VSP Global and the American Optometric Foundation Announce 2016 Scholarship Recipients

Annual Practice Excellence Scholarships help students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada on the path to professional optometry

VSP Group Shot

Rancho Cordova, Calif. – Today 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. Nearly $200,000 was distributed amongst top-performing fourth-year optometry students in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

“As a practicing optometrist, I know how critical it is to invest in the next generation of eye doctors,” said Daniel L. Mannen, O.D., F.A.A.O., and VSP Global Board Chairman. “We congratulate all the scholarship recipients and are excited for them as they embark on their new careers and begin to help elevate the optometric profession.”

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

The scholarships are funded through VSP Global‘s Eyes of Hope® Global Charitable Fund in collaboration with FYi Doctors in Canada (for Canadian recipients) 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.

“Year after year we partner with VSP 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, OP, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Optometric 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 scholarships included a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry's 95th annual meeting November 9-12, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA  where there was a special reception planned to recognize the recipients. The VSP Global AOF Practice Excellence Scholarship reception took place on Thursday, November 10th.

The 2016 Practice Excellence Scholarship recipients are:


Illinois College of Optometry - ICO

Jamie Blavat

Emily Hutchins

Indiana University School of Optometry - IUSO

Brittany Foerg

Tyler Vermeer

Inter American University of Puerto, School of Optometry – IAUPRSO

Sai Ka Oscar Tsang

Dominic D'Orazio

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

Detlef (Hans) Sleichter

Anna Liew

Michigan College of Optometry – MCO at Ferris State University

Gabrielle Smiley

Hannah Rillema

Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry - MUACO

Dianne Settlage

Desiree Vanderstar

New England College of Optometry - NECO

Avani Dave

Michael Merritt

Northeastern State University Oklahoma, College of Optometry - NSUOCO

Pamela Martin

Laura Langford

NOVA Southeastern University College of Optometry - NSUCO

Kaily Tschantz

Justin Chelette

Ohio State University College of Optometry - OSUCO

Taylor McGann

Nicole Mikels

Pacific University College of Optometry - PUCO

Kelsey Elrod

Paul Nefedov

Pennsylvania College of Optometry – PCO at Salus University

Carly J. Grodin

Jenna Roney

Rosenberg School of Optometry – RSO University of the Incarnate Word

Kirsti Ramirez

William Reid Cluff

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

Michael Tran

Emma Ly

Southern College of Optometry - SCO

Tyler Boone

Ben Roach

State University of New York College of Optometry  - SUNY

Karen Levy

Drake R. Devos

University of Alabama at Birmingham - UAB

Ellen Prewitt

Kelly Cleary

University of California-Berkeley, School of Optometry - UCB

Sloan Rajadhyksha

Annie Lee

University of Houston, College of Optometry - UHCO

Elisabeth Hottel

Michael O'Neal

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

Peter Bako

Elias Toubia

University of Montreal, School of Optometry - UMSO


Solange LaCroix

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

Victoria Lomax

Karin Lypka

Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry - WUHSCO

Katherine Ha

Victoria Chan



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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. Operating in more than 100 countries on six continents, VSP Global businesses include not-for-profit VSP® Vision Care, the leading provider of vision care and coverage with more than 82 million members and a network of 37,000 eye doctors worldwide; Marchon® Eyewear, Inc., one of the largest global designer manufacturers and distributors of quality, high-fashion, and technologically advanced eyewear and sunwear; VSP Optics Group, industry leaders in new lens technologies, production processes, services and logistics; Eyefinity®, the largest EHR and premier practice management software company for the eye care industry; and VSP Omni-Channel Solutions, which creates connected experiences that delight consumers and strengthen their relationship with their eye care provider.

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