The Elmer H. Eger Memorial Student Travel Fellowship

Dr. Elmer H. Eger passed away in Ithaca, NY, on June 26, 2009. A Life Fellow of the Academy, and 10-year veteran on the AAO Admittance Committee, Dr. Eger was also the father of Academy past President Mark W. Eger, father-in-law to AAOF Board Director, Susan Eger, and grandfather of Academy Fellow Noah Eger. The Foundation wishing to promote the values and interests held dear by Dr. Eger and his family established the Elmer Eger Fund in his honor that same year. The fellowship is designed to encourage optometry students to attend key national meetings and exchange scientific ideas and research for use in an everyday clinical environment.


Each year the AAO will offer an Elmer H. Eger Memorial student travel fellowship of $750 to attend the American Academy of Optometry’s Annual Meeting. The fellowship will be awarded for accomplishment and potential in optometric research and education.

The Academy Student Travel Fellowship applications are evaluated by the Academy’s Research Committee.  Once the applicant submits his/her application, an email will be generated to the recommender; the recommender can use this link to upload the applicant's recommendation.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Student MUST be a member of the American Academy of Optometry. To become a student member, download the Student Application Form (PDF).

  • Optometry students who are currently enrolled full-time or have graduated within a year of the meeting. (Post-docs and residents are not eligible).

  • Applicant must have had an abstract accepted as a first presenter/author of a paper or poster.

Application Requirements:

One-page statement, including:

A) Your commitment and interest in optometric research and/or education and your short and long term career goals.

B) Previous research training talks, papers, and posters, plans for a career in research and/or education.

C) Demonstrated and potential for self-motivation, independence and leadership.

D) Summary of academic training, including honors.

  • A copy of the abstract of paper or poster that has been accepted.

  • Recommendation letter from faculty.

Materials MUST be submitted online by the deadline date (shown below) using the online submission tool. Applications that remain incomplete after the deadline date will not be evaluated. 

Program Notes:

Although students can apply to attend a meeting for which they have previously been awarded a travel fellowship, priority may be given to first-time awardees.

It is the standard policy of the AAOF that program recipients who receive as part of their award, a travel stipend to attend an event, cannot receive a second or duplicate travel stipend from the Foundation or its affiliate, the AAO.

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision prior to the Academy annual meeting. The award checks will be presented to the awardees during the meeting. Recipients are required to attend the AAOF Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, November 14, 2017 from 11 AM to 1:30 PM where they will recieve thier check.

All award recipients by application and acceptance of an award agree to allow the AAOF 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 may appear in a variety of media formats that will announce and promote the program including, but not limited to, the AAOF and/or sponsor annual report, website, annual meeting promotional materials.

Program window for submission opens July 3, 2017 with a deadline for application of July 31, 2017.

Please direct all eligibilty and application questions regarding the AAOF Student Travel Fellowships to:

Betty Rodriguez, Education Program Manager at

Past Program Recipients:

2016: Kimberly Renner -The Ohio State University
2015: Alyssa Willig - The Ohio State University
2014: Laura Ann Goldberg - New England College of Optometry
2013: Roshni Shah - Western University College of Optometry
2012: Andrew Congdon - Illinois College of Optometry
2011: Cara Wolfish - Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry