Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) Student Travel Fellowship

History and Purpose

Founded in 1925 by a small group of optometrists in Illinois, Beta Sigma Kappa now has student chapters in every school and college of optometry in the United States, with two in Canada, and one in Puerto Rico. The Society supports the formation and activities of student chapters and works with the schools and colleges to develop programs that foster academic excellence.


Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) and the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) have partnered to present the BSK Student Travel Fellowship to one student each year. The $750 travel fellowship gives an optometry student the opportunity to engage in cutting edge learning, participate in hands on workshops, and experience an amazing exhibit hall at the annual Academy meeting. 

Eligibility and Application

The submission window is open July 1, 2021 through July 30, 2021. 

Student MUST be a member of the American Academy of Optometry. To become a student member visit: Student Membership

  • Student MUST be a member of the Beta Sigma Kappa (BSK) International Optometric Honor Society
  • Optometry students who are currently enrolled full-time as a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year student.

Application Requirements:

  • Short essay (300 - 500 words) on the subject "Why I want to attend the AAO meeting and how it will help me contribute to the profession in the future." 
  • Being a presenter of a paper or poster is desired but not required. Please submit a copy of the accepted paper or poster abstract, if applicable.

Materials MUST be submitted online by the deadline date using the online submission tool. Applications that remain incomplete after the deadline date will not be evaluated. 

Fellowship Notes:

Although students can apply to attend a meeting for which they have previously been awarded a travel fellowship, priority may be given to first-time awardees.

It is the standard policy of the AAOF that program recipients who receive as part of their award, a travel stipend to attend an event, cannot receive a second or duplicate travel stipend from the Foundation or its affiliate, the AAO.

Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision prior to the Academy annual meeting. The award checks will be presented to the awardees during the meeting. Recipients are required to attend both the BSK meeting (time/date to be determined) and the AAOF Celebration Luncheon to receive their award checks.

All award recipients by application and acceptance of an award agree to allow the AAOF and/or the sponsor of the program to which they applied 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 and/or sponsor annual report, website, annual meeting promotional materials. 

For further information contact:

Jennifer Rubin
Awards and Student Membership Engagement Manager
622 E. Washington St. #300
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: 321-319-4872

Past Recipients

Award was not given in 2020

Salwa Saleh
Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University

Lea Hair
University of Houston, College of Optometry

Cameron Sefton
University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science

Submission window is now open!

Apply Now


Click here for a full list of available travel grants.

Student Giving Matching Travel Grant

The AAOF also offers Student Giving Matching Travel Grants to attend the Academy’s annual meeting. Students are challenged to raise, through gifts by fellow students, $750. The AAOF would then match that amount so the AAO student chapter would be able to award two travel fellowships to the next Academy annual meeting. These STF awardees are selected by their institution, not through the Academy STF application system.

Learn More…