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 and vision related graduate students 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). 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. Follow this link to view awards. Award winners will be given an award based on availability.

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. To edit your submission, log-in to and click “My Account” then click “My 2016 ARVO STF Submission”.

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 2nd 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 10, 2016 from 8 to 10 AM to receive their award checks.

2016 Submission Windows:

ARVO Meeting Travel Fellowships: The 2016 application window is now closed.
AAO Annual Meeting Travel Fellowships: July 1 - August 1, 2016, 5 PM ET

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

Betty Rodriguez at