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 June 22, 2020 and closes July 21, 2020.

This year the AAOF will offer two 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 2019:

    • Illinois College of Optometry
    • Inter-American University, School of Optometry
    • New England College of Optometry
    • Northeastern State University, College of Optometry
    • Pennsylvania College of Optometry
    • The Ohio State University, College of Optometry
    • University of Missouri, College of Optometry
    • Western University of Health Sciences College 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, October 26, 2019 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.

    For further information contact:

    Jennifer Rubin
    Grants and Awards Manager
    2909 Fairgreen Street
    Orlando, FL 32803, USA
    Phone: 321-319-4872


    2018: Monica Chan  - Indiana University School of Optometry
               Danielle Kolschefski - University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry
    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

    The Student Travel Fellowship application window will open on June 22, 2020.  
    Apply Now

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