ORLANDO, Fla., November 14, 2018 – The American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF), an affiliate of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO), and VSP Global announce the recipients of this year’s Practice Excellence Scholarships. Nearly $200,000 will be distributed amongst top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

“We are honored to celebrate these incredible students who represent the next generation of optometry,” said Daniel L. Mannen, OD, FAAO, VSP Global Board Chairman. “Their future is bright and we’re proud to invest in them through these scholarships as they begin their careers.”

Two students from each school or college of optometry were selected by nomination of their individual institutions to receive the scholarship. Since 2010, VSP Global has provided more than $1.5 million in scholarship support to hundreds of optometry students.

The scholarships are funded through VSP Global‘s ® Global Charitable Fund in collaboration with FYi Doctors in Canada (for Canadian recipients) and is administered through the AAOF. 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.

“Year after year we partner with VSP Global and the schools and colleges of optometry to provide these scholarships to deserving students because we see the importance of investing in the future of our profession,” said David Kirschen, OD, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. “More importantly, the scholarships that are awarded help to indirectly impact the delivery of quality eye care and ensure patient needs are met.”

The scholarship includes a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry's 97th annual meeting November 7-10, 2018 at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, TX where there will also be special reception to recognize the recipients.

The 2018 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:

Illinois College of Optometry
Minh Jones, Griffin Durias

Indiana University School of Optometry
Theodore Chow, Derek Phelps

Inter American University of Puerto School of Optometry
Patrick Knighton, Hayden Senn

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Esther Ko, Kelly Morgese

Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Taylor Smith, Luke Lirones

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry
Brandon Call, Shelby Duffield

New England College of Optometry
Victory Gagnon, Cameron Sefton

Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Brittany Wolthuizen, Kelsey Buford

NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry
Janna Parramore, Ivan Rodriguez-Mena Marin

The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Kelly Marie Morgan, Hannah Davidson

Pacific University College of Optometry
Candice Evernden, Erin Benstead

Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Katherine Boas, Susan Barnes

Rosenberg School of Optometry
Shawn Westbrook, Aleen Kaltakdjian

Southern California College of Optometry at Marshall B. Ketchum University
Devon Kennedy, Jessica Sun

Southern College of Optometry
Brittany Glatting, Donald York

State University of New York College of Optometry
Jacqueline Benoit, Brenda Tan

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Courtney Sartin, Conner Robbins

University of California Berkeley School of Optometry
Joan Castaneda, Joelle Chan

University of Houston College of Optometry
Rami Aboumourad, Kristen Watt

University of Missouri -St. Louis College of Optometry
Valerie Leff, Matthew Moerdick

University of Montreal School of Optometry
Gabriella Courey, Alexandra Fortier

University of Waterloo School of Optometry and Vision Science
Rachel Ng, Melanie Chin

Western University of Health
Ilya Volk, Karen Diep




Jace Duval