Student Travel Fellowships

In an effort to promote its research aims and support young researchers, the Academy provides student travel fellowships. These fellowships are designed to encourage optometry students, optometric residents, and students in eye and vision related graduate programs to attend key national meetings and exchange scientific ideas and research. 

Each year the Academy offers a number of travel fellowships of $750 each for students to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Fellowships are awarded primarily for accomplishment and potential in optometric research and education. Academic abilities, including clinical abilities if relevant, are considered. Being the presenter of a paper or poster is required.

Award winners will be given one of the following awards based on availability:

  • Frank W. Weymouth Student Travel Fellowship
  • Irvin M. and Beatrice Borish Student Travel Fellowship
  • Brazelton Low Vision Student Travel Fellowship
  • Academy Student Travel Fellowship
  • New Jersey Chapter Student Travel Fellowship (must provide proof of residency)
  • Florida Chapter Student Travel Fellowship
  • Student Travel Fellowships funded by industry partners

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:

  • Applicant MUST be a member of the American Academy of Optometry.
  • Students who are currently enrolled full-time or have graduated/completed residency within a year of the meeting they wish to attend.
  • Students and residents are only eligible to receive Student Travel Fellowships if they have been accepted as a presenter of a paper or poster.
  • Students must submit a one-page statement and include:

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.

  • Students must include a copy of the abstract of paper or poster that has been accepted for the meeting they are attending, along with the application section.
  • Completed recommendation letter from faculty.
  • Application must be submitted online to be accepted.

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. 

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. However, previous winners for travel to one meeting (either AAO or ARVO) are encouraged to apply for the other.

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision prior to the meeting the applicant wishes to attend. The award checks will be presented to the awardees during the meeting they have been awarded a Fellowship to attend. Winners of the student travel fellowship to the ARVO meeting must attend the Monday evening AAO/AOA Optometric Researchers Reception, Monday, May 5th from 7 to 9 PM to receive their award checks. Award winners to the American Academy of Optometry’s Annual Meeting must attend the Hirsch Memorial Research Symposium on Thursday, November 13th from 8 to 10 AM to receive their award checks.

2014 Submission Deadlines:

ARVO Annual Meeting Travel Fellowships:
The 2014 submission window is closed.

AAO Annual Meeting Travel Fellowships:
The 2014 submission window will be open from July 1, 2014 to August 4, 2014.

Please direct all questions regarding the AAO & ARVO Student Travel Fellowships to:

Betty Rodriguez at BettyR@aaoptom.org.