The Academy offers the Student Fellowship program to encourage students to experience the entire meeting, hoping that it will stimulate improved integration of all of the opportunities offered at the meeting, encourage future involvement, and persuade students to become Fellows upon graduation.

The Student Fellowship program is a great opportunity for students to engage in cutting edge knowledge and technology through lectures, workshops, posters and much more! The program is geared to guide students to develop their skills as an optometric or vision science professional.

The entire process of obtaining Student Fellowship takes place during the annual meeting:

  1. Be a Student Member of the Academy. Your OD graduation date must take place after the annual meeting of which you are pursuing Student Fellowship. Residents and graduate students are not eligible to participate.
  2. Before the annual meeting, notify the Academy you want to become a Student Fellow by selecting the "I want to pursue Student Fellowship" box during registration for the meeting
  3. View a mandatory orientation video
  4. Attend 4 hours of continuing education, at least two hours must be in one or more of the following topic areas:
    • Public Health, Jurisprudence, or Practice Management
    • Binocular Vision
    • Low Vision
    • Contact Lenses
  5. Attend 1 hour of paper presentation sessions (Residents Day paper sessions also count) **
  6. Attend 1 hour of poster presentation sessions (Residents Day poster sessions also count) **
  7. Attend ONE of the following sessions:
    • Plenary Session (Wednesday, October 11 from 10 AM to Noon)
    • Monroe J. Hirsch Symposium (Thursday, October 12 from 8 to 10 AM)
    • Ezell Fellows Presents (Friday, October 13 from 2 to 4 PM)
  8. Attend the Student/Resident Awards Lunch
    • Thursday, October 12, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
  9. Attend ONE Section or SIG Symposium*
  10. Attend the American Academy of Optometry and American Academy of Ophthalmology Joint Symposium
  • Thursday, October 12 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM

*You may substitute a Merton Flom Leadership course for 9 above. You may also substitute volunteering for a shift assisting with the Fellows Doing Research SIG study for 9 above (students were previously contacted about this).

**If you are accepted to present a paper/poster, the presentation fulfills that requirement. Example: You are accepted to present a poster. Thus, you would NOT also need to attend 1 hour of posters. You would still have to attend 1 hour of papers. Hybrid paper and poster sessions, marked "Super Session" count toward BOTH 5 and 6 above.

This must be completed prior to graduation from optometry school. Upon completion, the students will receive a Student Fellow lapel pin, Candidacy for Fellowship application dues waived during the year of graduation and free student registration to the next Academy meeting.

PLEASE NOTE: Obtaining Student Fellowship status does not give a student any points or credentials that can be used toward Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). 

For more information, please contact the Faculty-Student Liaison at your optometry school or contact Jenny Brown at