AOF Student Giving Matching Travel Grants


To increase American Optometric Foundation (AOF) student participation; create a climate of giving back to the profession, and promote involvement in American Academy of Optometry (AAO) student clubs at North-American Schools and Colleges of Optometry. To encourage AAO membership and AOF participation at the annual meeting by offering a matching student travel grant program to attend the Academy's annual meeting.


Students are challenged to raise, either through gifts by fellow students or by fundraising initiatives, $750. The AOF would then match that amount so the AAO student chapter would be able to award 2 travel fellowships to the next AAO Annual meeting. This could be accomplished through a variety of fundraising activities. Groups should work in consultation with their institution's AAO Student Liaison.

Students cannot petition or ask their institution, faculty, or industry, to provide the funds. This program is to facilitate student giving.

  1. Final selected nominees must be student members of the AAO. To learn more, visit the AAO website:
  2. Each student gift should be consistent with what the student member can afford. The goal is to have each member of the student chapter participate. Institutions and industry would be prohibited from contributing. This program is to facilitate student giving.
  3. Recipients shall be selected by a fair process open to all qualified chapter members regardless of the individual amount donated.
  4. Each AAO student chapter would collect the funds and write one $750 check to the AOF. Mail to: AOF/Attn: Maureen Dimont 2909 Fairgreen St. Orlando, FL 32803
  5. If the goal of $750 is not met then the student would be given the option of donating the money to the AOF personally or having their funds returned.
  6. The specific timeline concerning when the money needs to be given to the AOF office would be determined by the AOF and communicated to the AAO student chapter and liaison.

Deadline for submission of COLLECTED FUNDS and NOMINEE NAMES is JUNE 15, 2017.

Here are some examples of methods for raising funds based on student comments:

  • Post on social media and e-mail a challenge to students or have a class-to-class challenge.
  • Bake or food sales
  • Carwashes
  • Selling eyeglass lapel pins
  • Photo fundraiser. Charge a specified sum for unlimited photos with a prominent faculty member. Dress up, theme it.
  • Lunch and learn. Raffle off an opportunity fo have a lunch and learn session with your institution leader.
  • Candy-gram sales.


The AAO student chapter with the advice of the School/College Awards Committee and/or faculty advisor would determine which two students get the travel fellowships.

Completed nomination form should be sent via email to: with the subject line: Student Giving + Institution Name.


The AOF will contact the award winners formally and provide information about AOF events held during Academy. The award checks will be presented to the awardees during the meeting they have been awarded a travel grant to attend. At the 2016 annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) in Anaheim; each recipient will spend volunteer time at the AOF Exhibit Booth and be presented for recognition at the annual AOF Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, November 12th.

Travel checks will be made out directly to the student. A W9 form (or W-8BEN if non-U.S. resident) must be submitted or be on file at the AAO Office prior to release of any travel funds.


Institutions will be asked to provide a list of the names and class year of students who give but provide for an anonymous option. These data will be used to track the program success.

All award recipients by application/nomination 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, social media, annual meeting promotional materials or press release.

Please direct any questions about this program to: Jennifer Rubin, Foundation Coordinator, at: or 321-319-4870.

Past recipients of travel awards:


Jennifer M. Sitko and Sara Marie Siebert
Indiana University School of Optometry

Thomas B. Lambert and Taylor Dahms
University of Missouri -St. Louis College of Optometry

Jacqueline Duong and Amy Field
Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry

Catherine D'Ardenne and Ryan Nguyen
State University of New York College of Optometry

Katharine Funari and Samantha Myers
Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University


Jinyoung Choe and Linda Shi
SUNY College of Optometry

Victoria Chan and Edward Hsieh
Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry