N. Rex Ghormley Student Travel Fellowship

History and Purpose

Dr. N. Rex Ghormley Past-President of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) passed away November 4, 2009. In 2010 the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), in consult with Dr. Ghormley's family, established an annual student travel fellowship in his honor. These fellowships are designed to encourage optometry students to attend key national meetings and exchange scientific ideas and research for use in an everyday clinical environment.


Each year the AAO will offer a N. Rex Ghormley student travel fellowship of $750 to attend the American Academy of Optometry’s Annual Meeting. The fellowship will be awarded primarily for accomplishment and potential in optometric research and education. Academic abilities, including clinical abilities if relevant, are considered. Applicants must have an accepted paper or poster.

The travel fellowship applications are evaluated by the Scientific Program Committee. Once the applicant submits his/her application, an email will be generated to the recommender; the recommender can use this link to upload the applicant's recommendation.

Eligibility and Application

The submission window is open from July 1, 2021 through July30, 2021.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Student MUST be a member of the American Academy of Optometry. To become a student member please visit: Student Membership
  • Optometry students who are currently enrolled full-time or have graduated within a year of the meeting. (Post-docs and residents are not eligible).
  • Applicant must have had an abstract accepted as a first presenter/author of a paper or poster

Application Requirements:

One-page statement, which includes:

  • Your commitment and interest in optometric research and/or education and your short and long term career goals
  • Previous research training talks, papers, and posters, plans for a career in research and/or education
  • Demonstrated and potential for self-motivation, independence, and leadership
  • Summary of academic training, including honors

Also include:

  • A copy of the abstract of paper or poster that has been accepted
  • Recommendation letter from faculty

Materials MUST be submitted online in PDF form by the deadline date (shown below) 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 also 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 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, annual meeting promotional materials.

For further information contact:

Jennifer Rubin
Award and Student Membership Engagement Manager
622 E. Washington St. # 300
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: 321-319-4872


2020: Not awarded due to COVID-9 travel restrictions
2019: Betty Li - University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry 
2018: Linda Yan - Nova Southeastern College of Optometry
2017: Elizabeth Galko - The Ohio State University
2016: Samaneh Delshad - Queensland School Brisbane
2015: Jakaria Mostafa - University of Houston College of Optometry
2014: Kristina Haworth - Southern California of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
2013: Vinod Maseedupally - University of New South Wales
2012: Christopher Putnam - Pacific University
2011: Kimberly Lust - The Ohio State University

The submission window is now open!

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