History and Purpose

Dr. Elmer H. Eger passed away in Ithaca, NY, on June 26, 2009. A Life Fellow of the Academy, and 10-year veteran on the AAO Admittance Committee, Dr. Eger was also the father of Academy past President Mark W. Eger, father-in-law to AOF Board Director, Susan Eger, and grandfather of Academy Fellow Noah Eger. The Foundation wishing to promote the values and interests held dear by Dr. Eger and his family established the Elmer Eger Fund in his honor that same year.


The fellowship is designed to support students whose professional goal is to be in private practice. It is also designed to encourage optometry students to attend key national meetings and exchange scientific ideas and research for use in an everyday clinical environment.

Eligibility and Application

The submission window opens July 23, 2018 and closes Aug 13, 2018.

Each year the AAO will offer an Elmer H. Eger Memorial student travel fellowship of $750 to attend the American Academy of Optometry’s Annual Meeting. The schools will follow a rotation schedule which gives eight schools a year the opportunity to submit a nominee. The institutions will send their nomination to Chrisina Valasquez, Education Program Manager at christinav@aaoptom.org.

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

  • Applicant must be a third or fouth year student. (Post-docs and residents are not eligible).
    • Applicant is pursuing a career in private practice.

    Fellowship Requirements:

    • Submit a one page statement describing why you want to pursue a career in private practice
    • Accepted paper or poster is not required

    Eligible Institutions in 2018:

    • Indiana University, School of Optometry
    • Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, School of Optometry
    • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences School of Optometry
    • Southern College of Optometry
    • University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Optometry
    • University of California, School of Optometry
    • University of Montreal, School of Optometry
    • University of Waterloo, School of Optometry
    The Academy Student Travel Fellowship statements are evaluated by the Academy’s Membership Committee. 

    Fellowhip 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 a travel stipend to attend an event as part of their award 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. Recipients are required to attend the AAOF Celebration Luncheon on Saturday, November 10, 2017 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM where they will receive their check.

    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, or annual meeting promotional materials.

    Please direct all eligibility and application questions regarding the AAOF Student Travel Fellowships to:
    Christina Velazquez, Education Program Manager at Christinav@aaopt.org


    2017: Bryan Williams - University of Houston College of Optometry
    2016: Kimberly Renner -The Ohio State University
    2015: Alyssa Willig - The Ohio State University
    2014: Laura Ann Goldberg - New England College of Optometry
    2013: Roshni Shah - Western University College of Optometry
    2012: Andrew Congdon - Illinois College of Optometry
    2011: Cara Wolfish - Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University

    Additional Student Travel Fellowship (STF) Opportunities through the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF)

    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 2 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…


    Eger 3
    Drs. Elmer Eger, Mark Eger and Noah Eger