman

Greg Nixon

Stanley Yamane

Steve Grant

Deborah Orel-Bixler

Karla Zadnik


Eric Papas