American Academy of Optometry Foundation is pleased to announce the 2020 VSP Practice Excellence Scholarship Recipients

Published October 29, 2020

ORLANDO, FL (October 29, 2020) The American Academy of Optometry Foundation, an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and VSP Global® are pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. Nearly $164,000 were distributed to several top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada.

“We are honored to celebrate these incredible students as they move closer to starting their careers in eye care,” said VSP Global Board Chairman Gordon W. Jennings, OD. “The Practice Excellence Scholarship is another demonstration of our 65-year commitment to deliver support and opportunities for optometry’s next generation.”

The scholarships are funded by VSP Global and administered through the AAOF. In total, VSP has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships to optometry students.

The Practice Excellence Scholarship is a long-standing and prestigious award that represents the very best in what optometry has to offer in patient care, practice management and in the communities. Only two recipients from each of the 25 schools and colleges of Optometry were selected from nomination submitted by their individual institutions. 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 VSP’s foresight in establishing these awards and their dedicated commitment to support the future of optometry,” said Pete Kollbaum, OD, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation.  “Through VSP’s support of these future leaders, and their continued partnership with the Foundation, they demonstrate an unwavering commitment to not only advance optometry but more importantly advance the clinical care patients receive for generations to come.”

The recipients were recognized at a special virtual reception hosted by VSP Global®.

2020 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

Chicago College of Optometry at Midwestern University — Michael DeStefano & Rema Idriss

Illinois College of Optometry — Phoebe Chow & Randi-Jo Francis

Indiana University School of Optometry — Sydney Lehman & Nina Rettig

Inter American University of Puerto Rico, School of Optometry — Safinaz Gamini & Jessica    Bertemati

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences — Carolyn Te & Cynthia Noorani

Michigan College of Optometry — Azra Fazil-Jamal & Amanda Kruse

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry — Bryan Grossman & Tyler Boyack

New England College of Optometry — Jonathan Elin-Calcador & Nathan Bates

Northeastern State University Oklahoma, College of Optometry — Kayla Cook & Kristina Flaig

NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry — Erik Kelly & Austin Mason

Ohio State University College of Optometry — Kirsten Sullivan & Veronica Schuver

Pacific University College of Optometry — Christina Goodrich & Megan Schmauder

Pennsylvania College of Optometry — Gina Piorkowski & Tanya Vigdal

Rosenberg School of Optometry — Bilal Ismail & Michelle Nguyen

Southern California College of Optometry — Bradley Kovach & Lauren Zabaleta

Southern College of Optometry – Jonathan Eide & Alec Waters

State University of New York College of Optometry — Anthony Boyd & Emily Shtull

University of Alabama at Birmingham — Sarah Kate Day & Whitney Powell

University of California-Berkeley, School of Optometry —Joanna Toner & Jeffrey Kong

University of Houston, College of Optometry — Linus Klingler & Sarah Wilting

University of Missouri–St. Louis, College of Optometry — Katelyn Flood & Kyle Carnahan

University of Montreal, School of Optometry — Anabel Cormier & Ariane Dupont

University of Pikeville, Kentucky College of Optometry — Hannah Sigmon & Ambrosia Makini

University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science — Joanne Han Qiao & Christina Chen

Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry — Suparna Bajaj & Alexander Bennett

About VSP Global

VSP Global is a doctor-governed company that exists to create value for members and opportunities for VSP network doctors. Our 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.