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Australian students awarded global scholarships

Four Australian students have been awarded Practice Excellence Scholarships from the American Academy of Optometry Foundation (AAOF) for their outstanding academic performance and commitment to independent optometry.

Ms Emily Banks from Deakin University, Mr Dylan Bentley from Flinders University, Mr Derek Shiu Him Lay from the Queensland University of Technology and Ms Ivy Kol from the University of New South Wales were all awarded their grants at the American Academy of Optometry’s (AAO) annual meeting in Orlando last October.

The funding provided allowed each student to attend the AAO’s annual meeting, which for 2019 was hosted alongside the 3rd World Congress of Optometry.

The Australian scholarships are a new addition to the wider Practice Excellence Scholarships awarded by the AAOF. In 2019 nearly US$200,000 (AU$293,000) in grants were awarded to fourth-year optometry students in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada, as well as Australia. Funding for the scholarships is provided by VSP’s Global Charitable Fund, which is administered through the AAOF.

“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,” Dr Gordon Jennings, VSP global board chairman, said.

Dr Pete Kollbaum, president of the American Academy of optometry Foundation, welcomed VSP’s support.

“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.”

Melbourne will host the next World Congress of Optometry in 2021 alongside Optometry Victoria South Australia and the Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association of Australia’s O=MEGA fair.