Brett G. Bence Clinical Student Travel Fellowship

History and Purpose

Throughout his career, Dr. Bence has been an ardent supporter of post-graduate education and advancement of clinical training.  The American Academy of Optometry annual meeting is viewed as the premier meeting for the optometry profession for growing your knowledge and appreciation of vision research and updated practice guidelines that underpins great clinical care.

Dr. Bence served the Academy as Chair of the Lectures and Workshops committee and established the Grand Rounds CE program at the annual meeting.  He encourages students who have submitted a paper or poster for the meeting to apply for this travel fellowship and while at the meeting, to become a Student Fellow of the Academy.  He is an alumnus of the University of Houston College of Optometry and requests that this award be presented to a University of Houston student or resident.

Eligibility and Application

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

Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to 3rd and 4th year students of the University of Houston College of Optometry
  • Intends to pursue a career in clinical practice
  • Accepted paper/poster for scientific program (first presenter)
  • Must be a member of the American Academy of Optometry

Fellowship Requirements

  • One page statement including:
    1. How would the travel fellowship and Academy benefit your aspirations for clinical practice?
    2. Demonstrated potential for self-motivation, independence and leadership.
    3. Summary of academic training, including honors.
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty member

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 Scientific Program committee’s decision prior to the Academy annual meeting. Recipients will be recognized at the meeting. 

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 32801
Phone: 321-319-4872

Past Recipients

2020: Not awarded due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

2019: Raphaella Tran
 University of Houston College of Optometry

Alex Saunders
           University of Houston College of Optometry

The submission window is now open! 

Apply Now


Brett G. Bence, OD, FAAO