American Optometric Foundation Announces The 2016 VSP Global Scholarship Recipients

Orlando, FL (December 7, 2016)  – The American Optometric Foundation (AOF), an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and VSP Global announced the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. Nearly $200,000 will be distributed amongst top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

“As a practicing optometrist, I know how critical it is to invest in the next generation of eye doctors,” said Dan Mannen, O.D., F.A.A.O., VSP Global Board Chairman. “We congratulate all the scholarship recipients and are excited for them as they embark on their new careers and begin to help elevate the optometric profession.”

Two students from each school or college of optometry were selected by nomination of their individual institutions to receive the scholarship. Since 2010, VSP has provided more than $1.5 million in scholarship support to hundreds of optometry students.

The scholarships are funded through VSP Global‘s Eyes of Hope® Global Charitable Fund in collaboration with FYi Doctors in Canada (for Canadian recipients) and is administered through the AOF. Some of the key criteria for selecting the scholarship recipients included the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, clinical performance, and academic performance.

“Year after year we partner with VSP 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,” said David Kirschen, OP, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Optometric Foundation. “More importantly, the scholarships that are awarded help to indirectly impact the delivery of quality eye care and ensure patient needs are met.”

The scholarship includes a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry's 95th annual meeting November 9-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA where there will also be special planned reception to recognize the recipients. The VSP Global AOF Practice Excellence Scholarship reception will take place Thursday, November 10th 4:00-5:45pm.

The 2016 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

Illinois College of Optometry 
Jamie Blavat, Emily Hutchins
Indiana University School of Optometry 
Brittany Foerg, Tyler Vermeer
Inter American University of Puerto School of Optometry 
Sai Ka Oscar Tsang, Dominic D'Orazio
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Detlef (Hans) Sleichter, Anna Liew
Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Gabrielle Smiley, Hannah Rillema
Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry 
Dianne Settlage, Desiree Vanderstar
New England College of Optometry 
Avani Dave, Michael Merritt
Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Pamela Martin, Laura Langford
NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry 
Kaily Tschantz, Justin Chelette
Ohio State University College of Optometry
Taylor McGann, Nicole Mikels
Pacific University College of Optometry 
Kelsey Elrod, Paul Nefedov
Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Carly J. Grodin, Jenna Roney
Rosenberg School of Optometry University of the Incarnate Word
Kirsti Ramirez, William Reid Cluff
Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Michael Tran, Emma Ly
Southern College of Optometry 
Tyler Boone, Ben Roach
State University of New York College of Optometry
Karen Levy, Drake R. Devos
University of Alabama at Birmingham 
Ellen Prewitt, Kelly Cleary
University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry
Sloan Rajadhyksha, Annie Lee
University of Houston College of Optometry
Elisabeth Hottel, Michael O'Neal
University of Missouri -St. Louis College of Optometry
Peter Bako, Elias Toubia
University of Montreal School of Optometry
Annie-Pier Leblanc, Solange Lacroix
University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science 
Victoria Lomax, Karin Lypka
Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry 
Katherine Ha, Victoria Chan