2015 Practice Excellence Scholarship Recipients Announced by VSP Global and the American Optometric Foundation

Optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada are key to the future of optometry

VSP Global® and the American Optometric Foundation (AOF), an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), announced the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. More than $165,000 will be distributed amongst top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

 “Investing in our future leaders of optometry is a priority.” said Kate Renwick-Espinosa, incoming President of VSP® Vision Care. “Over the last 10 years, VSP has provided more than $1 million dollars in scholarship support to hundreds of optometry students. We believe in helping deserving students see what’s possible.” 

David Kirschen, OP, PhD, FAAO, President of the American Optometric Foundation commented, “The collaboration with VSP and the schools and colleges of optometry is critical in advancing optometric education to help the next generation of optometry continue providing access to eye care and meeting the needs and choices of consumers.  This year there is a travel grant included so that the scholarship recipients can attend the Academy 2015 New Orleans meeting.  By interacting with Academy and AOF leaders, these students will be better able to take their place as leaders of the profession.”

Two students from each school or college of optometry were selected by nomination of their individual institutions to receive the scholarship.

The scholarships are funded through VSP Global‘s Eyes of Hope® Global Charitable Fund in collaboration with FYi Doctors in Canada and is administered through the AOF. Some of the key criteria for selecting the scholarship recipients included the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, clinical performance, and academic performance.

The 2015 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

Illinois College of Optometry - ICO

Eva Patel

Brianne Scanlon

Indiana University School of Optometry - IUSO

Michelle Brown

Christina Welling

Inter American University of Puerto, School of Optometry – IAUPRSO

Alyssa Ng

Nicholai Perez

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Gloria L. Wu

Prathik M. Philip

Michigan College of Optometry – MCO at Ferris State University

Elyse Kleifgen

Michael DeWit

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry - MUACO

Darren Phillips

Julie McCutcheon

New England College of Optometry - NECO

Danielle Goldberg

Kathryn A. Hannis

Northeastern State University Oklahoma, College of Optometry - NSUOCO

Kevin Tomasu

Ashley Zinser

NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry - NSUCO

Shelly Lomax

Sophie Robinson

Ohio State University College of Optometry - OSUCO

Janet Harawa

Whitney Territo

Pacific University College of Optometry - PUCO

Kathryn Dailey

Brooke Harkness

Pennsylvania College of Optometry – PCO at Salus University

Janelle Engel

Nicole Rist

Rosenberg School of Optometry – RSO University of the Incarnate Word

Dmitriy S. Zike

Desirae Brinkley

Southern California College of Optometry – SCCO at Marshall B. Ketchum University

Patty Durongwong

Bita Asghari

Southern College of Optometry - SCO

Feyisayo Aworunse

Dahlia Haddad

State University of New York College of Optometry  - SUNY

Samantha Rao

Tracy Borst

University of Alabama at Birmingham - UAB

Kayla Egner

Heather Cain

University of California-Berkeley, School of Optometry - UCB

Catherine Huang

Alise Gentry

University of Houston, College of Optometry - UHCO

Leanne Roach

Roberto Saenz

University of Missouri -St. Louis, College of Optometry – UMSL

Shannon Niere

Jamie Weiser  

University of Montreal, School of Optometry - UMSO

Audrey Daoust

Carolyn Perugino

University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science - UWSOVS

Morgan Welburn

Wylie Tan

Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry - WUHSCO

Clarissa Prieto-Ayala

Kaitlin Hash


Academy 2015 New Orleans takes place October 7 through 10, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana at the New Orleans Convention Center. The VSP Global AOF Practice Excellence Scholarship reception will take place Thursday, October 8, 2015 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

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About VSP Global
VSP Global® unites industry-leading businesses to bring the highest quality eye care and eyewear products and services to help people see across the globe. VSP Global businesses include not-for-profit VSP® Vision Care, the largest vision care company with more than 75 million members and a network of 32,000 eye doctors in the U.S., Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and Ireland; Marchon® Eyewear Inc., one of the three largest global manufacturers, designers and distributors of quality fashion and technologically advanced eyewear and sunwear; Eyefinity®, the largest EHR and premier practice management software company for the eye care industry; VSP Optics Group, industry leaders in new lens technologies, production processes, service and logistics; and VSP Retail, delivering a memorable consumer experience through a variety of channels that meet the diverse needs of VSP customers. VSP Global businesses operate in 100 countries on 6 continents.

About the American Optometric Foundation

The American Optometric Foundation (AOF) is a philanthropic organization that develops and provides financial support for optometric research and education in vision and eye health to improve clinical patient care. The AOF is organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Code. AOF is proud to be an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO). The AOF offers many award, grant, scholarship and research opportunities including its flagship William C. Ezell Fellowships to encourage the pursuit of full-time careers in optometric research and education. Today, sources of support for the AOF include optometrists, corporations, other foundations, state associations, and private citizens interested in vision care.

About FYiDoctors

FYidoctors is a private, optometry-owned, eye care company with its home office located in Calgary, Alberta and a fully automated, freeform laboratory and distribution facility located in Burnaby, British Columbia and Quebec, QC. FYidoctors is currently one of Canada’s largest providers of ophthalmic products and services with over 450 optometrists servicing over 280 locations between its corporately owned locations and Vision Source Canada locations. FYidoctors also has Canadian distribution rights to multiple optical and vision products. To learn more please visit www.fyidoctors.com.






Jace Duval