American Academy of Optometry Foundation is pleased to announce the 2019 VSP Practice Excellence Scholarship Recipients

Published December 2, 2019

ORLANDO, Florida, December 2, 2019 – The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), the philanthropic arm of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and VSP Global® announced the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. Nearly $200,000 was awarded to several top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, as well as four additional international students from Australia.

This year, in honor of the 3rd World Congress of Optometry held in conjunction with the Academy meeting in Orlando, Florida, VSP Global added an Australian Practice Excellence Scholarship, open to students from four institutions: Deakin University, Flinders University, Queensland University of Technology School of Vision Science and the University of New South Wales.

“The Practice Excellence Scholarship is another example of our commitment to optometry’s next generation, and we are honored to extend this recognition to optometry students in Australia, a country in which we have a strong optometrist network,” said Gordon Jennings, OD and VSP Global Board Chairman.

Two students from each school or college of optometry as well as one student from each Australian institution were selected by nomination from their individual institutions to receive the scholarship. Since 2010, VSP Global has provided more than $2.4 million in scholarship support to hundreds of optometry students.

The scholarships are funded through VSP’s Global Charitable Fund and are administered through the AAOF. Scholarship recipients were selected based on key criteria including the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, and their clinical and academic performance.

“We are very grateful for the continued partnership we have with VSP,” said Pete Kollbaum, OD, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. “Through VSP’s continued support of this partnership they are demonstrating their commitment to advance optometry, the Academy, and, most importantly, the clinical care patients are able to receive. We are very grateful for their foresight in supporting these very deserving future leaders and their dedication to support the future of optometry.”

Each scholarship included a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry's 98th annual meeting, Academy 2019 Orlando, which was held on October 23-27 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The recipients were recognized at a special reception sponsored by VSP Global.

The 2019 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

Illinois College of Optometry
Lauren Kunkel, Aaron Motacek

Indiana University School of Optometry
Mary Marte, Kalyn Wendholt

Inter American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry
Samantha Chan, Travis Lipscomb

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Taylor Hall, Danielle Zapata

Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Steven Gibbs, Ankur Patel

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry
Jennifer Dryden, Liza Stremick

New England College of Optometry
Alexa Caruso, Chelsey Kritzer

Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Sahab Astani, William Colton Cheek

Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry
Phoebe Pan, Kaitlin Brown

The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Alex Lamorgese, Adell Walters

Pacific University College of Optometry
Liandra Jung, Ashley Stone

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Andrew Muckin, Emile Seitz

Rosenberg School of Optometry
Patrick Clark, Kelly Tran

Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Alyssa Pack, Emiko Vasquez

Southern College of Optometry
Katelyn McGee, Trevor Shealy

State University of New York College of Optometry
Abigail Cash, Alicia Jones

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Mason Childers, Mohammed Haque

University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Stephanie Tran, Rebecca Stapornkul

University of Houston College of Optometry
Ashley Nguyen, Megan Wagner

University of Missouri -St. Louis College of Optometry
Kelly Deering, Abigail Smith

University of Montreal School of Optometry
Antoine Aidans van der Poel, Lara Tchakmakian

University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Optometry
Kristen Lantz, Jacob Webster

University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science
Komal Patel, Angela Zhang

Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry
Kenny Huynh, Aiko Seffinger

Australian Practice Excellence Scholarships

Deakin University
Emily Banks

Flinders University
Dylan Bentley

Queensland University of Technology School of Optometry and Vision Science
Derek Shiu Him Lay

University of New South Wales
Ivy Kol

About VSP Global

VSP Global is a doctor-governed company that exists to create value for members and opportunities for VSP network doctors. Their industry-leading businesses include VSP® Vision Care, the only national not-for-profit vision benefits company, which provides access to eye care for nearly 90 million members through a network of over 40,000 doctors worldwide; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the world’s largest designers, manufacturers and distributors of high-quality eyewear and sunwear; VSP Optics, industry leaders in ophthalmic technology and lab services, providing custom lens solutions for the vision and lifestyle needs of patients; Eyefinity®, the industry leader in practice management and electronic health record software; VSP Retail, which focuses on increasing access to eye care and eyewear through multiple channels, and VSP® Ventures, which offers care-focused, customized choices for doctors looking to transition their practice.