American Academy of Optometry Foundation Announces The 2017 VSP Global/FYi Doctors Scholarships

Published November 8, 2017

Orlando, FL  (October 25, 2017) The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), has announced the 2017 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients. Nearly $200,000 will be distributed amongst 44 top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.

“We congratulate these students on their studies and commitment to an important profession we all cherish,” said Dan Mannen, OD, FAAO, VSP Global Board Chairman. “We remain committed to continue our efforts of investing in the next generation of optometry.”

Two students from each college of optometry were selected as scholarship recipients from nominations submitted by their individual institutions. Since 2000, VSP has provided nearly $2 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 AAOF. Key criteria for selecting the scholarship recipients include the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, clinical performance, and academic performance.

“We are excited to collaborate with VSP Global and the schools and colleges of optometry for another year to provide this important award to these deserving students,” said David Kirschen, OD, PhD, FAAO, President of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.

The scholarship includes a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry's 96th annual meeting at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, IL. Recipients were recognized at a special reception on October 12th.

The 2017 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

Illinois College of Optometry 
Taylor Harris, Jessica Chan

Indiana University School of Optometry 
Rachel Rexing, Christopher Reed

Inter American University of Puerto School of Optometry 
Bianca Augustino, Christopher McCollum

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Jillian Boyd, Alison Zhou

Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Allison Webster, Kristen Johnson

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry 
Brett Christensen, Derek Blankenship

New England College of Optometry 
Chantelle Davis, Karlee Muller

Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Randy Cox, Melanie Newcomer

NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry 
Meredith Kristin Barnes, Samuel Petro

Ohio State University College of Optometry
Cory Lappin, Herbert T. Wentzien

Pacific University College of Optometry 
Abby Taffe, Aaron Salzano

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Jordan Heidelbaugh, Joshua Heersink

Rosenberg School of Optometry University of the Incarnate Word
Katlyn Martin, Lindsey Primeaux

Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Katherine Zhang, Mark Yeghiazarian

Southern College of Optometry 
Chelci Reynolds, Allan McCleary

State University of New York College of Optometry
Elaina M. Nellis, Tristan Barrueco

University of Alabama at Birmingham 
Jonathan Davis, Haley Hixon

University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry
Steven Perry, Ece Turhal

University of Houston College of Optometry
Brian Hart, Melanie Deitch

University of Missouri -St. Louis College of Optometry
Taylor Dahms, Ramya Natarajan

University of Montreal School of Optometry
Michelle Zakem, Lorie St-Amour

University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science 
Sana Owais, Courtney Fan

Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry 
Kevin Drew, Katalina Yandell