For the first time, four Australian students were among the recipients of Practice Excellence Scholarships presented by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) and VSP Global this year.
Emily Banks from Deakin University, Dylan Bentley from Flinders University, Derek Shiu Him Lay from Queensland University of Technology, and Ivy Kol from University of New South Wales received scholarships
Emily Banks from Deakin University, Dylan Bentley from Flinders University, Derek Shiu Him Lay from Queensland University of Technology, and Ivy Kol from University of New South Wales received scholarships, which are traditionally awarded to top performing fourth-year optometry students in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada.
“The Practice Excellence Scholarship is another example of our commitment to optometry’s next generation, and we are honoured to extend this recognition to optometry students in Australia, a country in which we have a strong optometrist network,” said Gordon Jennings, OD and VSP Global Board Chairman.
Two students from each school or college of optometry as well as one student from each Australian institution were selected by nomination from their individual institutions to receive the scholarships, which had a collective value of almost AU$300,000.
Recognising Performance and Commitment
Since 2010, VSP Global has provided more than $3.5 million in scholarship support to hundreds of optometry students.
The scholarships are funded through VSP’s Global Charitable Fund and are administered through the AAOF. Scholarship recipients were selected based on key criteria including the student’s commitment to enter the independent practice of optometry, and their clinical and academic performance.
“We are very grateful for the continued partnership we have with VSP,” said Pete Kollbaum, OD, PhD, FAAO, and President of the American Academy of Optometry Foundation. “Through VSP’s continued support of this partnership they are demonstrating their commitment to advance optometry, the Academy, and, most importantly, the clinical care patients are able to receive. We are very grateful for their foresight in supporting these very deserving future leaders and their dedication to support the future of optometry.”
Recipients of the scholarship received a travel grant to participate in the American Academy of Optometry’s 98th annual meeting, Academy 2019 Orlando, which was held from 23–27 October at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida. Additionally, they were recognised at a special reception sponsored by VSP Global.