The submission window opens Dec 1, 2017 and closes March 30, 2018.
A stipend of $30,000* (U.S. dollars) is to be awarded in 2018 (for the recipient via AAOF funds issued to the host institution) in support of travel and study for a set period at another institution of no less than one academic quarter or semester.
The host's institution is encouraged to supplement or match any AAOF award funds to encourage that the best rising optometric leaders, like George Mertz, be chosen to join and learn from their outstanding team of academic and research leaders. This philosophy in turn will allow the chosen recipient to better expand their portfolio of experience.
Note: This fellowship is not designed to merely extend a period of study or employment, or include major equipment purchases for an institution.
An application submission should meet the following criteria:
- Promotion of an exchange of educational or scientific methodologies
- Potential for outcomes not otherwise possible by encouraging a diversity of experience and thinking
The applicant must be either:
- a U.S., Puerto Rico, or Canadian citizen (or permanent resident) who will conduct his/her fellowship outside North America; or
- a foreign national from a recognized optometric academic institution who will conduct his/her fellowship in North America
Applications must begin with a cover letter consisting of full contact information including how the applicant's degree should appear in reports and or news items and full contact information for the host administrator and institution.
The application has two key components:
- The applicant must submit a two-page description of how the Mertz Fellowship will be used, the exceptional opportunity that it will provide, and the impact it will have on the applicant's career. The period of the Fellowship is not fixed, but must be at least six months in duration and the travel taken within one year of award announcement. A curriculum vitae of no more than three pages should accompany the application.
- The proposed host institution must submit a letter of support and a budget* describing how the Mertz Fellowship funds will be used. The institution may match or supplement the Fellowship to increase the value of the experience. The award will be made to the host institution. The AAOF is a non-profit organization and does not supply any indirect costs associated with this or any other of it's programs.
Applications should be emailed to AAOF@aaoptom.org and include the words “Mertz Fellowship (applicant last name)” in the subject line of the email. Attachments should be saved as pdfs with the title "(applicant last name) Mertz 2018."
A committee convened by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation will review all Mertz Fellowship applications and send its recommendations to the AAOF Board which approves the final decision and administers the Mertz Fellowships. Award announcement is planned for September and funds will be distributed prior to Academy 2018 San Antonio in U.S. currency.
Please note: Prior to window open, changes may occur to the criteria and guidelines for submission to this program. Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit this program page during the open window to ensure they receive all details needed to apply.
In accepting a Mertz Fellowship, the recipient agrees to:
- Submit a one-page progress report after six months of completion of award study period.
- Notify AAOF of changes in recipient's ability to complete the fellowship, contact information, or institution changes.
- Acknowledge the AAOF in written and oral presentations (articles, abstracts, or research conducted) as a result of the Mertz Fellowship.
- Attend the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Optometry including the AAOF Celebration Luncheon Academy 2018 San Antonio
- *Host institution must include $750 in travel funds to annual meeting as part of budget request. Funds used for travel automatically disqualifies individual from receiving any additional travel awards through other AAO/AAOF programs.
Please note that if an awardee cannot attend the Annual Meeting they will not be awarded the $750 travel fellowship.
All submissions will receive a confirmation email within 3 business days of receipt. The applicant will receive an additional message only if the application is incomplete.
On acceptance of an award recipients agree to allow the AAOF to publish their name, image, institution information, and any statement or quote provided by the recipient. These may appear in a variety of media formats that will announce and promote the program including, but not limited to, the AAOF annual report, website, and any AAOF or American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting promotional materials.
For further information, contact:
Jennifer Rubin, Foundation Program Manager
American Academy of Optometry Foundation